Paolo Perrone – Mayor of Lecce
I am particularly excited to present, this year, the eighteenth edition of the European Film Festival of Lecce. Because I feel as if the festival were partly “mine”, considering how I have been following it step by step ever since the beginning of my work in the city administration, leading it along its growth path and supporting it since when I was elected mayor in 2007.
I did that as a mayor who believes and has much invested in Culture – of which cinema is a fundamental expression – seen as a driving force for the economy and a framework upon which to build a credible and enduring model of development, an alternative to other, destructive models we have seen in force in local realities that are not so far from us. And I can proudly say that I was right when, some years ago, I predicted that the Festival would become “the” prestigious lm event in Puglia.
Evidence of this is provided by the facts, by the demonstrations of esteem and appreciation, the result of an event whose main strength is quality. And this trend is con rmed by the eighteenth edition. One of its protagonists is the great Totò, to whom the Festival will pay tribute on the occasion of the ftieth anniversary of his death with the world premiere of the restored version of the lm Chi si ferma è perduto by Sergio Corbucci. As usual, the festival will also be an opportunity to learn more about some of the greatest European lm directors, namely Stephen Frears, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Agnieszka Holland.
In conclusion, this is a must-see event for lm enthusiasts or not, once again a means of promotion for the city of Lecce and this wonderful area, whose opportunities have been constantly increasing thanks to cinema, making it a launching pad for lmmakers, cameramen and other professionals in this eld. A virtuous path that is developing and strengthening with each passing year. For all these reasons, I will never stop thanking the festival directors Alberto La Monica and Cristina Soldano for their insight and for the commitment and passion they put into this project every year.
Loredana Capone – Assessor for Tourism and Culture of Apulia Region
A festival is judged by its program. By its ability to provide an overview of the cinema of the present time without forgetting that it has a past. But also by its ability to let us catch a glimpse of the future. But this festival also has, as suggested by its name, a geographical connotation that is so precious in a time when the very concept of Europe is being questioned. Cinema has described this identity crisis, helping remind us that there is a feeling of belonging to Europe that rises above its institutional crises and will never die, because it is rooted in culture and art.
The lms in competition, the themed sections, the numerous guests, the side events, the strengthened collaboration with the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematogra a and with the several lm, critics’ and authors’ associations, the wonderful relationship with the Verdone family, make the Festival and the city of Lecce an essential location for Italian and European cinema. The strong propensity of this area towards lmmaking has inevitably led to set up a series of festivals. But we do not want the Festival to be just a brief, though beautiful, interlude. The Cinelab workshop, dedicated to Giuseppe Bertolucci and recently inaugurated at the Cineporto in Lecce, has been established with the aim of capitalizing on the e orts put in the organization of the festival and taking advantage of its positive impact on the audience and the city over a longer period of time. The support to festivals, through Apulia Film Commission, is an essential part of the cultural policy of Puglia Region. But the importance of Festivals is not limited to the cultural aspect. Their presence has an e ect on the storytelling of places, on how they are perceived and experienced within the global system of relationships. Through its festivals, Puglia speaks to the world. And the story it wants to tell is one of beauty. Not a magazine-cover beauty, but one that stems from the know-how of a people, from their gentleness, their readiness to listen to others and welcome them, their love for the area they live in, and their ability to show this love to the world through their extraordinary artistic and environmental heritage on which cinema has laid its magical eyes.