Mayor of Lecce
Over the years, this has become a lovely annual event, awaited by me and all those who love authentic cinema, the kind of cinema that does not conform to commercial expectations, that often struggles to nd a place in the main- stream lm industry, but prefers – with good reason – to focus determinedly on quality. The right choice, supported by the great critical and public acclaim garnered in the past years. Therefore I am honoured to chair – once again – the European Film Festival as Mayor of its host city.
Lecce is a city of culture, symbol of an area that continues to develop thanks to the creativity of its people and the great cultural activity “nourished” by countless associations. And cinema is a fundamental expression of culture. Within that delicious mosaic of small and big events that, in the last few years, have made Lecce one of the most appreciated Italian culture and show stages, the Festival is de nitely one of the most important tesserae.
Moreover, despite not receiving any signi cant contributions apart from that of the Municipality of Lecce, this festi- val has allowed our city to be included among the international capitals of cinema, starting a virtuous cycle that grows and consolidates itself with each passing year. The European Film Festival has increasingly turned into a real showcase for young directors and a “launching pad” for forms of European cinema with di culty of access to the lm market. A reason of joy and pride at the same time.
Lastly, I am particularly pleased that this year’s edition is dedicated to Morando Morandini, who has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Festival since its birth, and an impeccable professional, who has been following this beautiful creature ever since its rst stirrings. I wish to thank, as usual, the organisers Alberto La Monica and Cristina Soldano for their insight and for the commitment and passion they put into this project every year. They have mana- ged to establish a strong and indissoluble link between the Festival and this area, bringing Lecce closer to Europe. An aspect that, in this di cult moment for the Old Continent, has an even more important meaning.
Il Festival del Cinema europeo si è trasformato sempre più in una vera e propria vetrina dei giovani registi e “trampolino di lancio” di espressioni cinematografiche europee che hanno difficoltà di accesso al mercato. Un motivo di gioia e di orgoglio nello stesso tempo. Sono particolarmente lieto, infine, che l’edizione di quest’anno sia stata dedicata a Morando Morandini, membro del Comitato dei Garanti del Festival fin dalla sua nascita, un impeccabile professionista, rimasto accanto a questa splendida creatura sin dai primi vagiti. Ringrazio, come al solito, gli organizzatori Alberto La Monica e Cristina Soldano per la loro intuizione e per l’impegno e la passione che ci mettono ogni anno. Sono riusciti a creare un legame forte e inscindibile tra il Festival e questa terra, avvicinando Lecce all’Europa. Un aspetto che in un momento delicato attraversato dal Vecchio Continente assume un significato profondo.
Assessor for Tourism and Culture of Apulia Region
The European Film Festival has turned 17. An important birthday for an extraordinary show that has been able to look far ahead and, today, has achieved its goal, which is not just the goal of a single farsighted entrepreneur, but of a whole community, a whole area. Because maybe seventeen years ago, in Lecce, it might have seemed crazy to watch a lm in another language, a Polish, French, German, Spanish, Danish lm, a lm that could never have followed the standards of mainstream distribution but rather the ‘gut instinct’ of an independent director, with wider times and scenes and dialogues more di cult to ‘digest’, but this crazy idea has given us the chance to peek at di erent customs and cultures, to visit places we would probably never have visited. Today, Lecce and we all are richer, and the European Film Festival has become a fundamental annual event, with its prestigious guests, its in-depth focus, our young authors and emerging directors who, every year, take part in the competition and present their lms. An elegant and welcoming showcase, just like our beautiful Baroque city, like the region of Apulia itself, immersed in a light and an architecture that would excite even the pickiest location manager. So we had grasped that cinema and Apulia would make a perfect pairing, and in this sense Apulia Film Commission has done an excellent job, acting as a bridge between our region and important national and international lm productions, but what realities like the European Film Festival in Lecce and the Bif&st in Bari are trying to do is just as extraordinary: making the Apulia ‘platform’ the main point of reference in this eld in Italy and Europe. De nitely an ambitious and crazy plan, but courage has already paid o and it will pay o in the future as well, if we are able not to waste any opportunity. The Apulia Region believes in this project and aims to support this growth path, certain that cinema is not only a synonym of art and culture but also of inclusion, tourism, economic development. Good luck to us, then, and many more.