SLOW FOOD ON FILM – The History
Bra, 2002 – I edition
Slow Food on Film is born
In 1996, Bra, Piedmont sees the beginning of the short film festival Corto in Bra. It soon is very well received by the public and the experts, but pays the price of being held every two years, slowing its growth. In view of its fourth edition slated for the spring of 2002, the artistic direction of the festival – Luca Busso, Luisa Grosso and Stefano Sardo – decides to relaunch it by creating a partnership with what is the most significant cultural experience in that Piedmont town: Slow Food, the great eco-gastronomic movement founded by Carlo Petrini. Spurred on by this collaboration, the festival makes room for a new international competition of theme-related short films dedicated to the love of food.
Slow Food on Film is born, the first international show of short films about food. If food is a matter of culture and identity, then cinema – even the off, effervescent and experimental one of the shorts – can and must take up the challenge and deal with it, transforming it into artistic language. The idea catches on quickly: entrants arrive from around the world (there will be sixty films archived by the festival, from nine different countries), and television and the international press show great interest in the new competition.
Uniting - in Bra – the production of the imaginary with the enogastronomic culture, short films and the love of food works for two reasons: in the first place because it is strictly “local” (thanks to Slow Food, Bra is by now one of the towns of reference for world enogastronomy) and in the second place because it is an absolute novelty in the worldwide panorama.
Television troupes from Spain, from Japan, arrive in Bra, while news of the festival appears in The Guardian, the Times of India, in short traveling round the world. The cinemas are packed, and even the dinners with “cinematographic” menus are sold out.
Of the 21 films in competition (from Italy, the USA, Great Britain, Japan, Australia, Greece, Canada, Austria and Holland) 16 are physically represented by the authors, who rushed to the festival to attend the screenings. The jury led by the great Hollywood character actor (and gourmet) Vincent Schiavelli awards the Golden Snail to “Peperoni” by Giuseppe Gagliardi, and an Honorable Mention to “Oyster Guanaca” by Sarah Cohen.
Bra, 2004 – II edition
Opens up to short documentaries
With the founding of Bracinetica, the cultural association that takes over the entire Festival management, Corto in Bra grows: 5 days of showings spread over three cinemas concurrently, five thousand spectators, 88 films in competition (from 28 countries), with a rich number of national and European previews, plus numerous special screenings, concerts, events, conferences, get togethers with the authors, 2 “cinematographic dinners”. In short, a week of non-stop, day and night events that electrifies the small Piedmontese town.
Slow Food on Film also makes good use of this new energy and in 2004 becomes a real festival-in-the-festival, with the new competition Slow Food on Film DOC dedicated to documentaries about the memory of food.
The Golden Snail for the best short goes to Systke Kok of Holland with “De Chinese Muur”. The award is given by Antonio Albanese, who leads a jury composed of Carlo Petrini and Roberto Burdese (Slow Food), Mick Hannigan (Cork Film Festival), Marco Bolasco (RaiSatGamberoRosso).
Among the documentaries to prevail is that of the Italian Antonello Carboni, author of “Voci della Montagna”, which tells of the adventures in his land of two brothers, shepherds and cheese makers. From the jury, presided over by Piero Sardo (Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity), and also made up of Gabriella Pignatelli (documentary author), Panos Nicolau (producer), Una Feely (Cork Film Festival) and Steven Kirsh (Reel Food Network), a mention for “La zuppa di zio Luigi e altre ricette”, from the Tuscan group Mannamanna, and a citation to Alessandra Speciale, for “L’acqua che non c’è”.
Great success also for the exceptional concert by some of the most well known composers of music for films: Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi, Ezio Bosso, Giovanni Venosta, Giovanni Lo Cascio and Giuseppe Napoli. They have a jam session, setting to live music the great short subjects about food from the silent film era, selected by the Cinema Museum of Turin, the Film Libraries of Milan and Bologna, and brought together in a program entitled Slow Food on Film Graffiti.
Bra, 2006 – III edition
130 short films and 90 documentaries were sent to Bra to take part in the third edition of Slow Food on Film, which is half the program of Corto in Bra 2006. The 32 shorts and 16 documentaries selected come from 24 countries worldwide (France, India, Greece, the USA, Colombia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Canada, Iran, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, Serbia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Niger, Sweden and Cuba) and are shown in the six days of screenings.
For the section Slow Food on Film - shorts the jury, presided over by Jan Kacz marek (Oscar winner 2005 for the music of Neverland) considered L’age de raison by the French woman Myriam Aziza to be the best short film of fiction in the shorts competition, awarding it the Golden Snail and a check for 2500 euros. It is the story of the young Jew Deborah, born and raised in France, wrestling with the first doubts about the precepts of her religion.
A good five special mentions by the jury: Kafe 469 by the Iranian Atefeh Khademolreza; Ohayo by Shinya Okada; Doña Ana from the Colombian Marlon Vasquez; Mi smo ono što izgubimo by the Serbian Srdjan Mitrovic; Kare kare zvako by the director from Zimbabwe Tsitsi Dangarembga. For Slow Food on Film – Doc the jury, presided over by the Californian documentarist Deborah Koons Garcia, author of The Future of Food, awarded the Golden Snail and a check for 2000 euros to the documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John by the American Taggart Siegel.
It is an epic tale by a non-conformist farmer in the American Midwest, which won many awards abroad but is presented as an absolute Italian preview in Bra. Special mention by the jury and the Silver Snail to Leben ausser kontrolle – von genfood und designerbabies by the Pole Bertram Verhaag.
After Bra, Bologna.
With edition 2006, Slow Food on Film reaches the dimensions and ambitions of a true festival, and in the artistic direction, guided by Stefano Sardo, matures the intention, together with Slow Food, to give rise to an autonomous event dedicated to a 360° audiovisual view of gastronomy. Following the enthusiastic support of the Cineteca of Bologna, this conviction leads to the project Slow Food on Film 2008, in Bologna.
T he traditional short films and documentaries, and then feature films, TV series, retrospectives, get togethers, teaching laboratories, food and wine tasting, debates. Five days packed with appointments about two great passions, cinema and food, in the heart of a land with a strong gastronomic vocation like Emilia Romagna.
7 – 11 May 2008. We're off!.