Tuesday, 14 March 2023 14:40

Italia Experience in Croatia: over 500 young people captivated by the great cinema of Giffoni

The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture – Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual with the aim of promoting Italian culture around the world

Young actors, screenwriters and filmmakers were the undisputed protagonists of the third stage of Italia Experience in Croatia, the project co-financed by the Italian Ministry of Culture - Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual and realized by Giffoni.

After several weeks of work, during which the young people were engaged in writing a script, the shooting of the short film titled “Tihana and the young people of Šibenik” and devised to showcase the natural beauty of the area as well as local talent wrapped up yesterday. Indeed, twenty giffoners, recruited from Šibenik's secondary schools and coordinated by the Giffoni production department, took part in its realization, whose goal was to portray the historical and artistic heritage of Šibenik and its community through the narration of a story written, staged and acted by the students themselves.

I think we were given a great opportunity to find out how many professionals are involved in the making of a film”, said Peter, 17. “Now that I've had this experience, I have to say that, after finishing my studies, I would like to pursue a career as a sound technician”.

Tihana, 15, agrees with him: “In this short film we try to describe the everyday life of young people in Šibenik”, she added. “It was interesting to work with professionals in this field and to see how a film is really shot”.

The event featured a rich program full of activities: over a week, Giffoni involved at the Arsen Art House 500 children and teenagers from fourteen schools in the Dalmatian town. The journey of Italia Experience started in October 2022 in Skopje, during the 10th edition of the Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival. The second stage took place in Spain in November, in partnership with the 15th edition of the Italian Film Festival in Madrid, organized by the Italian Cultural Institute and its director Marialuisa Pappalardo. With this new event in Croatia, Giffoni brought together hundreds of young people through the universal language of cinema, under the sign of Italian culture.

We believe there could be no better place for Giffoni to pursue its journey”, said Giffoni general manager Jacopo Gubitosi, “as we both focus on the new generations, on the development and growth of their passions related to creativity and art. This is why we decided to rely on Šibenik for the promotion of Italian cinema abroad. The event was a real full immersion for over 500 young people involved in the scheduled activities: indeed, they watched feature films, short films and documentaries. I would like to thank all those who supported us, especially Gorana Barišić Bačelić, Head of the city's Cultural Promotion Board, Morana Perìsa, director of the Arsen Art House, Dea Krstevska and Roberto Tamborini”.

The mayor of Šibenik, Željko Burić, was also very enthusiastic: “We are honored that Giffoni chose our city for this project supported by the Italian Ministry of Culture”, he said. “Cinema is the only art that is still relevant despite the fast pace of progress and is a fundamental tool for inspiring young people”.

Šibenik’s goals are the same as Giffoni's: “We hope to be able to establish another Giffoni hub here, with students who can engage in talks with institutions, creating innovative programs and initiatives”, added Gubitosi.

The screenings (all titles were from Italy) provided an opportunity to address different topics. The program included "Il ragazzo e la tigre" by Brando Quilici, a story of friendship and solidarity between human and tiger cubs; "Oltre il confine", directed by Alessandro Valenti, which brings to the screen the Italian dream of two African children, "L'afide e la formica" by Mario Vitale, which tells the story of a professor and a Muslim teenager linked by a running race in the Calabria region, "Il bambino nascosto" by Roberto Andò, set in Forcella (Naples), with a masterful performance by Silvio Orlando"Cuore di bambola" by Antonio Di Domenico, the intense story of an artist and her illness that makes her fragile and strong at the same time and "Who's Romeo", a film by Giovanni Covini, who uses a timeless masterpiece of world literature to address a very sensitive issue, namely integration between cultures. There were also moments of discussion and debate, during which the young people were encouraged to reflect and to deepen their understanding of the topics covered by the feature and short films. 

The event also included a tribute to Paolo Villaggio, which truly captivated the audience: in the presence of producers Daniele Liburdi and Massimo Mescia, the documentary film "La voce di Fantozzi" was screened. Through contributions from actors, directors, writers, critics and journalists, the film recounts the unrivaled success of the famous saga revolving around the most unfortunate and beloved employee in Italian cinema, an icon who influenced the imagery, culture and language of an entire country like no other, entering the Olympus of immortals. The film's protagonist is Paolo Villaggio, in his last and moving performance, along with exceptional Italian figures such as Nobel laureate Dario Fo and Oscar winner Roberto Benigni.

Jakov Bilić, director of the International Children's Festivalwhich has been taking place in Šibenik for 62 years, also wished to congratulate Giffoni. “Our background is very similar”, Bilić commented. “We share the same focus and goals: to give children and young people center stage. The main spheres our festival deals with are theater, laboratories, workshops and street artists. We also focus on cinema of course, which we understand as an experience to be enjoyed together rather than just a number of screenings”.

Italia Experience will continue its journey in Poland in the upcoming months.