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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Italy

Eight international feature films to compete in the 22nd Ischia Film Festival

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- A total of 35 works from 17 countries are set to screen at the event, unspooling 29 June to 6 July at the Italian island’s Castello Aragonese

Eight international feature films to compete in the 22nd Ischia Film Festival
Amanece by Juan Francisco Viruega

Eight films are getting ready to battle it out for the Best Feature Film accolade at the 22nd edition of the Ischia Film Festival, which is unspooling 29 June to 6 July at the Campanian island’s Castello Aragonese, offering up a total of 35 works (both feature films and shorts) from 17 countries, including three international premieres, two European and nine Italian.

The feature films in competition explore important ethical, political and social themes and are all united in their aim of promoting different places. Juan Francisco Viruega’s Spanish title, Amanece - a wholly female, existential work set in Almeria and revolving around a woman who returns to her roots and finds herself reunited with her sister and dying mother - will screen in an international premiere. Gondola [+see also:
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by German director Veit Helmer, set in Georgia, speaks of a friendship forged in mid-air, in a cable car. Giulio Mastromauro’s feature film debut, Bangarang [+see also:
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, explores the joyous innocence of children in Taranto, against the backdrop of the environmental and sanitary disaster brought about by the Ilva steelworks. Rosinante by Baran Gunduzalp, a family drama set in Istanbul and focused on how difficult it is to be a parent in a world of precarious work, is set to screen in a European premiere. Likewise from Turkey, and screening in an international premiere, is Mehmet Ali Konar’s When the Walnut Leaves Turn Yellow, which follows an ill Kurdish father who’s also the head of his village, who tries to hand over responsibility to his son before he dies. Rounding off the international competition line-up is the Iranian movie Cold Sigh by Nahid Sedigh, Electra by Hala Matar (USA – the first fiction film directed by a woman from Bahrein) and Flickering Lights by Anupama Srinivasan and Anirban Dutta (India).

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Each of the titles in the selection offer up an original take on a variety of social and cultural realities, flaunting expressive approaches which range from fiction to documentary and from animation to experimental language, proving that cinema is capable of reproducing the atmospheres and peculiarities of places both nearby and far away. “We can’t stop looking far off into the distance”, insists Michelangelo Messina, artistic director and founder of the Ischia Film Festival, “and that’s why, this year too, our gathering is looking to make a difference with the tools which set us apart: cultural variety, linguistic research and the prestigious nature of our guests, who’ll be taking to us about their passion for cinema and for the places which have marked their lives”.

Another source of much excitement at the festival is the arrival on the island of Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, who’s due to meet the public on 4 July and who will also receive an award recognising his lengthy career, consisting of a host of high points, including the Golden Globe he won in 2020 as Best Supporting Actor in the Chernobyl series.

Rounding off the festival line-up are two additional competitive sections: the Short Films section, featuring 12 works in competition (from Spain, Macedonia, Italy and Demark, among others) which avail themselves of a wide variety of approaches and aesthetic trends in order to showcase extraordinary landscapes and magical forces, and the Denied Location section, dedicated to works exploring lands violated by the contradictions of civilisation and progress, and consisting of 14 works offered up in various formats.

The Ischia Film Festival is backed by the Italian Ministry of Culture’s Film and Audiovisual Department, the Regione Campania - Film Commission Regione Campania, BONACINA 1889, BPER Banca, and TRECCANI Esperienze.

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(Translated from Italian)

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