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Ennesimo Film Festival 2018, the Italian short film carnival

Welcome to Tile Valley: we went to the Ennesimo Film Festival in Fiorano Modenese and no, this is not "just another" festival report


Welcome to Tile Valley: Ennesimo Film Festival 2018 is an illuminating example of cultural project management. From 4th to 6th May, the Astoria Theater in Fiorano Modenese — municipality in the province of Modena in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, best known for tile collections synonymous worldwide with excellent ceramics Made in Italy, the Castle of Spezzano, and the curious natural reserve of mud volcanoes, the so-called Salse of Nirano — has become the center of a short film festival which is not “just another” (“ennesimo” in Italian) film festival. Fiorano is transformed and for three days the province becomes a metropolis, credit of an enlightened administration and especially of the artistic directors Mirco Marmiroli and Federico Ferrari, who built this creature with many tireless and professional collaborators.

Ennesimo Film Festival 2018

Ennesimo Film Festival offered three days of short films (20 shorts in Official Selection from 3.006 received, 11 Italian premieres, 9 shorts in Youth Selection, 8 in the Visions From Sardinia showcase); the scholarship offering the opportunity to shoot a short film in Fiorano to two young directors; the educational project Non è l’Ennesima Giornata di Scuola (‘Not Just Another Day of School’) directed at 500 students of 20 classes from the 4 district municipalities, committed to write reviews of their favorite short films; the live soundtrack rendition (in the tipping point between jazz rock and hard prog) of silent short Western film The Great Train Robbery by Edwin S. Porter; the meeting with region Emilia-Romagna film festival organizers, from Concorto to Sedicicorto; the lightsaber duels and the DJ sets; the training seminar with the Association of Journalists and the Marco Biagi Foundation for telling and documenting the world of labor today. So much, never too much. The atmosphere and the desire for cinema that can be felt in Fiorano during the festival testify to a successful event, as demonstrated by the sold-out recorded at the Astoria.

Ennesimo Film Festival 2018

Ennesimo Film Festival 2018: the Official Selection

Mirco Marmiroli and Federico Ferrari, with the essential support of Luca Busani (just another one man up in the festival), have captured in the 20 selected short films all the complexity of the present. They have payed attention to every possible form of cinema without unbearable hypocrisy, easy loopholes or punitive choices towards the audience. A high quality program which included several highlights. The subject matter of complex family relationships and the search for one’s own identity is one of the dominating motifs in this year’s films.

Cubs by Islandic director Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir tells us about the ambiguities of desire and feelings, the perceived and failed trust, the cruelty of childhood and the social sexualisation of very young people. Retouch by Iranian director Kaveh Mazaheri follows a surprising twist of events after a seemingly comic home incident upsets an unsuccessful (and probably violent) marriage. The American picks Rosie, Oh by Andy Koeger — the surprising one-shot ride around a gritty Southern neighborhood following a young girl in search of her dog — and Across My Land by Fiona Godivier — the cruel portrait of an American family along the American/Mexican border near Nogales, executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix — are already available online.

From New Zealand the documentary After Life by Prisca Bouchet & Nick Mayow (an ironic and observational glimpse into the everyday life of a busy South Auckland funeral home) and Cold Fish by David Hay (a dark and symbolic tale on life & death starring the amazing Jeffrey Thomas) go along with the rough and realistic LGBT prison-movie (shot in 16mm) Wren Boys by Harry Lighton. The crisis comedy Kapitalistis by Belgian helmer Pablo Muñoz Gomez (another great performance by Georges Siatidis) and the Swedish comedy of errors A Friend of Dorothy by Joakim S. Hammond ensure smart laughter and light weight.

The Youth Selection offers the hilarious wickedness of the Irish stop-motion puppet movie Second to None by Vincent Gallagher, the oppressive dystopian sci-fi Emily Must Wait by German director Christian Wittmoser, the Chinese weightlifting feel-good movie Iron Hands by Johnson Cheng, the crazy alien love story Karl by French helmer Thomas Scohy, and the Australian tender and naive LGBT anthem Mrs McCutcheon by John Sheedy. But the real lightning strike is for the ingenious nonsense of Stargoats by Brazilian director Paulinho Caruso.

Visions From Sardinia is the section entirely dedicated to short films by authors from the region, made up with Visioni Italiane (Italian Visions) and the Circolo Nuraghe in Fiorano. An interesting focus on different styles and approaches, among which L’ultimo miracolo (The Last Miracle) by Enrico Pau (the poetic and suggestive tale of an elderly Jesus Christ, who remained in Cagliari with Peter after the resurrection and was unable to perform miracles, loosely based on a fairy tale by Italo Calvino and special event at the 32nd Venice International Film Critics’ Week), Futuro prossimo (Next Future) by Salvatore Mereu (the caretaker of a coastal bathing establishment and a mother and daughter just outside a reception centre, premiered out of competition at Venice Film Festival 2017, Orizzonti section), and the odd and surreal Disco Volante by Matteo Incollu.

Ennesimo Film Festival 2018: the Winners

The Jury, made up of Francesco Clerici (the award-winning documentary director of Hand Gestures), Attilio Palmieri (film critic and PhD in Visual, Performing and Media Arts) and Maria Francesca Piredda (professor of History of cinema), has awarded Cubs as Best Short for “its reflection on the obsessive and persuasive impact of social networks on the lives of young people.”

The Jury has also given two Special Mentions to Rosie, Oh (Andy Koeger as Best Director) and Retouch (Sonia Sanjari as Best Actress).

The Audience Award went to Kapitalistis by Pablo Muñoz Gomez. The Artemisia Award — promoted by namesake cultural society of ideas, projects and activities for women — was assigned to From Hasaka with Love by Iranian director Mohammad Farahani. The Ennesimo Youth Mention, assigned by the students of the education project, went to the Irish animated short Second to None by Vincent Gallagher.

Ennesimo Film Festival is among the 62 projects with will be supported in the three year-period 2018-2020 by Funder35, the fund by Acri’s Committee for Arts & Culture to help cultural undertakings started by young people. In the Italian short film (potential) industry, the future, for these stubborn guys, can only be rosy.

Ennesimo Film Festival 2018

Photo: Laboratorio Immagine

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Editor-in-Chief @ Good Short Films

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