Chair of Apulia Film Commission Foundation
The 21st edition of the European Film Festival was born in the sign of a desirable renaissance of cinema. An already tried and tested challenge for Apulia Region and the Apulia Film Commission Foundation, which, respecting with great firmness and effectiveness the post-lockdown Covid-19 safety regulations, has organised most of the festivals of the Apulia Cinefestival Network circuit produced by Apulia Film Commission. In parallel with the festivals, the Foundation has managed to implement other initiatives related to the film industry in order to give a positive signal to a sector that, in these very weeks, is experiencing a sort of “spring of cinema” thanks to the many productions scattered across the Region.Apulia is thus trying to make its contribution to the audiovisual world, which is one of the work sectors most affected by the health emergency. A film set, in fact, is a big team, and everyone, in his or her specificity, is indispensable for the collective work and final result of each production, and the set therefore becomes one of the places in which it is most difficult to guarantee work in complete safety. But, in spite of everything, the Apulian cinema seems to have reached the awareness that, scrupulously respecting all the health measures, it can start living and imagining again. Another fundamental component of cinema are festivals, which are the moment when cinema reflects on itself and, perhaps, reaches the peak of its creativity together with the audience and critics. From this point of view, the European Film Festival is one of the certainties and elements of continuity for Apulia and Apulia Film Commission. I wish to thank all those who, just like a team on a film set, with efficiency and professionalism, have worked on this important film culture event.
Mayor of Lecce
The twenty-first edition of the European Film Festival is taking place in the most difficult year ever for cinemas. The pandemic has put the film production chain to the test, with dramatic effects on the field, preventing people from going to cinemas for many months. Now, as I am writing this contribution to the catalogue, cinemas are again able to welcome viewers, albeit in lower numbers, respecting distancing and the other health and hygiene precautions. A call to responsibility that has found the cinema operators of Lecce ready, cooperative, efficient and scrupulous. I want to thank them for that, taking advantage of this space. The Festival too will have to deal with the effects of the period we are going through. The idea of experiencing a world pandemic would have seemed to us, until a few months ago, just the dystopian setting of a dramatic film. Instead, it is a tragic reality that teaches us, as has already happened many times over this first quarter of the century, that the emergence of the unusual, the unthinkable, the unexpected, is a usual and recurring element in the history of humankind. And films, after all, are also a way for us to remember that. In conclusion, I would like to underline that Lecce is a city where investment in film culture is present, with both summer and winter events supported by public institutions that allow people to enjoy and become passionate about this art. It is a city in which films and documentaries are frequently shot, with a Cineporto that supports the training of youth working as film professionals. A growth path that our city has undertaken over the past years and that we feel committed to further strengthen. I wish to thank Alberto La Monica and Cultural Association “Art Promotion” for the commitment and passion they have put, edition after edition, into organising such an important event. I would also like to thank the Apulia Film Commission Foundation and Apulia Region, which, jointly with the Municipality of Lecce, have supported this festival, and I welcome the guests who will come to our city to attend it.
A happy festival to us all.