Everything can be improved, of course. But it is also true that the MYArt Film Festival first edition’s outcome seems to be positive, not only for the number of films received and screened in three days, but also for the quality of the films that have been judged and awarded.
We are satisfied.
More than 50 films, documentaries and short films (30 in competition and 20 in the non-competitive section) included in the event – which was promoted by La Kasbah and organized by Lago Film – were able to put the spotlight «on topics which should always be well-lighted», as Daniela Di Capua declared in her opening message to the Festival. This is the wish of the Director of the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (Sprar) central service, that has supported this event establishing the SPRAR prize for the best documentary, and it seems to be confirmed. Because «cinema allows us to involve many women and men through images, emotions and thoughts that are able to use a form of art to make people closer to the concreteness of reality».
The jury has also expressed a positive evaluation: through the awarded films, apart from technical quality, it aimed at paying attention to alternative points of view on the migratory phenomenon, since its prevailing representations tend to dumb a complex reality down. All the films awarded actually offer that «alternative narration, that connects us to the stories of the single human lives», as Pino Fabiano, director of the Migrantes Office of Cosenza said, awarding the best short film and the best short documentary.
This is why MYArt best documentary was “The black sheep” by Antonio Martino: «For having been able to tell the realization of a young man that does not passively accept a one-way religious creed in modern Libyan society, torn by a civil and geopolitical war – this is what the motivations says -. A story in which the author’s view becomes witness and conscience of the protagonist, and follows him until the hard choice of a “new promised land” where he can freely ex-press his own identity. Focusing on freedom of expression, religion and human rights, this film reminds us the strength, the need and the urgency of making documentaries».
The best short film, “The dead sea” by Stuart Gatt, was chosen because, with great expressive power «tells about a barely known story: forced detention in Libyan jails. Gatt’s direction shows violence with elegance, also thanks to extraordinary actors. A story – said the jury – that expresses the drama of a brutal reality, the one of the immigrants of the Mediterranean area, forced to be witnesses of a lost humanity».
The powerful “Loza” by Jean Sébastien Desbordes, was one of the best documentaries, and this is why it won the “short doc” section prize. «For showing us the bravery and the determination of those people who fight against walls and prejudices every day, facing inhuman and unfair laws risking their own freedom. For bringing to light the drama of borders and showing, through a mother and a daughter embracing again, the beauty of a borderless humanity. A call to stay human», says the motivation for the Migrantes prize.
Bu the great amount of the competing works has convinced the jury about the need to also establish special mentions to give the festival the chance to show a deeper vision of a many-sided phenomenon which requires multiple points of view.
The special prize of the jury for the documentary section was assigned to “Castro” by Paolo Civati, «because – in a complex and always changing microcosm (a squat in Rome that has become a shelter for those excluded, a home for many but none’s home) – the director profoundly and lightly tells the strain of people longing to a better life, taking us into a real choral score fro faces, thoughts and actions of the inhabit-ants of an occupied building, involving us in that humanity, in that world».
A special mention was also given to the documentary “The Ramadan Cannon of Jerusalem” by Atta Awisat and Nimrod Shanit, «because – as the jury said – the joined signature of a Palestinian director and an Israeli one that – through the obstinacy of a Palestinian popular actor – shows us a need: that art becomes the hope to solve to the long Arab-Israeli conflict».
Special mentions, eventually, to the short film “Lost exile” by Fisnik Maxhuni («An “on the road” film with a bitter taste shows what happens on the migrants’ routes to which media still pay little attention. A direction handled with full-length film times develops into a retention story made of gazes and silences.») and to the short documentary “Maxamba” by Susanna Barnard and Sofia Borges («For reminding us that cinema also prevents oblivion. For confirming that “Places have memories. They remember everything” (Wim Wenders), and that memories of places are essential parts of people’s identity».
Special events complete the Festival success: the awarding of Mario Gallo prize 2017 by Cineteca della Calabria to documentarist Gianfranco Pannone (president od MYArt Jury), as well as the “window on kurdish cinema” with two kurdish film festival directors (Hevi Dilara and Ilham Bakir), to remind us of the condition of a criminalized people, even in its artistic expressions (cinema, schools, theaters being closed): showing reality by means of a camera is considered a terrorist act.
The statuettes – made by a young Palestinian artist living and working in Cosenza – were given by some political refugees that had the chance to make a life in Cosenza and become supporting mediators for newcomers: an example of hospitality and integration that the Sprar has turned into a model appreciated all over Europe.
Thanks to the jury, represented by Gianfranco Pannone, Mario Mazzarotto, Fabio Mollo, Giuseppe Scarpelli, Giancarlo Lancioni, Emanuele Milasi, Emiliano Barbucci, Jessica Resteghini.
Thanks to all the people who collaborated. Thanks to Calabria Film Commission.
Thanks to all who took the opportunity to enjoy some international cinema in Calabria.
MYArt Film Festival Staff