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|THE WINNERS OF THE XV EDITION OF THE RELIGION TODAY FILM FESTIVAL
Trento, 20 October 2012
The documentary “Football is God” (by Ole Bendtzen, Denmark, 2010, doc, 53') is the winner of the Grand Prize “In the Spirit of Faith” at the XV edition of the Religion Today Film Festival. Today, 20 October 2012 at 20.30, at the Teatro San Marco in Trento the following prizes were awarded to the winners.
The international jury (composed of Farzam Amin Salehi, Roberta Cortella, Lassaad Jamoussi, Kjartan Leer Salvesen and Gilli Mendel) awarded “The Mill & the Cross” (by Lech Majewski, Sweden-Poland, 2010, film, 96') as best film; a special mention went to “Sa Gràscia” (by Bonifacio Angius, Italy, 2011, film, 73').
The Prize for best Short went to “Sister of Mine” (by Oshrat Meirovitch, Israel, 2011, short, 24'). “Football is God” also won best documentary; and in the same category a special mention went to “Gunnar goes God” (by Gunnar Hall Jensen, Norway, 2011, doc, 86').
Alongside the prizes awarded by the International Juey, the SIGNIS Jury (World Catholic Association for Communication), composed of Jenna Hill, Sandro Lafranconi and Maria Dulce Araujo Evora awarded the SIGNIS Prize to “The Pillars” (by Moustafa Zakaria, EAU, 2012, short, 16'), with a special mention going to “Football is God” and “Kaddish for a friend” (by Leo Khasin, Germany, 2011, film, 93').
WINNERS and JURY COMMENTS
Grand Prize “In the Spirit of Faith”
FOOTBALL IS GOD, by Ole Bendtzen, Denmark, 2010, doc, 53'
As the Jury members believe that cinema belongs to the common people and this documentary is deeply concerned with their lives and beliefs.
Best feature film
THE MILL & THE CROSS, by Lech Majewski, Sweden-Poland, 2010, film, 96'
For its grand narrative and picturesque style and for its profound look inside the history of the life and art of Flemish people.
SA GRÀSCIA, by Bonifacio Angius, Italy, 2011, film, 73'
Because of its nice review of the history of Italian cinema and the deep relationship Sardinian people have with religion.
SISTER OF MINE, by Oshrat Meirovitch, Israel, 2011, short, 24'
Because of its profound gaze into the life of a young woman and the prejudices around her.
FOOTBALL IS GOD, by Ole Bendtzen, Denmark, 2010, doc, 53'
Because of its new approach towards religion and its relation to common people’s lives and its cinematographical values.
GUNNAR GOES GOD, by Gunnar Hall Jensen, Norway, 2011, doc, 86'
Because of its new and curious approach towards documentary film-making.
THE PILLARS, by Moustafa Zakaria, UAE, 2012, short, 16'
For its skillful combination of cinematographic aesthetics with a theme which is both very current and somewhat problematic: that of the emancipation of women, at the same time revealing the crisis of men and the beauty of the family. All this within the framework of religious values in contrast with real life.
FOOTBALL IS GOD, by Ole Bendtzen, Denmark, 2010, doc, 53'
The director captures the instinctive need for something absolute through the unbridled enthusiasm of the documentary’s protagonists for their favourite team. Boca becomes a catalyst for the need for happiness which is ultimately a need for God to try and escape from poverty and hardship.
KADDISH FOR A FRIEND, by Leo Khasin, Germany, 2011, film, 93'
Despite many difficulties the film tries to reveal the positive things which are in all people and which enable us to live together in peace.
Province of Trento Special Jury
“Conflicts. Religions and (non)violence” Prize
DOLPHIN BOY, by Dani Menkin e Yonatan Nir, USA, 2011, doc, 72'
don Silvio Franch Interreligious Jury Trento
“Dialogue and identity” Prize
TORN, by Ronit Kerstner, Israel, 2011, doc, 72'
KADDISH FOR A FRIEND, by Leo Khasin, Germany, 2011, film, 93'
Journalists of the City of Trento Special Jury
“Religion and society” Prize
THE FURIOUS PROPHET, by David Sipos, Slovenia, 2011, doc, 20';
URBAN TUNDRA, by Robi Uppin and Maria Kivirand, Estonia, 2012, doc, 14'
Arco Special Jury
“Women, couples, religions” Prize
MOTHER INDIA, by Raffaele Brunetti, Italy, 2011, doc, 61'
THE GIFT, by Evgenij Isachenko, Belarus, 2011, short, 12'
Pergine Valsugana Youth Jury
“Religions and cinematographic styles” Prize
LIMEN (OMISSION), by Emiliano Dante, Italy, 2012, film, 93'
SA GRÀSCIA, by Bonifacio Angius, Italy, 2011, film, 73'
Fondazione Unico1 Special Jury
“Love thy neighbour” Prize
MODEST RECEPTION, by Mani Haghighi, Iran, 2012, film, 95'
Lisignago Special Jury
“Exploring the differences” Prize
MASHTI ESMAEIL, by Mahdi Zamanpoor, Iran, 2012, doc, 30';
MY AUSTRALIA, by Ami Drozd, Israel, 2011, film, 96'
Students Special Jury
“Fraternity of Nomadelfia” Prize
DAVID, by Joel Fendelman-Patrick Daly, USA, 2011, film, 90'
STAND UP! - CABARET, by Asi Tzobel, Israel, 2011, corto, 29'
|RELIGION TODAY FILM FESTIVAL: 14th EDITION (2011)
Rome, 8 June 2011
“This new generation holds the potential to help turn the tide against religious tensions, building unity to counter those who see faith as a source for division and conflict. I am very pleased that we are working with Religion Today to promote the positive face of faith and build religious literacy in the world today.”
“Competitions such as these provide the opportunity to build understanding and breakdown some of the prejudices which can surround religion across borders, on a global level.”
With these words Tony Blair welcomed the new collaboration between Religion Today and Faith Shorts, an annual short film competition aimed at young people organized by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, of which Blair is patron and founder.
This important association, with opportunities for members of the public and schools to broaden their understanding, around a selection of the best films of Faith Shorts, is one the new aspects planned for the fourteenth edition of the Religion Today Film Festival, the foremost international festival dedicated to religious cinema for promoting a mutual understanding between individuals, peoples, faiths and cultures.
The Festival (organized by the Association Bianconero) continues to “explore our differences” in the pursuit of dialogue and to focus on the new generation, as part of a broader annual project promoting a culture of dialogue and peace.
This year’s Festival will take place from 14-26 October in Trento and around the province, Rome, Milan, Bolzano and Nomadelfia (GR - Tuscany), with previews in other towns and cities such as Teggiano (SA), Bassano (VI) and Merano (BZ).
The 2011 edition renews its commitment to the quality of the films and the network of collaborations on themes which combine religious content with an important social dimension. The priorities of the Festival are those of expanding and consolidating our links with the local area and country as a whole, alongside the active participation of a wider audience through the formation of special juries, the particular attention given to different ethnic and religious groups and the workshops for both professionals in the audio-visual field as well as those less specialized.
Poverty: Problem or opportunity? is the title chosen for an edition which plans to investigate interreligious dialogue starting from a theme which is cultural, spiritual, ethical and theological at the same time. On the one hand the theme would like to highlight attitudes towards material things as viewed by different religious traditions: from poverty seen as a misfortune and heaven-sent curse, to poverty which is actively sought-after, chosen by an individual or community, as a means of truth and an absolute. Then there is poverty as a radical form of deprivation of self as practiced by certain "holy fools". On the other hand Religion Today intends to further investigate the themes of ethical commitment to combatting injustice and inequality which have widened the gap between growth and marginalization, against a background of uncertainty and lack of trust generated by the economic crisis in a society which preaches individualism, competition, accumulating wealth and achieving success at any cost.
In how many different ways can poverty be defined? And how does cinema answer this question?
These questions form the basis for the Festival in all its various forms, from the film competition to the “living workshop”, an opportunity for in-depth study and presentations to the general public and schools.
The competition is open to feature films and shorts, documentaries and reportages which must be received by 10 July 2011. A selection committee will identify the nominations for the International Jury and for special themed prizes awarded by our special juries in the various host towns and cities of the Festival. At a provincial, regional and national level, Religion Today aims to offer the public at large the chance to see high quality works from little-known foreign cinema productions, which are so rarely offered in other contexts.
The festival will kick off in TRENTO, where all the films in competition will be screened and where the International Jury – made up of 5 experts of different cultural and religious backgrounds - will be based. The Trentino regional programme will begin with a public meeting organized with Caritas Diocesana and the Fontana/Unimondo Foundation which will delve deeper into the theme of the year through the voices of the various religious communities present in the region, as well as social movements and voluntary organizations, financial bodies and public administration. In Trento, the festival will be spread over nine days of uninterrupted activities for schools, screenings and public meetings with filmmakers and experts within a wider education project on the theme of imagery and religious dialogue.
The presence of the Festival will also be felt around the Trentino region with screenings in different towns, namely Arco, Vezzano and Lisignago. In order to increase the involvement of people from the towns and villages of the Trentino valleys, during the weeks leading up to the Festival people’s juries and expert juries (journalists, immigrants, young people, women, etc.) will be set up, and who will award the special prizes to the winners during the ceremony planned for the evening of Saturday 22 October.
News for the 2011 edition: Trento will play host to the ‘living workshop’ experience involving filmmakers, producers and experts of different faiths and nationalities, with moments of sharing and getting to know each other in the spirit of “celebrating our differences”. The group work will be open to all Trentino filmmakers free of charge; in this way the Festival aims to contribute to their professional development.
Furthermore, the reflection on the role of religions in international relations will continue this year, originating from a collaboration between the Italian Ministery for Foreign Affairs – Analysis and Planning Unit, the Autonomous Province of Trento, ISPI – Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale and Religion Today Film Festival. This year work will centre on the Mediterranean with an international seminar on the theme “The new euro-Mediterranean region: the case for a post-secular dialogue” (20-21 October); the programme will include screenings within the XIV edition of the Festival.
2011 is witnessing the expansion of the Festival within Italy with new host towns and cities and prestigious partnerships.
Again this year ROME will play host to a day of in-depth study on the theme of poverty in collaboration with the Facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione Sociale of the Università Pontificia Salesiana (24 October). In the weeks following the festival, a selection of the best films in competition will be analyzed and reviewed by students, with particular emphasis on the pillars of the Faculty: young people and communication. For the first time the Festival is collaborating with the Centre Culturel Saint-Louis de France, "Institut français" in Rome and the Holy See founded in 1945 by the philosopher Jacques Maritain, on the selection of films and the organization of screenings on 24 and 26 October, as well as in-depth exploration on French and francophone cinema on a religious theme.
Religion Today 2011 will also take place in MILAN thanks to a collaboration with the Centro Francescano Culturale Artistico Rosetum which will host the screenings (19-21 October). The Festival belongs to one of the wider cultural projects of the Centre, which is a place for meetings and personal growth, through culture, sharing and dialogue.
Both NOMADELFIA and BOLZANO/BOZEN will open themselves to the special juries as an opportunity for the involvement and participation especially of young people and schools. The family groups of the community in the Grossetto province founded by don Zeno Santini will award the “Fraternity” prize, while the capital of the South Tyrol, a city famed for its multilingual and multicultural character in the heart of Europe, will see the renewed collaboration with the classes of the Istituto Salesiani Don Bosco Rainerum, who will bring their way of understanding reality in their approach to the films alongside their hopes for a world where communication means mutual understanding. For the first time, the Festival will be hosted in MERAN, thanks to the association with the Evangelical Lutheran Community.
This year also, both BASSANO, alongside the centre of Ignatian spirituality of Villa San Giuseppe, and the diocese of TEGGIANO POLICASTRO in the province of Salerno will take part in the Festival. The preview of films is part of the continuing collaboration, which began in the summer of 2008, with the nearby community of Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, as part of an ongoing project of development in line with the history and intentions of Religion Today.
|THE WINNING FILMS OF THE XIII RELIGION TODAY FILM FESTIVAL - 2010
Città del Vaticano, 20 October 2010
With the announcement of the winners of the official competition, the 13th Religion Today is coming to an end, highlighting the growth of an event which is increasingly able to represent the complexity and ongoing changes in the “global village”.
Some 57 films from 22 different countries, representing a vast panorama of religions and confession from all continents, were admitted to the XIII edition of the Religion Today Film Festival out of a total of 195 which were entered to the competition. The theme of the year, “Journeys of Faith. Journeys of Hope”, provided a stimulus intended to connect two different and apparently different ways of travelling: from pilgrimage as an experience of prayer and inner search to the migrations of peoples and individuals brought about by necessity and circumstances. Given the social dimension of this edition several films in competition showed a certain sensibility towards the theme of disability, international relations, marginalization and social exclusion.
Wednesday 20 October, in the Sala Marconi at Radio Vatican in the Vatican City, the winning films were awarded by the International Jury composed of Clementine Ederveen (Lotus Film, the Netherlands), Dror Shwartz (Jerusalem Cinemateque, Steve Warne (producer, Australia), Ahmed Zamal (director Dhaka International Film Festival, Bangladesh) and Zohreh Zamani (filmmaker, Iran).
The Grand Prize “In the Spirit of Faith” at the XIII edition of the Religion Today Film Festival was awarded to NO GREATER LOVE (Michael Whyte, UK 2009, 105 min):
A journey of faith in which we gently research the everyday life and inner sanctum of the nuns’ convent that’s notable for its restrictions on speech in the service of devotion. The sisters’ humanity is revealed and the value of inner reflection is thrown into relief. A powerful message for those of us who inhabit fast societies that militate against the possibility of wisdom and the love of God. Beautifully crafted, this almost monochromatic documentary is anything but stereotypical. An amazing achievement, given that it was also edited and shot by the director alone.
The international and inter-religious jury awarded Best Feature Film to LOURDES (Jessica Hausner, Austria/France 2009, 96 min):
A journey of faith in which a paralysed girl makes a pilgrimage to Lourdes - the French village famous for the possibility of miracle cures. Superbly directed and performed, it walks a tightrope between the celebration of the miracle of love which enables her to dance again and the question as to why a merciful God does not grant such opportunities to all.
A special mention was also given to MEKAEL (Jamshid Bahmani, Iran 2010, 75 min):
A jewel-like film in which doubting villagers long for the truth as to whether or not a mother’s son has, or has not, really returned home from a war. A mystical journey of both hope and faith, in which a mother’s love for her son keeps him alive. Reality or fantasy?
The prize for the best short film went to SALIM (Tommaso Landucci, Italy 2009, 14 min):
A heart-warming story of a young Muslim boy who escapes from the police after a robbery and seeks refuge in a Catholic church, where he spends the night. The director’s vision culminates in a touching scene in which, the next morning, the boy and a priest, unaware of each other’s presence, pray to their God.
The best documentary was awarded to IN THE SHADOW OF BUDDHA (Heather Kessinger, India/USA 2010, 46 min):
Through the ageless smile of a group of Buddhist nuns, the director takes us on a journey of faith revealing their spiritual presence. The longing of the older nuns to dedicate their lives to the teaching of the Buddha only becomes a reality through the younger generations. The film celebrates the essence of Buddhism in a scene in which sparkling young nuns debate the value of impermanence.
A special mention was awarded to OUT OF CORDOBA: AVERROES AND MAIMONIDES IN THEIR TIME AND OURS (Jacob Bender, USA/Spain 2010, 82 min):
A journey of hope, impeccably researched, in which we accompany an American Jew who is searching for historical examples of societies that have tolerated the coexistence of Muslims, Jews and Christians and encouraged intellectual and artistic collaboration. This, in the wake of September 11th 2001 and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. It explores how the Muslim and Jewish philosophers/scientists Averroes and Maimonedes developed interpretations of their faiths which welcomed interfaith dialogue and closed the doors to fundamentalists. A timely message for sure.
The SIGNIS jury (World Catholic Association for Communication), made up of Andrea Sponchiado (Italy), Margarida Ataìde (Portugal) and Dulce Araujo Evora (Capo Verde), awarded the SIGNIS Prize for the documentary ZEN AND WAR (Alexander Oey, The Netherlands 2010, 60 min), for the clear narrative and technique with which the atrocities which took place during the conflict between China Japan are brought to the fore, and the way in which the principles of Zen were oppressed by the objectives of war. A reminder of how, faced with nationalistic causes, any people can so easily become blinded by the principles of its religious faith.
a special mention went to HALAKEH (Avigail Sperber, Israel 2008, 50 min), for the way in which it captures the contrast between religious fundamentalism and a more balanced view of faith, due to the intense interpretation of the actors especially the boy.
The Nomadelfia jury awarded the “Fraternity” Prize for the documentary “When a Line of Light shines” (Shahriar Pourseyedian, Iran 2009, Islam, 19 min). A special mention went to “Sempre più in là: al cuore della Mongolia” (Carlo De Biase, Paola De Biase, Italy 2010, Catholicism, 25 min).
The 13th Religion Today Film Festival will conclude tomorrow with more screenings in Nomadelfia, Tuscany, an at the Nuovo Cinema Aquila in Rome.
Moreover Religion Today is a cultural centre open all year round to schools, organizations and associations. More international exchanges are planned from Jerusalem to Dhaka in Bangladesh, and then on to Poland in November with three days of screenings from the RT archive.
|XII RELIGION TODAY FILMFESTIVAL (2009): THE WINNERS
Rome, 21 October 2009
The winner of the Grand Prize “In the Spirit of Faith” of the XII edition of the Religion Today Film festival goes to “Diary of a Mountain Curate”. Today Wednesday 21 October the winners of the 2009 edition were announced at the Sala Marconi at Radio Vatican within the Vatican City itself.
The International and inter-religious jury also awarded the first prize to “Doubt”; the best feature film, the best short film to the Iranian production “God Sees”; the best documentary went to “Leaving the Fold”. Given the out standing quality of the documentary section, the jury decided to award three special mentions.
Today, during the awards ceremony, the Director of Religion Today Katia Malatesta reminded those listening of the Film Festival’s commitment to developing quality cinema, one which bears fitness to the complexity of different religions and the wealth of experiences of faith or getting to know our neighbours within the broader context of the problems and challenges of modern society.
Present at the awards ceremony were, amongst others, Luigi Bressan, the Archbishop of Trento and Franco Panizza, the Councillor for Cultural Activities of the Autonomous Province of Trento. Both highlighted the importance of the Film Festival as a platform for dialogue and sharing between different religions and cultures, with a focus on Religion Today’s path of continuous growth from its humble beginnings to a well-established international dimension.
This year’s theme, “Born from Above. New Life in Faith” invites us all to reflect on religious feeling as something alive and life-giving in the present day. Religion Today 2009 purposely dedicated particular attention to the world of young people, choosing films which document the search for new languages and strategies of communication especially for tomorrow’s adults.
Some 57 films were admitted to the cinematographic competition this year; they included works from all 5 continents and represented a wide-ranging panorama of different faiths. The internaitonal jury comprised Paola Pannicelli (a Rai Fiction producer), Mordechai Vardi (director of the Screenwriting Department of the Ma’ale Film School), Iouri Goroulev (director of the Belarus Film Festival Magnificat), Lassaad Jamoussi (screenwriter and teacher at the University of Sfax) and Ali Vazirian (filmmaker and artist, winner of Religion Today 2008).
This year a special prize has again been awarded by a SIGNIS jury (World Catholic Association for Communication), composed of Serge Goriely (director and teacher at the Centre d'études théâtrales Université catholique de Louvain), Alessandro Minestrini (artistic director Film Festival Popoli e Religioni), and Samuel Olusegun Job (Università Pontificia Salesiana); other prizes were awarded by the special juries in the cities of the Festival.
RELIGION TODAY AWARD "IN THE SPIRIT OF FAITH"
'Diario di un curato di montagna' (Diary of a Moutain Curate), Stefano Saverioni, Italy
By connecting the theme of service to the Church in a small corner of the world to that of a spiritual search through artistic creation, this documentary, with its imagery and bright colours, creates a highly aesthetic visual atmosphere.
BEST SHORT FILM
'God sees', Reza Jamali, Iran
The gentle style of filming, the provocation of the ironic and sometimes comic tone, do not detract from the power of this short film’s theme. Forgiveness and asking for forgiveness, remains at the forefront for the spectator, who is inevitably drawn in by the simple yet dramatic story of the leading character.
'Doubt', John Patrick Shanley, USA
For its evident cinematographic quality, supported by outstanding acting; for its balanced mise en scène; for the screenplay and narration in which compassion and mercy on the one hand are paired with strictness and austerity, creating a constant dramatic tension rich in emotions.
'Leaving the Fold', Eric Scott, Canada
An extraordinary documentary which fully exploits the expressive possibilities of story-telling through images. The rhythm unfolds via the scansion of the narrative structure, which is both meticulous and attentive to the principles of cinematography. A moving testimony which draws you in despite the distance between the author and the protagonists.
- 'A Nun’s new Habit', Robyn Hughan, Australia
- 'Her Mate’s Boyfriend', Przemek Mlynczyk, Poland
- 'New Muslim Cool', Jennifer Taylor, USA
Three works which highlight the constant search for meaning, focusing on social change and the virtue of knowledge. The camera accompanies the protagonists on life’s sometimes uncertain journey; taking us back to the extraordinary story of conversion and faith. The style and language highlight the relationship between the author and the protagonists, a worthwhile and necessary choice for transmitting emotions.
'Family on the Edge', Gilad Goldschmidt, Israel
On the basis of a family experience that could look anecdotical, the director manages to evoke metaphorically the mystery of the spiritual challenge of a community. With intelligence, originality and humour, he tackles successfully a present issue and underlines the values of unity and respect in family life, of endurance in the face of basic challenges and of acceptance of one's limits.
SIGNIS SPECIAL MENTION
'Every Night, Loneliness', Rasoul Sadrameli, Iran
With a true sensibility and a high sense of cinematographical language, the film recounts the struggle of a couple trying to escape despair. It points out the importance of the quest as such and also the need of the gift to the other. The final result of the film helps us to reflect on human fragility and our capacity to respond when confronted with adversity.
BEST TELEVISION FILM
'Gevald!', Yohai Hakak e Ron Ofer, Israel
YOUNG PEOPLE AND COMMUNICATION
Special jury of students from the FSC Università Pontificia Salesiana
'Every Night, Loneliness', Rasoul Sadrameli
JOURNEYS OF FAITH
Special Jury Friends of Amici di Religion Today
'Imparare dal mondo', Silvio Cattani, Italy
PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Special Jury from Lisignago
'Music Box', Farzad Motamen, Iran
Special Jury from Valle dei Laghi – Massimo Prevedello
'Anelito di pace. Ritratto di Don Tonino Bello', Sergio Spina, Italy
RITES AND BELIEFS
Special Jury from the Nomadelfia Fraternity
'The sacred Dancer', Diego D’Innocenzo, Italy
Special Jury from Trentino-Alto Adige/Suedtirol
'Leaving the Fold', Eric Scott, Canada
RELIGION AND SOCIETY
Special Jury of journalists from Trento
'Zen’s way', Law Suk Yi, Hong Kong
Inter-religious dialogue jury from Trento - Don Silvio Franch
'Across the River', Abbas Armadi Motlagh, Iran
BORN FROM ABOVE
Special Jury of young people from Trento
'New Muslim Cool', Jennifer Taylor, USA
|12th RELIGION TODAY FILMFESTIVAL
Trento, 6 October 2009
Just over a week to go before the XII edition of the Religion Today Film Festival kicks off, from 14 to 24 October in the city of Trento and the surrounding province and also Rome, Bolzano, Bassano (Vi) and Nomadelfia (Gr).
Since its beginnings in 1997, Religion Today has been the first itinerant festival dedicated to the cinema of religion towards a culture of dialogue and peace. The latest edition confirms the long-lasting commitment to enhancing quality cinema, one which bears witness to the complexity of different religions and the wealth of experiences of faith or encounters with others within the context of the challenges and problems of modern life.
This year’s theme, “Born from Above. New Life in Faith”, invites us to reflect on religion as something alive and life-giving. Religion Today 2009 has deliberately chosen to focus on the world of young people, through a selection of films which testify to the search for new languages and means of communication especially those of tomorrow’s adults. During the mornings dedicated to schools in Trento, Bolzano and Vezzano, further screenings will also be held in the Trentino capital town for families and young people, as we are convinced that widening our knowledge of the religious dimension, leaving aside individual stances, can provide a novel insight into daily life and relations with other people and the community at large.
In this light, the Film Festival sees itself as a journey of discovery “exploring the differences” which no logic of ‘easy’ dialogue can ignore or deliberately suppress.
Building on its presence in the local provincial area, and at the same time on a national and international scale, Religion Today seeks to offer the public the widest chance of viewing works from far-flung cinema productions or those least known and rarely available in other contexts. The wealth of different religions is mediated also by fringe events, study seminars and meetings with international guests.
Some 57 films have been admitted to the cinematic competition, which includes feature films, documentaries, shorts and television reportages from every continent and which represent a vast panorama of different religious faiths.
The International Jury - this year made up of Paola Pannicelli (Rai Fiction producer), Mordechai Vardi (director of the Department of Screenwriting of the Ma’ale Film School), Iouri Goroulev (director of the Belarus Magnificat Film Festival), Lassaad Jamoussi (screenwriter and teacher at the University of Sfax) and Ali Vazirian (director and visual artist, winner of Religion Today 2008) - will award the prizes according to category and the grand prize Religion Today “In the Spirit of Faith”.
This year a special prize will again be awarded by SIGNIS along with further themed prizes for “Religions on the small screen” and the sections Born from Above, Inter-religious Dialogue, Journeys of Faith, Parents and children, Young People and Communication, Complex Identities, Religion and Society, Rites and Beliefs and Portraits.
AROUND AND ABOUT
Trento and Vezzano (15-24 October)
The Trentino capital town will play host to the official opening of the Festival, scheduled for the evening of Thursday 15 October at the San Marco Theatre. It was right here in Trento in 1997 that Religion Today began as an expression of an region which has always believed in the comparison of cultures and religions.
Over the ten days of screenings in Trento, the work of the International Jury will also take place at the same time and the Final Awards Ceremony will be held at the Castello del Buonconsiglio.
Among the special fringe events there will be a seminar in collaboration with the Fondazione S. Ignazio and a retrospective with CINIT – Italian Cineforum. A special section will be dedicated to short films made by young people from over 20 Brazilian states as part of a collaboration between Trento and Brazil.
A special ‘city jury’ - this year for the first time made up of representatives of different cultures and religions present in the Trentino area, will award the prize for inter-religious dialogue dedicated to Don Silvio Franch. As in 2008, a representative of Trentino journalists will award the prize for the best interpretation of the complex relationship between “Religion and Society”. The festival’s ties with local towns is consolidated with screenings in Vezzano throughought the entire day of Thursday 22 October; the increasing participation of the Trentino valleys is confirmed by the special juries formed in Lisignago and in the Valle dei Laghi for the sections “Parents and children” and “Portraits”.
Rome (19-21 October)
This year Rome will again host the Living Workshop for filmmakers and experts in the world of cinema and the audiovisual field, all from different countries and faiths. From Monday 19 October for three days will be dedicated to communication and cultural exchange with moments of sharing both meals and prayers, each according to his/her own faith.
On the second day all present will take part in a study seminar on the theme: “Communicating God in cinema”, organized in collaboration with the Facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione sociale della Università Pontificia Salesiana in Rome. That evening a jury of students from the faculty will award the special prize “Young people and communication”.
Finally, for the third year running, the Workshop will end with the announcement of the winners and the prize ceremony at Radio Vatican.
Bolzano (16, 23 October)
Bolzano, a city with a strong multilingual and multicultural identity, in the heart of Europe, expresses one of the main aims of the Festival: encouraging meetings and comparisons between different cultural and religious identities with the highest respect, both in form and substance, of their right to be different. In the South Tyrolean capital at the Teatro Cristallo, the Festival films will be offered to the public and schools with subtitles and/or voice over in Italian and German.
Bassano (14 October, 20-22 November)
Bassano will host the preview of screenings planned at the centre of spirituality at Villa San Giuseppe. In the month of November, in collaboration with Religion Today an in-depth course of screenings will continue on “Art and Spirituality: going from the language of cinema to the biblical source”, starting from two films on the theme of the wise men’s journey.
Nomadelfia (22 October)
There is a long-established relationship between Religion Today and the community of Nomadelfia, founded by don Zeno Santini on the “law of fraternity”. The collaboration with Nomadelfia will include meetings and screenings dedicated to young people and family groups; a special Nomadelfia jury will award the “Fraternity” prize.
Since summer 2008 Religion Today has been present also in Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, in the province of Salerno in the natural setting of the Cilento National Park. The experience proved the wish to continue along the way of meetings and exchanges which from Sant’Angelo will reach out to the nearby communities of the Diocese of Teggiano Policastro, according to an ongoing project in line with the history and aims of Religion Today.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COLLABORATIONS
Religion Today’s journey has always been defined by its relations with other festivals, organizations and cultural and spiritual institutions which share the same ideas of encounters and dialogue.
Throughout its history Religion Today has touched base in numerous Italian cities and further afield, amongst which Trento, Rome, Milan, Bologna, Bolzano/Bozen, Nomadelfia, Ferrara, Sant'Angelo a Fasanella, Bassano, Jerusalem, London, Teheran, Dhaka, San Paolo Brazil, Minsk, Deir Mar Musa Syria.
A consolidated friendship involving exchanges of films and shared projects links the experiences of Religion Today and a similar Brazilian festival “Looking at the Sacred”.
In November 2009 Religion Today will take part in the project “Dialoghi in cammino” (Dialogue along the way), promoted by the Autonomous Province of Trento with the aim of encouraging an atmosphere of respect and integration between peoples of different cultures and religions present within the region. Through screenings and meetings with international guests, the festival will contribute to the setting up of an interreligious group of young Trentini people, who will take part in a journey to Syria along Abraham’s Path.
In December, the festival will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its collaboration with the Jerusalem Cinemateque opening a window onto other religions within the Jewish Film Festival. The activities and relations will be extended to Palesatine; among the events planned is one with sufi leader Abdul Aziz Bukhari, already a guest of the festival, for a project of dialogue which will involve groups of young Muslims and Jews along with some of their peers from Trentino (Children of Abraham).
The eleventh edition of the Dhaka International Film Festival, organized every two years in the capital city Bangladesh, will dedicate space to Religion Today’s films in Januray 2010 with a special section dedicated to spiritual cinema.
Over the last three years Religion Today has been a member of SIGNIS, the worldwide Catholic organization for communication which brings together professionals of cinema and mass media from 140 countries. The festival collaborates with the Paoline (Pauline Sisters) on the selection of films for international distribution. Since spring 2009 a new important collaboration has begun in the Trentino region as the Bianconero Association which is responsible for organizing the festival became part of the Fondazione S. Ignazio.
CENTRE OF CULTURE AND ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOLS
2009 witnessed the re-organization of Religion Today as a centre for cultural activities all year round. The Trento office remains open every morning to enable schools, university students, Town Councils, parishes and associations to have access to the vast archive, which contains over 1000 films from different countries and religious faiths. Throughout the year the Festival offers advise to local schools and organizes meetings; teachers may make use of different “student kits”, which include worksheets for teaching activities for classroom use in conjunction with films.
Rome, May 19th 2009
An “exploration of our differences” through the medium of cinema in order to arrive at a mutual understanding between various cultures and the different ways these are seen. This is the renewed commitment of the 2009 edition of the Religion Today Film Festival. Originating in 1997, Religion Today is the first itinerant festival dedicated to the cinema of religion. As a cinematographic competition Religion Today aims to create an occasion for discussion and sharing experiences on an international scale, on the technique, theory and poetry of spiritual cinema. Through the "Living workshop”, which experts and people working in the field of cinema of different faiths and nationalities take part in, the Festival offers the ideal opportunity for a meeting place which values our differences, in order to go from “a culture of indifference to celebrating our differences” (don Tonino Bello). Every year dozens of filmmakers, actors and people working in the field of culture are welcomed into a residential centre and spend the days of the festival sharing moments of reflection, prayer - each according to his/her own faith - and mealtimes. Due to the numerous places hosting the festival at provincial, national and international level, we are able to reach out to a wide-ranging public, offering them the chance to see works from faraway and little-known film industries which are rarely available in other contexts. The wealth of different religions is also presented to the public and students who are given the chance to meet people involved in inter-religious dialogue face to face. Furthermore, as part of the Festival, in-depth study seminars, events, performances and educational programmes for schools are organized.
This year the Festival will take place from 14 and 24 October in the city of Trento and around the province, Rome, Bolzano, Bassano (Vi) and Nomadelfia (Gr). The official opening of the competition will take place in Trento, where the International and Inter-religious Jury will meet.
There are four sections to the competition: feature films, documentaries, shorts and television reportages. The themes chosen for this edition are: the religious dimension today, relations between religions, witnesses of religious experiences, religious ethnography and anthropology, traces of the sacred in history and the theme of the year “Rebirth from above. New life in faith”. This year’s theme highlights both the moment of conversion and rites of passage of each and every religion.
The Festival Jury will award the following prizes: the Religion Today Prize “In the Spirit of the Faith”, Best Feature Film, Best Documentary and Best Short Film. The following special themed prizes will also be awarded in collaboration with Bodies and Foundations connected to the Festival: Signis, Inter-religious Dialogue, Religions on the “Small Screen”, etc. One new aspect of this edition is the Jury of Emigrants, made up of representatives of different cultures and religions who live in the Trentino region.
Among the highlights of this edition are the poster designed and donated by the Iranian artists Ali Vazirian, who also designed the 2008 poster and Festival logo.
Over the last few weeks, 2 months before the deadline, over 50 films have already been submitted from Italy, Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Poland, India, Turkey, Sudan, Austria, Spain, the United States and Australia. The deadline for submitting both application forms and films to the competition is 10 July 2009. All material should be sent to Religion Today, Via Santa Croce, 63, 38100 Trento - Italy.
THE FESTIVAL SITES
Trento and province (15-24 October)
In Trento, apart from the screenings, the work of the international jury and the final awards ceremony will take place. It was right here in Trento in 1997 that Religion Today was born, as an expression of a region that has always believed in comparison between cultures and religions. It is not by chance that the city’s special jury awards the prize for inter-religious dialogue dedicated to don Silvio Franch, a man at the heart of dialogue between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Protestantism, according to the mandate by Paul VI to the Trentino Church entrusted with the job of being a catalyst for meeting and reconciliation.
Rome (19-21 October)
Again this year Rome will be the host city for the “Living Workshop”, which will take place at the Centro Giovanni XXIII in Frascati: from Monday 19 October three days will be dedicated to communication and cultural exchange between filmmakers, festival directors, cinema critics and producers, and also actors and technicians working in this field.
Bolzano (16, 23 October)
Bolzano, a city of strong multi-lingual and multi-cultural identity in the heart of Europe, embodies one of the main objectives of the Festival: to facilitate bringing together and making comparisons between different cultural and religious identities with the greatest respect, in form and substance, for their right to cultivate their specific peculiarities. In the capital of the South Tyrol, in the Teatro Cristallo, the Festival films will be screened with subtitles and/or voice over in Italian and German.
Bassano (14 October, 20-22 November)
Bassano will host the previews of film screenings programmed at the ‘centro di spiritualità ignaziana’ at Villa San Giuseppe. In the month of November the collaboration with Religion Today will continue with an in-depth study course on “Art and Spirituality: a journey from the language of cinema to the Biblical source”, starting with two films on the theme of the journey of the wise men.
Nomadelfia (22 October)
There is a strong relationship between Religion Today and Nomadelfia, the community near Grossetto founded by don Zeno Santini on the “law of fraternity”. The collaboration with Nomadelfia continues with meetings and screenings dedicated above all to young people and schools; the special Nomadelfia jury will award the “Fraternity” prize.
Sant’Angelo a Fasanella (August 2010)
The Festival will officially end at Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, in the province of Salerno, in summer 2010. Here a large group of young people will be involved in both the hospitality and technical running of the event held in the church hall spaces of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Convent of San Francesco. The town will host the works of two people’s juries according to age group with over 50 members from 8 to 30 years old and from 31 to over 80.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COLLABORATIONS
Religion Today has always been characterized by its relations with other festivals, Institutions and cultural and spiritual bodies which share the same culture of dialogue and peace. During its history Religion Today has touched different places in Italy and the world, such as Trento, Rome, Milan, Bologna, Bolzano/Bozen, Nomadelfia, Ferrara, Sant'Angelo a Fasanella, Bassano, Jerusalem, London, Teheran, Dhaka, San Paolo Brazil, Deir Mar Musa-Siria. Between November 2009 and January 2010 the winning films of Religion Today will stop-over at the following places on its travels abroad, in Syria, in Jerusalem and in Bangladesh. This year the international network of collaborations is extended to Montevideo in Uruguay.
For two years Religion Today has been a member of SIGNIS, a World Catholic Association for communication which brings together cinema and mass media professionals from 140 countries. A new important collaboration began here in Trentino during the spring of 2009: the S.Ignazio Foundation, which aims to promote and sustain the 80-year-old activity of Villa S. Ignazio for the growth of the "individual", in a global vision of his material, cultural, spiritual and relationship needs. The Association Bianconero which organizes the Festival has been accepted into the S.Ignazio Foundation.
Collaboration with the Università Pontificia Salesiana (press release in press folder)
This year the Religion Today Film Festival will again collaborate with the Facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione sociale (FSC) of the Università Pontificia Salesiana in Rome. A whole day will be dedicated to the study of the representation of finding God with a particular emphasis on the theme of this year’s festival. Moreover, a jury made up of university students will award a special prize based on the important aspects of the Faculty, namely: young people and communication.
Dialogues along the way (press release in press folder)
Enabling the transition from multiculturalism to inter-culture in the Trentino region. It is from this idea that Religion Today’s commitment to the provincial project “Dialogues along the way” came about. The Festival will contribute to the formation of a group of young Trentini people who will take part in a journey to the Middle East following the footsteps of Abraham. The overall aim is to promote respect and integration between the different cultures and religions present in the Trentino region, as a sign of peaceful civil coexistence.
Collaboration with the Pauline Sisters (press release in press folder)
This year the collaboration between the Pauline Sisters and Religion Today has grown as a result of the participation of a Pauline nun as a member of the selection committee which analyses and chooses the films for the XII edition of the competition. “Paoline Editrice” (publishers) will also exploit the collaboration with Religion Today in its search for productions to purchase and sell as home-videos in the 53 nations where they operate.
CENTRE OF CULTURE AND ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOLS
The first months of 2009 have shaped the profile of Religion Today as a cultural centre active all year round. The Trento office is open each morning to meet the requests of the ever-increasing interest on the part of schools, university students, town councils, parishes and associations. The Festival archive numbers over 1000 titles from five continents. The different religions represented are just as varied: ranging from Judaism in all its forms, Christianity of the Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic traditions, Sunni and Shiite Islam, Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism and great stories of inter-religious dialogue.
This year there has been intense interest on the part of schools in the Trentino region. At the 2009 meetings some 380 students from 13 classes have already participated. Furthermore, Religion Today has a “student kit” for schools which includes films and worksheets for follow-up activities organised by teachers.
|Conclusion of Religion Today 2008
Trento, 31st October 2008
The third and final week of Religion Today came to a happy end today, summing up the positive communicative experiences lived since the opening of the festival on 16th October. The international and inter-denominational jury which met in Trento, the participation of primary and secondary schools all over Italy, the living workshop at Celio in Rome, the hospitality offered by the Nomadelfia fraternity and the close family-like collaboration of staff members are the result of the long-standing work in progress which lead to the 11th edition of the film festival.
After the ceremony in Rome on Thursday the festival continued in Trento, Bolzano and Nomadelfia (province of Grosseto). The morning saw the participation of local students followed by public screenings in the afternoon and evening - the Teatro Cristallo in Bolzano showed the winning feature film of Religion Today 2008 "A Span of Heaven” by Ali Vazirian; the day continued with a comparison between representatives of local religious groups on the theme of integration in the “Garden of Religions”, coordinated by RT Bolzano in the person of Mario Gretter, local Diocese delegate for inter-religious dialogue. The evening opened with the awarding of the special prize “Bolzano/Caritas – Religion and integration" to the Israeli filmmaker Asaf Shahar, director of the documentary "Path of our fathers" which sums up the big questions about religion, family, relations between Arabs and Jews through an intense pilgrimage along the roads of Galilee and beyond.
The same evening Religion Today offered the public in Trentino the chance to see some of the winning films. After the much applauded Israeli documentary "You never know: Shlomo Carlebach", the Cinema San Marco screened the Grand Prize in the Spirit of the Faith: "A Span of Heaven", in the presence of the Iranian director Ali Vazirian.
Friday saw the final screenings in Trentino and the award ceremony under the frescoes of the 15th century dining hall in the Castello del Buonconsiglio.
The evening, presented by the journalist Alberto Folgheraiter, opened with a performance by the Choir of the Trentino section of the National Association of Alpine Troops and with greetings from the Archbishop of Trento Mons. Luigi Bressan to a festival which is «getting stronger and becoming more international, which began like a little tree but has managed to grow into a forest capable of representing many different voices». According to Mons. Bressan «Religion Today lies at the heart of that which contributes to cooperating as part of one large family of mankind».
The Archbishop then awarded the special prize “The face of the other”, conferred by the special jury in Trento – don Tonino Bello, to the director Ali Vazirian for his film “A Span of Heaven”, a world preview at Religion Today 2008. Vazirian said that RT «is the only festival, born in Italy but continuing to grow all over the world like a tree bearing fruit, which has managed to weave together a network from one heart to the other and from one mind to another, from Islam to Judaism, from Hinduism to Buddhism and Christianity».
Alessandro Martinelli, director of the Diocesan Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue then awarded the prize for the special jury in Trento – don Silvio Franch, the prize for Dialogue between religions to the film by Mohamed Ismail “Goodbye mothers” (Morocco).
The “Portraits” prize of the special jury in Trento - in the name of Massimo Prevedello was awarded by the late filmmaker’s daughter to the courageous Chiara M., protagonist of “A meeting with Chiara” by Cinzia Th Torrini (Italy).
Gianluigi Bozza, head of Cultural Activities of the Autonomous Province of Trento, awarded the prize for “Religion and Society” in his capacity as president of the special jury made of of journalists of the city of Trento (also including Katia Bernardi, Toni Cembran, Elena Fontana, Giorgio Lacchin, Lorenzo Lucianer, Sandra Matuella and Marco Pontoni) to the Iranian filmmaker Bahram Tavakoli for his feature film “Barefoot in Heaven”, which «by means of an effective and modern expressive language spontaneously captures such complex themes as the profound meaning and fragility of any vocation which seeks the reasons for its existence in this world, confronted by cultural and moral prejudices and by the fear which accompanies every form of unconditional love for others».
The jury made up of journalists also awarded the documentary “Don Milani” by Elisabetta Castana: «which offers a fundamental reflection on the importance of education as a form of human and civil growth whose diffusion can represent liberation and can offer all new generations the chance of a better and richer future open to the world».
A second special mention went to the short film “Prayer” by Ziya Shikhlinsky: «which through the prayers of various religions present in a land praying for the victims of the bloodshed of Koahjali, in different places of worship, a spirit of tolerance and understanding emerges which is a sign of hope for the future of many religions in a globalized world».
The artistic director of the Festival Lia G. Beltrami gave special thanks to the filmmaker Yoko Matsui, who came especially from Japan on behalf of her husband, the director of the documentary “Sakthi Dancers and Sister Chandra”.
Finally, in Tione there was a special screening of the film “Goodbye Mothers” for the Arab speaking community with the filmmaker Mohamed Ismail.
The main festival events are over but new appointments have been made which will provide further opportunities for cementing intercultural ties which are increasingly important: Religion Today and the Association Friends of Religion Today may be contacted for special screenings both at the Religion Today headquarters and in school or public halls equipped for showing films.
|Religion Today in Trento
Trento, Thursday 5 June 2008
In October Trentino will again be enriched by Religion Today, the film festival which brings the somewhat delicate subject of inter-religious dialogue to international attention. This year’s programme was presented today at a press conference in Trento itself, where screenings for high school classes will begin the morning of Friday 17 October at the Auditorium Santa Chiara and will continue over Friday 24, Saturday 25 and Thursday 30 October. There will be two most important appointments: firstly Saturday 18 October, when Sheik Abdul Aziz Bukari (one of the festival’s most ardent supporters flying in directly from Jerusalem), will take part in a public meeting thanks to the cooperation of the Municipality of Trento and an association of local religious groups. Secondly, Friday 31 October: the closing ceremony of the whole festival at which the Special Prizes will be awarded in the setting of the Castello del Buonconsiglio. The city of Bolzano will again take part in Religion Today with three days of screenings of chosen works at the Teatro Cristallo on Thursday 16, 23 and 30 October. The Special Prize “Women and Religion” will be awarded there (Thursday 30 October).
RT has organised the first competition for schools in Trentino Alto Adige on this year’s theme of “The face of the other”. So great was the interest on the part of elementary and secondary schools that this competition will undoubtedly be repeated in forthcoming editions. The theme will be announced in November and the deadline for taking part will be 15 May 2009. This year’s competition was divided into poetry, drawing and story boards, and the winning schools were: Arcivescovile and Sacro Cuore of Trento, the elementary schools of Aldeno and De Amicis of Merano, the Marcelline elementary school, Carducci High School and e Istituto Chini of Bolzano. Many of the younger and older winners were present at the press conference accompanied by parents and teachers (see attachment for the complete list), where the authorities presented them with a certificate and a trophy. Furthermore, the first prizes in the drawing category will soon see their designs printed on postcards. Those who were unable to attend will be able to take part in the festival in October, both in Trento and Bolzano, when the winning designs will be published in the official festival catalogue.
On the subject of competitions for young people, a new idea is that of instigating a national competition for short audio-visual works which will be used for the opening titles of the evening screenings. RT 2008 will be screened in the following cities Trento, Bolzano/Bozen, Ferrara, Nomadelfia (Grosseto) and Rome. Divided into two categories: under 15 and under 20, these short broadcasts made by young people and sent to RT by 15 September will be evaluated by a jury of teenagers from Nomadelfia.
Last Thursday there was significant interest in the press conference held in Rome. The artistic director Lia Beltrami emphasised the importance of the beginnings of RT in Trento, whose Town Council has supported the festival over the years. Councillor for culture, Lucia Maestri and the Coordinator of the Association for local religious groups, Alessandro Martinelli, took part in the prize ceremony for the school competition. Also present were the president of the Centro Culturale Santa Chiara, Giancarlo Fait, and Gianluigi Bozza, head of cultural activities in the Province of Trento.
From the Association “Friends of Religion Today”, the idea of promoting travel was developed, in collaboration with the travel agent’s “East West Tours” of Trento: The journeys which come about as a result of RT: people and cinema following in the footsteps of the festival offer an occasion «for getting to know other people, religions and cultures. To see things for yourself. To meet others face to face. To experience lifestyles and civilizations that have existed for thousands of years. To explore the sites and themes of faraway places as captured on film», declared Katia Malatesta who represented the association. The first dates are sure: from 25 April to 2 May 2009 the first experience in Iran and from 29 September to 4 October in Syria, where the living workshop between filmmakers and cinema experts of different faiths and nationalities will take place. The latter is one of the highlights of the whole Religion Today programme which thus demonstrates how to follow the path of genuine cultural exchange whilst maintaining one’s own faith and the vocation of spreading information freely on the world’s great religions.
Religion Today Film Festival
via Santa Croce, 63 - 38100 Trento
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