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"A festival with a strong identity"

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Francesco Giai Via • Artistic director, Annecy Italian Film Festival

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- We met up with Francesco Giai Via, the new artistic director of the Annecy Italian Film Festival

Francesco Giai Via  • Artistic director, Annecy Italian Film Festival
(© Paolo Angari)

The 35th edition of the Annecy Italian Film Festival is taking place from 25 September to October, with 46 films in the programme (including 33 French premieres - see the news). We met up with Francesco Giai Via, the new artistic director of the festival.

Cineuropa: What changes have you made to the editorial line of the festival with your first selection?
Francesco Giai Via
: I knew the history of the festival and its importance on both the French and the Italian side in relation to the industry very well. But my journey, notably my work for Venice Film Festival and TorinoFilmLab, gave me a rather different profile to previous directors. So from the get-go I intended to focus on contemporary Italian content, which is very rich and interesting indeed. I also worked on documentary for many years so wanted to mix fiction and documentary in the competition and out-of-competition sections. Finally, I wanted to open the programme up to new forms of Italian TV series, as there are currently many links between young Italian directors and series production, which offers them a different means of expressing themselves, take Claudio Giovannesi for example, he’s sitting on the jury for the competition this year and has created the likes of Fiore [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Claudio Giovannesi
film profile
]
, as well as some episodes of the Gomorra series.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

How did you go about restructuring the programme?
Previously there were two competitions, one for first and second feature films, and another one for documentaries. I suggested that we condense the two into one competition in order to focus attention a little more and to dedicate it to the first and second feature films that still don't have a French distributor. Thanks to Filmitalia, these eight films have a DCP copy subtitled in French, which is an added bonus for potential distributors as part of their work is already done. The competition also highlights the emergence of new talent as it includes filmmakers who will certainly become big names in the next few years. In the non-competitive Prima section I wanted to mix together newly-competing titles at Venice, such as The Leisure Seeker [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Paolo Virzì
film profile
]
, Hannah [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and True Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Marco and Antonio Manetti
film profile
]
, with some much more independent, smaller films and documentaries, and even some more experimental work.

You're also organising the first edition of Annecy Cinéma Italien PRO from 28 to 29 September.
Industry-related events are ubiquitous at festivals, but in my experience, the ones that work best are those that are linked to events with a strong identity, because that way they end up presenting things that aren’t necessarily accessible elsewhere. As Annecy Italian Film Festival is a festival with a very strong identity – very well known among institutions – it felt natural to create a professional component developed with the help of the CNC. This year it’ll be organised around meetings between French distributors and Italian sellers and representatives (producers and directors) of the films presented at the festival. So the 2017 edition of the festival won't just be limited to film screenings, although we’re still going to present a lot of content, and almost all directors will accompany their films at Annecy, which is a way of physically coming into contact with this new wave of Italian cinema.

What are your goals in terms of festival attendance by the public?
At the moment, it's fluctuating somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators, which is already very good for a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, and the occupancy rate for sessions organised for schoolchildren is quite remarkable. Overall, there is a strong connection between the audience and the festival, but the ultimate goal is to attract different spectators, especially younger ones. With this new generation of Italian filmmakers whose films tell stories that are more linked to young people, I think we’re on the right track.

(Translated from French)

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