The Giffoni Film Festival 2011 experienced by local students
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Six Maltese students and a teacher participated in the Giffoni Film Festival held in Giffoni, a small village quite near Salerno in Italy. Three of these students were from Sir Michaelang Refalo Upper Lyceum of Gozo and the other three were from St. Augustine’s Boys’ Secondary School in Pieta.’ The 41st Edition of this Film Festival was held between the 12th and 21st July. The students were, Liana Agius, Sarah Jo Spiteri, Margherita Rapa, Alain Farrugia, Lawrence Long and Joseph Abela.They wrote about their trip to the The Giffoni Film Festival festival describng it “as the best children and youths’ international film festival.” The young participants are given the role of film judges. They were hosted by Italian families who provided a good opportunity to practice the language, apart from experiencing the Italian way of life. Obviously our students did their part and proudly informed their guests about the Maltese islands, the traditional food and exchanged souvenirs.
The twelve days spent there were very hectic. In the mornings, the students watched the films followed by Q&A sessions, where the films were discussed. The debates were very intense at times since most of the films selected had very serious and powerful themes, like cyber bullying and acceptance. However, the main theme in this festival was ‘LINK.’
Link, was the GFF theme for 2011. “Things are linked by invisible bonds: you cannot pick a flower without upsetting a star.”
Galilei’s words indicate the main path to the theme of the 41st edition of the Giffoni Film Festival. LINK. Link is a word that is used almost on a daily basis given that it has to do with computers and those social networks through which everyone almost completely live our lives socially nowadays.
Link also means connecting and bonding. Every aspect of our global and digital world is linked to something else. Everyone is linked by invisible threads that make borders tumble down under the weight of “linked things.”
The wish was to analyse the meaning of correspondence, network (not only from the internet’s point of view ), sharing, bridge. The main idea was to set off on a journey to discover the reasons behind the upsetting of a star following the picking of a flower. To unveil what goes behind human relationships, globalisation, the connection between things; to follow the dynamics of connecting topics which appear to be so far away at first glance ( such as a metaphor) to search for the forms of connection between emotion and sensation (in paleontology LINK is known as the joining ring).
In the afternoons, the group had the opportunity to meet and interview international and Italian movie stars, the students said that the most interesting were Hilary Swank, Edward Norton, Paolo Bonolis, Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo, Luciana Litizzetto, Govanotti and Lino Banfi. In these interviews, the groups discussed the careers of the guests and life experiences. “Meeting these famous people changed our way of thinking, especially on how we look at entertainment.”
During the evening activities they had also the chance to meet new people from around the world. “This was a priceless experience where we were able to meet people with different cultures at once,” the students said. For the first time, there were participants from Afghanistan and the local media was highly interested in this group. There were various concerts held in the evenings ranging from classical to pop concerts. They had also parties including one where each participant provided and shared food from his/her country of origin.
“Promise me that you will keep in touch with the people you meet”, said Edward Norton in his interview. We treasured these words and followed them. This experience changed our lives, and we would jump at the opportunity to go again,” said the girls.
The students gave their “special thanks go to the Giffoni Film Festival Organisers for creating such an international encounter. Thanks also to the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Valletta for their collaboration, to our Head Teachers and teachers and to our host families. This is surely an opportunity which we will never forget!”