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Written by: CinemaItaliano.info | 07/04/2023

Coming from the screens of Cannes, Florida, and Turin, the selected short films for this year’s Saturnia Film Festival have been announced. The itinerant event dedicated to short filmmaking, set in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma, is chaired by Antonella Santarelli and artistically directed by filmmaker Alessandro Grande. From July 26th to July 30th, the festival will return to symbolic locations in the region, from Manciano to Sorano, Montemerano, Rocchette di Fazio, and Saturnia, offering five days of screenings, masterclasses, guests, exhibitions, tastings, and collateral initiatives. This 6th edition is dedicated to Franco Zeffirelli on the centenary of his birth and will feature the screening of the documentary “Zeffirelli: Conformist Rebel” by Anselma Dell’Olio, with the author in attendance. Over 2,500 works have been submitted so far for the short film competition, which is the traditional core of the festival. For 2023, 12 films have been selected in the categories of fiction, animation, and documentary. Confirmed guests include Daniele Luchetti, Greta Scarano, and Lorenzo Richelmy. The Saturnia Film Festival is organized by Aradia Productions, with contributions from MIC Cinema e Audiovisivo, Fondazione CR FIRENZE, Comune di Manciano, Comune di Sorano, and Comune di Semproniano.

The section dedicated to Italian auteur feature films will continue, awarding the three most significant debut and sophomore works produced in the past year and their protagonists. The selected films for this edition are “L’uomo sulla strada” by Gianluca Mangiasciutti, “Primadonna” by Marta Savina, and “Margini” by Niccolò Falsetti, which will be screened and discussed in the presence of the directors on July 27th, 28th, and 29th, respectively. As for the short films in competition, among the titles are “Il barbiere complottista” by Valerio Ferrara, winner of the Best Short Film La Cinef award at the Cannes Festival (July 27th), “Old Tricks” by Edoardo Pasquini and Viktor Ivanov, presented at the Torino Film Festival (July 28th), “7 lbs 8 oz” by Yoo Lee, acclaimed at the Florida Film Festival (July 27th), and from Cannes, “The Right Words” by Adrian Moyse Dullin (July 28th), “Bear” by Nasch Edgerton (July 27th), and “Spring Roll Dreams” by Mai Vu (July 29th).

The events will take place in evocative locations, including Piazza Magenta in Manciano (July 26th), the square in Rocchette di Fazio (July 27th), Piazza Vittorio Veneto in Saturnia (July 28th), and Piazza del Castello in Montemerano (July 29th). The awards ceremony, as usual, will be held at the spaces of the Terme di Saturnia Natural Destination thermal park (July 30th). The short films will compete for awards given by a jury chaired by Paolo Orlando, the director of distribution at Medusa Film, and composed of Mario Mazzetti (Vivilcinema), Manuela Rima (Rai Cinema), and Mirella Cheeseman (Wildside). This year, the festival will also feature the Women in Cinema Award, reserved for films directed by women and presented by the Mujeres nel Cinema group, as well as the Audience Award and the Clorofilla Film Festival Award, with which Saturnia is twinned. Additionally, the short films in competition will be streamed on the Mymovies platform of the La Compagnia cinema in Florence, in collaboration with Fondazione Sistema Toscana.

Among the collateral events, SCREENS is worth mentioning—an exhibition that will bring together the works of 35 artists, including Holaf, Leonardo Crudi, Pep Marchegiani, EPVUS, Desiderio, Krayon, and Massimo Saverio Ruiu, at the Mastio della Fortezza Orsini in Sorano, curated by artist David Pompili and under the patronage of the Municipality of Sorano (from July 25th to August 31st). Also curated by Pampili for 2023 is the selection of short films for the Art Shorts section, dedicated to artist shorts, which returns with five chosen works after the success of the previous edition. The works will be shown in the cinema hall of the Fortezza Orsini during the exhibition and at the Polo Culturale Le Clarisse in Grosseto, according to the museum’s schedule. Let’s not forget the usual tastings of local wines and typical products that will accompany the festival at each stage.

And then there are the masterclasses: actress Bianca Nappi, known for her collaboration with Ferzan Özpetek and for her roles in TV series such as “Tutto chiede salvezza,” “Skam Italia,” and “Sirene,” will hold a meeting on the craft of acting (July 30th) and will co-host the festival’s final evening with Matteo Nicoletta. On the day of the awards ceremony, there will also be a VR (virtual reality) experience in a dedicated corner at the Terme di Saturnia Natural Destination. Curated by director and producer Alessandro Parrello, the initiative will allow the public to enjoy the immersive film “7 Miracles” by Rodrigo Cerqueira.

“Through cinema, we are becoming a national and international meeting point in an attempt to unite a challenging and fragmented area like the Maremma hinterland,” says Antonella Santarelli. “Cinema can also have the function of ‘cultural requalifier,’ becoming an unmissable event for tourists as well as for the residents who follow us with great affection and participation every year. Through the itinerant collateral events (exhibitions, tastings, masterclasses, etc.) of each edition of the Saturnia Film Festival, we aim to carry out a real territorial marketing operation, aimed at building loyalty, promoting, and enhancing the festival’s locations.”

“If I had to choose one word to describe this edition,” explains Alessandro Grande, “I would say ‘freedom.’ Freedom to tell and therefore enjoy works that have no impediments or impositions in their creative process. Freedom in art can only have a positive meaning and bring authenticity, which is necessary today more than ever. This year, too, the audience of the Saturnia Film Festival will be able to see films of different genres and themes. Ultimately, our goal has always been to offer a wide choice of visual experiences without imposing limits, but focusing on quality. This has been the key to attracting an increasing number of viewers from one edition to another and introducing them to cinematographic genres far from their taste. The artistic commission I chair and I would have liked to select many more films that were left out, but we are very satisfied with the program and cannot wait to experience it in the squares together with our audience.”

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