After the necessarily courageous 2020 Festival, a technological success with broad impact beyond city-regional and national boundaries (viewers from 13 “remote” countries on various continents followed ShorTS IFF on the ‘joint’ MyMovies.it platform), ShorTS IFF in Trieste is preparing the 22nd Festival while being sure to keep up with the regulations dictated by the pandemic situation, but also with the firm intention of returning to a Festival staged physically in a period of social calm with cautious yet direct contact in piazzas, theatres and other venues. There’s more in fact – the President and Artistic Direction, supported by expert consultants and associates, want to choose for the 2021 Festival the dual live and streaming format for the works selected in the various Competitions (Maremetraggio, Nuove Impronte, Shorter Kids’n’Teens) and the programmes into which the substantial Focus in Europe section will be divided, dedicated to short films from a European country. In addition, we plan to stream simultaneous events such as masterclasses given by award-winning directors, interviews with filmmakers and moments from the 24H ShorTS Comics Marathon. This is to confirm the international broadening of the audience of the Festival, whose logistic and cultural fulcrum is to remain in Trieste while preferably broadcasting to those audiences unable to experience it in person.
The editorial line of ShorTS IFF will remain absolutely and coherently heterogeneous, with a variety of films to be shown, debated, planned and with the short film as the customary absolute basis of the whole project, hosting in Trieste meaningful contributions from innovators of idioms attentive to the human value of the images they film and the roles they play. A dual set-up for viewing, physical and online, will set out to intrigue and attract an increasing number of audience members, professionals and sponsors. ShorTS IFF confirms that it is not a festival enclosed within fixed and formal areas and, thanks to the hyper-hospitable beauty of the city and its surroundings, has the ways and means and places, not only outdoors, in which to welcome, show and communicate.
The sections and events that we plan to include in the programme of the 2021 Trieste ShorTS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL are, first and foremost, the historic Maremetraggio section, rooted in the Festival as its signifier, which is to present around 80 shorts from every continent that have the requisite of having received awards from 1 January 2020 onwards at important international festivals. As confirmation of our commitment to having a prestigious international jury, we will aim in 2021 for an even more diverse selection of shorts, always with a focus on animation, themes in a global and contemporary spectrum and the various tones of comedy. To be introduced this year is the new prize, under the Maremetraggio banner, of €3,000 to be awarded to one of the Italian short films in the selection.
Obviously we hope to return to offering screening evenings in the magnificent setting of Piazza Verdi, and to do so for a large, diverse audience, safely accommodated. We’re also counting on the presence of directors who will be able to come to Trieste to present their shorts in a piazza-scenario that has always been the ideal visiting card for the entire multifaceted ShorTS IFF project.
The qualitative section Nuove Impronte holds a mirror up to the compendium of short films. In 2020 it became fittingly international (basically European) and is to include 8-10 works, recently produced films and documentaries, works for the most part unreleased in Italy but strengthened by possible presentation in the year at important festivals and marked by independent production and original and involving narrative and aesthetics, therefore also revealing directorial talent. Obviously this section will also make space for films or documentaries made in Italy and of absolute interest. We hope that the inclusion of filmmakers and producers will leave marks or impronte on cinema in Trieste, in order to create a critical viewpoint section, a harbinger of meetings and dialogue on pragmatic and urgent film themes in these complex times for the industry. Nuove Impronte or “new imprints” to be ‘editorially’ linked to the Cinema del Presente and Prospettiva awards for Italian filmmakers, with the aim of obtaining a snapshot of that Italian and European cinema that is not always visible but is moving towards a creative balance between authorship and industry, film appreciation and the public.
Shorts Virtual Reality aka Shorts in VR. After the forced decision in 2020 not to make it available via streaming, the VR section dedicated to short films devised and produced for the new frontier of 360-degree viewing and immersion in stories is making a comeback. Viewers can enjoy the films through the use of personal visors in a spacious environment where they are free to look around while sitting on special swivel chairs. We want to repeat the initial impacted success of this section held in the fine lobby of the Teatro Verdi by organising public meetings with the makers and a panel in which we will take stock of the expressive and commercial ‘reality’ of this new form of inclusive narration, typically narrating fantasy, noir and documentary-art stories.
The Cinema del Presente prize is awarded to incisive Italian filmmakers under the banner of dramaturgically and aesthetically important and technically outstanding cinema. As is customary, the winner will be invited to interact with the Festival and the public by holding a masterclass on their work as filmmaker and these strange times for modern-day cinema.
Since 2009 ShorTS IFF has staked on young revelations in Italian cinema by assigning the Prospettiva award, given in the early days to emerging actors who then made a name for themselves through their talent. Recently this auspicious recognition-wager has concerned very young and convincing newly discovered actors in films also presented at major festivals. We hope, even after a period of distribution difficulties for cinema as a whole, to identify for the next ShorTS IFF an equally significant and surprising performer who will hold a public meeting in Trieste on the subject of their first professional experiences and projects.
Long live shorts in Europe. Despite everything shorts filmmakers, producers in the industry and television broadcasters are on the move, in a Europe that is multifaceted rather than united and which is also living on the brink of a post-pandemic political and cultural identity crisis. In this framework ShorTS IFF, as from 2019, has seen fit to plan an annual section focusing on recent short films made in countries of significant creativity and media response in this area of cinema. After the Focuses on a surprising Iceland and Estonian animation, in 2021 we will host recent short films made in another European country, from which we will invite representative directors and producers to cross-reference their experiences with those of Italian directors, producers and distributors who are guests of our Festival.
The Shorter Kids’n’Teens section is dedicated to young and very young spectators and will offer two different programmes of shorts, one for children aged 6 to 10 years old and another for those 11 to 15 years old. The main new feature of the 2021 Festival is to be the involvement as selectors of 8 children and 8 teens who, after a period of learning (to be carried out between March and April with physical attendance or remotely depending on the rules concerning the health situation), will become the real selectors of the two programmes of this section appropriately based on works pre-selected by the festival management from among the many sent in specifically every year. As always, the jury will be composed of a good number of children and young people, some of whom will be able to ‘work’ from other cities, in remote mode.
Since 2018 ShorTS IFF has collaborated with NISI MASA, a European network concerned globally with short films, with which we are to repeat in 2021 the ShorTS Pitching Training initiative, a two-day workshop to instruct and help young directors from film schools all over Europe to express themselves effectively and concisely in the numerous opportunities offered to them during the year by important festivals in workshops and pitching sessions and to present their shorts projects to producers and international distributors. As always, this training will be carried out in collaboration with the Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio.
Another now well-established event is to be the ShorTS Comics Marathon, combining cinema and comics. Once again in 2021 this competitive 24-hour creative marathon will involve 15-20 young comic book artists who, in a space reserved for them at the Casa del Cinema, will draw a mini storyboard of at least 4 inked and/or coloured illustrations. As in the past, this will take place under the curious and passionate ‘control’, albeit not continuous, of a qualified jury.
In Trieste, a fertile, epochal, magnificent border city, the Festival wants to build its elaborate mosaic within the circumference of images and stories, of dreams and reality, of professionalism and market, the arena of cinema. Kinema or cinema always on the move to tell above all the story of today’s complicated world, capable, with shorts, documentaries, feature films and VR, not only of providing answers, but also of posing questions and themes with narratives that excite, envision and even entertain.