The first Festival of Cinema and Opera in Messina

The Messina Film Festival, after a long suspension, returns from 1 to 8 December. The Teatro Vittorio Emanuele, the Sala Laudamo and other city spaces will host the event. From this year the Festival is entirely dedicated to the relationship between Cinema and Opera, with the analysis, through an intense and varied programme, of the connections that have always been particularly important between these two forms of cinema since the silent era. ‘art. It benefits from the support of the EAR Teatro di Messina and the Regional Department of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment led by Elvira Amata. The Artistic Direction is handled by Ninni Panzera. The festival is divided into various non-competitive sections with a contemporary Panorama featuring films by great filmmakers whose works were set in the world of opera: Bernardo Bertolucci, Luchino Visconti, Woody Allen, just to name a few. And then a tribute to Marco Bellocchio, to his passion for opera and to Maria Callas, on the centenary of her birth, her impressive artistic activity seen through the mirror of cinema, with the prestigious collaborations with directors Franco Zeffirelli and Pier Paolo Pasolini. An exhibition and retrospective on the Catanian composer Vincenzo Bellini with six films which, starting from the mid-1930s and for the following twenty years, dominated the box office takings of the Italian and international film scene.

The selection of three silent films taken from as many operas is very suggestive. The films will be accompanied by live music performed by various ensembles. And also a conference organized by representatives of the University of Messina for an in-depth analysis of the importance that opera has had in the world of cinema, a presentation of the books that have investigated this relationship over time and then guests, national and international, who will tell their personal experiences in these two important artistic sectors. A unique Festival on the national and international scene that aims to become a point of reference for the many fans of opera and cinema.

The event will make use of the collaboration of all the cultural associations that operate in the musical and cinematographic fields in Messina, the Film Studies Center of Rome and the Coordination of Film Festivals in Sicily. Finally, contemporary creativity will be measured in a short film competition in which the opera through its characters or arias will find life in the short story. The Messina Film Festival will be a “plural, rigorous and green” event that will look very carefully at environmental sustainability with the adoption of measures in compliance with the guidelines adopted by the Ministry of Culture. Meanwhile, the jury for the competition dedicated to short films has been defined. Marco Dentici, appreciated set designer for cinema, theater and opera, winner of David Donatello, Nastri d’argento and Ciak d’oro, collaborator of Bellocchio, Maselli, Corbucci and Chabrol, will be the President of the Jury of the Messina Film Festival – Cinema&Opera. He will be joined by Eugenio Tassitano, composer for cinema and theater and author of some volumes on cinema and Lucilla Mininno, actress and director.

A particularly technical Jury which will have the task of judging works which, in most cases, due to the specificity of the theme of the competition, will be unpublished and specifically created for the festival. Works with a maximum duration of 15 minutes (including titles) in which there are stories inspired by operas or its characters or which have music or arias taken from operas or a setting in an opera theater can participate in the competition. This section of the Festival, the most original, intends to promote contemporary creativity with respect to a theme, melodrama, normally considered distant from the world of youth. It is a way to measure the perception that young filmmakers have of an artistic experience which apparently does not seem to belong to the contemporary world and which instead increasingly highlights the universality of its stories and feelings.

While the organizational machine is moving at full speed, significant collaborations have in the meantime been signed with the three prestigious musical associations of Messina (Filarmonica Laudamo, Associazione V. Bellini and Accademia Filarmonica), with the Cineforum Don Orione and the Officina del Sole. Messina Film Festival – Cinema&Opera which is reborn after a long suspension, is co-produced by the La Zattera dell’Arte Association, by the EAR Teatro di Messina, by the Regional Department of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, by the Municipality of Messina and also makes use of the collaboration of the Film Studies Center of Rome and of the Film Festival Coordination in Sicily.