Thanks to a bursary from Film Hub Wales, on September 2019 I was able to attend the 76th Biennale del Cinema at the Lido in Venice. The Biennale runs for about 10 days and I was able to attend it for four full memorable and productive days. As managing director and artistic co-director of the Italian Film Festival Cardiff, my main objective in attending one of the most important (and oldest) international film festival in the world was to promote the IFFC as well as to increase its visibility in both Italy and Europe. In this short span of time I managed to achieve quite a lot of my objectives, no doubt helped by my a dose of two spritzes and five espressos a day to keep me going through the film marathons and razzmatazz.
Through a number of personalised meetings and impromptu encounters at the Lyon’s bar, centrally located in the festival, to see and be seen, I managed to entice a couple of the Italian Regional Film Commissions to agree to participate in the festival in Cardiff.
Both the Apulia and Campania Film Commissions are interested in joining the Sardegna and Calabria Film Commissions to support the screenings in Cardiff with films they have produced.
Pointing out that the IFFC is the only Italian Film Festival in the UK to officially offer prizes to Italian cinema was a trump card to win over some of the smaller distributors and producers. My meeting with Emera Production director, Rebecca Bassi, resulted in her submission of their documentary, Bassil’ora, which won the very first Canfod Prize for Best Documentary at the Festival.
Being present at Venice as representative of the IFFC was vital also to attend screenings of Italian/International films that had not yet been released in the UK. Francesca Archibugi’s Vivere (Living) and Alessandro Rossetto’s Effetto Domino (Domino Effect) had their world premiere in Venice and I managed to secure both films as UK premieres for our Festival. It would not have been possible without meeting both directors and producers at the Lido.
The big day for me though was Saturday 31 August. I was a guest speaker in a panel organised by the Sardegna Film Commission to promote its International partners. I introduced the Italian Film Festival Cardiff to the public at the prestigious Italian Pavilion sitting next to Adrian Wootton, director of Film London!
There is no doubt that the five days at the Biennale were intense and tiring and that it takes quite a lot of stamina to be always there, queueing to watch a premiere of a film, be present at the launch of a book or a film-related event, while looking smart at dinner or production parties. However, these events proved to be very successful. My meeting with director Laura Lucchetti, resulted in her participation at the Q&A session after the screening of for her film, Fiore Gemello (Twin Flower), whose protagonist, Kalill Kone, won first prize in the Best Actor category at the Festival; that with journalists from ‘Cinecorriere’ resulted in IFFC having a featured article in their September issue.
All and all a grand and successful adventure that I hope to be able to repeat this year as well!
Luisa Pèrcopo, managing and artistic co-director of Italian Film Festival, Cardiff