"... Ho avuto un'emozione molto forte venendo qua, vedendo questo paese ripristinato. Sento che dentro c'è un emblema, un simbolo molto forte, non saprei analizzarlo, ma si diventa ottimisti, anche se non è facile essere ottimisti oggi in Calabria...
C'è una ricchezza enorme. Bisogna capire bene che questo non è un mestiere razionale ma è una funzione dello spirito, anche se questo a volte lo dimentichiamo..."
Vittorio De Seta
ospite della seconda edizione
del Pentedattilo Film Festival
It is a little like walking barefoot, yes, it is just like walking barefoot.
Ghost villages do not exist
It is not easy to organize a festival in Calabria. It is not possible to organize a festival in a ghost village. A ghost village itself is not possible.
If a tree falls down and nobody sees it, nobody hears it, does it make a noise? Does a tree fall down if nobody sees it? Or does it pass from one state to another, without falling down? To organize a festival in Calabria is like constructing trees, which take wide root, receiving different species. Movements, colours. But, if it falls down, nobody sees anything. If it falls down it never existed. On your feet you exist, if you fall to the ground you never existed. We had an advantage: we started from silence. From the silence of a ghost village, inhabited by few people, occasional destination of events and entertainments, a village which, at last, has found an innovative cultural identity through the festival. We bet, we keep on betting, short film after short film.
Pentedattilo Film Festival is an International Short Film Festival that took the bet to create in Southern Italy a new frontier of world short films. Its location is the evocative village of Pentedattilo, in the district of Reggio Calabria, which enchanted renowned travellers from the past, and it has been now reopened to new explorers through an extraordinary journey of cultural and structural rescue against the abandonment generated by historical inadequate choices.
The ghost town, perched on a typical five-fingered rock that rises majestically over the sea, comes alive thanks to Pentedattilo Film Festival, a cinema champing to be known and appreciated from all over the world, pushing the boundaries of indifference to affirm its exceptional intrinsic value, both artistic and productive. Pentedattilo Film Festival is a festival of short films only, which makes its discoveries by being discovered. It identifies talents, promotes opportunities for meetings between young filmmakers and established filmmaking masters, it gives the audience the vision of a "different" cinema, developing a significant network of circulation and artistic sharing.
Since its debut in 2006, the Festival stood out for the originality of its articulation and the quality of its contents, fully entering into the wide network of international film festivals that make short films the heart of their organizational schedule. During the days of the festival the wonderful landscape of Pentedattilo becomes an extraordinary meeting place, both physically and metaphorically: a sort of "Territorio in Movimento", (Land in Motion) as it has been defined in the main section of the festival. Territorio in Movimento means a land finally breathing and living not only the limits of a postcard; it means continuous movement, taking unusual spaces, recanting stereotyped formulas, looking at the future in a process of awareness and cultural growth.
Four competitive sections, three out of competition, exhibitions and installations, thousands of short films enrolled, an average of one hundred and fifty short films each year, guests, workshops, meetings: the festival invades the village, the alleys, the ruins, the small houses which have been rehabilitated for cultural activities. It is a unique event, because it has been moulded by the ghost village but, in turn, it moulds the village itself, sharing with the ghosts that inhabit it the lights of the projectors and with the noise of the wind the words of great authors who teach filmmaking there .
Just try to imagine it: a village which is the festival, where every tree, every Indian fig tree, every stone speaks about short films, it is that kind of cinema we responsibly approach in order to contribute to enhance a fruition that looks at the new cinematographic generations.
Five are the fingers of the village. Five are our characteristics:
1) Quality. Too often movies focus on quantity, speed, marketability to the detriment of creativity, urgency to express and artistic innovation. Here in Pentedattilo there's no rush: take the gruelling slope that takes you to the village and stop there to breathe. Do not be afraid to show your sweaty hands, those are the hands we need to promote our cinema.
2) Young Energy. First there was a ghost town. Then came the ideas and other ideas came furthermore. Those ideas grew, year after year, and turned into a unique and compact shockwave going ahead thanks to our energy and our desire to do.
3) Eco-sustainability. Ours is an oasis against society’s cultural and landscape desertification. Take off your shoes and feel the village speaking to you through your body; lie on the ground to watch the short films and, deep down in the night, cross the screen with your eyes and look at the sky: the stars are all there, watching the movies with us.
4) Sharing. From workshops to meetings, from the hostel to the "piazza", you can’t live the festival by yourself, you live it with the community: a very lively community, always changing and taking new spaces and breaths year after year. The heart of Pentedattilo are the filmmakers, the authors, the guests, the audience; their hearts beat together, to restore life to the village ... and every year we lose a little piece of our heart, we leave it in the village to keep the streets warm until we come back again.
5) Restoration. We want to restore. The village, first, with its houses, its open spaces, the walls of the castle. We want to retrieve good cinema that is too often muffled, a new cinema, a cinema for today, necessary for tomorrow; a cinema that takes its first steps from all over the world, pawing with the imperfection of creativity, that is no merchandise but art interpreting reality, twisting it, undermining it while searching for the truth. It’s what makes you think, always, even when you laugh fit to burst; it’s what remains in our eyes transforming our soul; it’s what we can’t see if we stay in our tiny houses, but it’s what we decide to see when we travel for miles and miles reminding ourselves that we are all insatiable travellers. We want to retrieve the spirit we lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily routine, crushed by those who want to dull our senses day after day. Retrieve the urge to do, to speak, to stand face to face, to understand each other. Retrieve the spontaneity, the smile, a sincere anger and, in the evening, the possibility of not being ashamed if we feel like sleeping on the shoulder of a stranger.
…I remember that when I was a child I was told I had flat feet and I needed walking barefoot. Then, I began walking barefoot.This is a great thing. You feel the foot sole adhere to the floor, conform itself, lose the shape and then find it again. Stones and thorns hang on to the floor, conform itself, lose the shape and then find it again. Stones and thorns hang on to the skin, they hurt, and then the wound heals up, and then it reopens, and then it heals up again. In your fingers you feel the time before the others, the rain coming or the sun keeping shining. Below, there’s a world populated by solitude waiting for a wayfarer. Then, during a beach party, exactly in the common place for barefoot people, I realized they all were dressed up, female spike heels and male 90 s-aged Converse. A little woman whose 500- euros suede shoes were flooded with sand said to me "but you’ re barefoot, but are you crazy?" I answered only "Are there any pineapple cocktail?". And fram then I stopped walking barefoot.
The view of a short film: to feel the retina adhere to the image, which conforms itself, loses the shapeand then finds it again. And stones and thorns hang on to the viewer mind, they hurt, and then the wound heals up, and then it reopens, and then it heals up again. In your ears you feel the time before the others, the rain coming or the sun keeping shining. Over there a world populated by solitude waiting only for a wayfarer. And to you, wayfarer, welcome.
You already know this, at Pentedattilo Film Festival is like walking barefoot, or rather, it is just like walking barefoot.