The Italian Film Festival (IFFC) in Cardiff began last year with the simple aim of moving beyond La Dolce Vita. Aware that many people knew nothing more about Italian cinema than Anita Ekberg dancing in a fountain or Federico Fellini suffering from severe writer’s block, the Italian Cultural Centre Wales set out to blast their ignorance; they decided to illustrate the daring, innovation and originality of contemporary Italian film in a week-long festival across two Cardiff area venues – the Chapter Arts Centre and the Penarth Pier Cinema. The festival premiered films ranging in themes from poetry to gender and migration, and focused on productions with a strong emphasis on new narrative forms and cinematography.
The result was better than they could even have hoped: all the screenings sold out (a rare thing for any film festival) and the daily Q&As had a strong turnout. Building on this success, the Italian Cultural Centre have partnered with a number of other Italian Film Festivals – including the Maratea Film Festival and the VART in Cagliari – to return the IFFC this November with an even bigger programme.
The festival will launch on with a screening of the latest film from legendary Italian director, Ermanno Olmi, who is famous for his work examining the business world and later films exploring religious and social themes. The festival also offers a preview of an upcoming exhibition of the work of artist and illustrator Silvano Beggio, featuring his character Melanzasca – a toy inspired by the Italian punk scene and legendary bandit, Vallanzasca.
This year’s festival also aims to showcase the work of a new generation of Italian filmmakers by presenting some of their most recently celebrated pieces of Italian cinema. Across the five day event, there will be eleven films screened across two different venues in Cardiff, and a number of actors and directors will speak at their daily Q&As. The Sardegna Film Commission and Lucania Film Commission will also be present at the festival to showcase their films to the festival goers. The festival promises cinephiles an unrivalled opportunity to sample the best of Italian film.
The Italian Film Festival, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff; Penarth Pier Cinema, Wed 23-Sun 27 Nov: Tickets: prices vary per event. Info: www.iccw.wales