|Born||in Rome, Lazio, Italy|
Mini Bio (1)
Born in Rome on 7th June 1953 of Italo-Swiss father and Italo-Greco-Brazilian mother. After a period of university and post-university studies (1971-1975: orientalism and anthropology in Italy; 1975-1977: specialization and state doctorate in China), he began undertaking research and teaching in Italy (1977-1980: research in the field, ethnological publications, ethnomusicology and visual anthropology; seminars and university courses in ethnomusicology).
Since 1980, he has worked as a film critic and historian (articles and essays for daily newspapers and periodicals in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland; books and essays for histories of cinema in Italy, France and Spain). Since 1982, he has created and directed several series of books on the cinema for a number of publishers (in Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland), has personally curated some monographic publications and has regularly written essays and articles on cinema.
The author and writer of documentaries on the cinema (for RAI and TSR - the Italian state television and Swiss-Romansch television respectively), between 1982 and 1989 he began his first trials as assistant and actor on the film-sets of feature films (amongst others, for the "founding fathers" of New Cinema, Jean Rouch from France and Allen Fong from Hong Kong).
Since 1978, his new role as "festival maker" has progressively established itself. After collaborating with various European festivals (including as curator of monographic programmes), he created and directed the first large film festival in Turin. This was called "Electric Shadows" (and comprised a major retrospective of the history of Chinese cinema in 135 films), and was followed by his move to the International Exhibition of New Cinema (Pesaro), initially as programming manager (1983-1985) and then as festival director (from 1986 to 1989). He collaborated in various ways in the selections for the Venice Film Festivals from 1980 to 1994 (especially for the selection of Asian films).
From 1989 to 1991, he was director of the Rotterdam International Film Festival (in the Netherlands), and in that context created the Huub Bals Fund and the Coproduction Workshop (now called "Cinemart Projects"); these were two instruments that were to play an important role in Europe and elsewhere to ensure financial and "cultural" support for independent films from the South and East.
From 1991 to 2000, he directed the Locarno International Film Festival (in Switzerland), renewing the criteria for the programming from the roots up: alongside the numerous "discoveries" of directors who subsequently became famous, these programmes were marked also by the retrospectives: the group of screenings and debates animated by Jean-Luc Godard around the cinema centennial (and the world premiere of the series of his Histoire(s) du cinéma); the cross-referenced review of 50 years of "American cinema seen by its creators" by Coppola, Scorsese, Eastwood, Allen, Bigelow, Jarmusch, Carpenter, Lynch, Van Sant, Ferrara, Woo and other "greats" of US cinema (who all wrote an original text for a book published in the Actes Sud Cinéma series directed by Thierry Fremaux); the full screening of Joe Dante rounded off by the range of "second-generation" directors from the school of Roger Corman; the first and never repeated true full-length screenings of Marco Bellocchio (with the first exhibition of his sketches and preparatory drawings for the cinema), Abbas Kiarostami (with the first exhibition of his watercolors and photographs) and Youssef Chahine; the discovery of 30 masterpieces of Soviet film-making, made to disappear by the censors and never before "liberated".
At the same time as his activity as director of the festival on the shores of the Lake Maggiore, between 1992 and 2002 he created and directed the Fondazione Montecinemaverità (which in the light of the new prospects for film-making co-operation, re-processed the assumptions of the Huub Bals Fund).
Between 1998 and 2002, he worked as director of the Film and Video Department of Fabrica (the Benetton group's research centre on communication), where he tackled the training of new film and video-makers. In this context, it is worth noting his new role as film producer - for Fabrica Cinema, the production facility he created alongside his department. Among his productions are two shorts by Fabrica scholarship holders (Afterwords, Venice 2000, and First Death Experience, Cannes 2002), and nine feature films: three were co-produced - Viaggio verso il sole by Yesim Ustaoglu (Turkey), two prizes in Berlin 1999; Moloch by Aleksander Sokurov (Russia), prize for the screenplay in Cannes 1999; Adanggaman by Roger Gnoan M'Bala (Ivory Coast), Venice 2001, two awards at the Panafrican festival at Ouagadougou 2000 - and six were produced by him for Fabrica Cinema: Seventeen Years by Zhang Yuan (China), prize for directing, Venice 1999; Blackboards by Samira Makhmalbaf (Iran), special jury's prize at Cannes 2000; La bestia dalle sette teste by Lais Bodansky (Brazil), youth award at Locarno 2000 and 32 prizes in Brazil and in Latin America; No Man's Land by Danis Tanovic (Bosnia), prize for the screenplay at Cannes 2001, Oscar 2002 for best foreign film; Secret Ballot by Babak Payami (Iran), award for screenplay in Venice 2001; Angel on the Right by Jamshed Usmonov (Tadzikistan), Cannes 2002 (Critics' award at the London Film Festival, Special Jury Prize at Filmex, Tokyo).
After a break of a year (spent consolidating his two new production companies, Downtown Pictures in Italy and Riforma Film in Switzerland), he began once more his activity as director at Fabrica Cinema in January 2004.
Between spring of 2002 and spring of 2004, he has been president of Downtown Pictures (Bologna), a new production house and wide-ranging audio-visual initiatives centre which pays particular attention to new film-makers and the new state of cinema and audio-visual works. His first production for Downtown is the Turkish-Greek-Cypriot film Çamur (Mud) by Darvish Zaim (UNESCO Prize, Venice 2003), followed by Solnce (The Sun) by Aleksandr Sokurov (Berlin 2005), Face Addict by Edo Bertoglio (Locarno 2005), Kanshangqu hen mei (Little Red Flowers) by Zhang Yuan (Sundance/Berlin 2006) and Grido (Shout) by Pippo Delbono (Cinema-Rome Fest 2006). In spring 2009 he will be (for Bruno Benetti's OneArt) the creative producer of Egidio Eronico's 5 Numero Perfetto (5 Is The Perfect Number), based on Igort's internationally acclaimed graphic novel.
Thanks to his initiative, the Fondazione Officina Cinema Sud Est was set up in Italy in the winter of 2002, based on the model of the two foundations he had created and directed in the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Foundation (of which he has been vice-president until April 2004) aims to stimulate the growth of partnerships between the Italian film industry and the cinema of countries in the South and East.
He was invited in 2002 by Mario Botta to hold a History of Art course (the History of Film Styles) at the Accademia d'Architettura of the University of Southern Switzerland. His courses have now developed into the project of a Production Design Institute. At the Accademia he is currently teaching Style and Technique of Cinema, as well as teaching History of cinema at the SUPSI - University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland.
At the start of the summer of 2003, together with a group of "business angels", he set up a Swiss production company called Riforma Film (Lugano). In association with four other producers from the Ticino Canton, he has created APICE, a group of independent Italian-speaking Swiss producers. For Riforma Film, that he left in 2007, he produced Le Valli della Paura (The Valleys of Fear), the first feature film of Mihaly Gyorik.
During the course of 2003, he has organized the "Barbarano Cine Lab" project, a practical-theoretical cinema workshop whose activities have lasted from early spring 2004 until late winter 2005 at Barbarano Romano, with the support of the Lazio Region, the Province of Viterbo and the European Social Fund.
Since April 2004, he has been the Director of the Cinema section of the Venice Biennale Foundation and the Director of the Venice International Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica).
He has been awarded a number of prizes for his contribution to the discovery and the diffusion of filmmakers and cinema. The major awards in the last two years (2007-2008) include: a special Award for his longstanding promotion of Russian cinematography (Sochi, 2007), the Person of the Year award from The Centenario Foundation (Lugano, 2007), and the Arts and Culture Prize from The Japan Foundation (Tokyo, 2008).
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