Giffoni Shock: the winning films and a report on the first edition

When new forms and languages of artistic expression involve choral participation, change becomes something achievable. This is what happened during the first edition of Giffoni Shock, which took place last April 16-20 at the Giffoni Multimedia Valley. Giffoni Shock was a new project that aimed at challenging the traditional formats and patterns of festivals to become an open space for the new generations, a Speakers’ Corner focused on current times with an ambitious and demanding goal, that is, breaking down commonplaces and superficial interpretations about the youth world.

The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture – Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual as a special project for the year 2022, and was carried out by the Giffoni team under the artistic direction of Luca Apolito. Gianvincenzo Nastasi was the curator of the event, while coordination was handled by Giffoni general manager Jacopo Gubitosi.

Cinema always plays a prominent role at Giffoni, which is why Giffoni Shock certainly could not fail to have an important section specifically dedicated to films. This first edition’s competition featured twenty-two short films from Algeria, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, India, Iran, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, Ukraine and the USA. The jury was made up of two hundred students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, who were invited to attend the screening of the short films selected out of more than two thousand works produced and shot all over the world.

The competition culminated in the presentation of three awards: the Best Film – Giffoni Shock! Award went to the Indian short film THAT DOESN’T FIT by Ackshaj Anand, a 2D animation that explores uncomfortable life scenarios, portraying them with satire and irony. The Original Idea Award was given to WHAT REMAINS, a work by Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Rodriguez, in which he reflects on memory and the digital world through the files being generated every day on mobile phones. The Award for Experimentation with Audiovisual Language was presented to FLOATING IN THE LONG NIGHT, a short film by Taiwanese director Yu Jou Liu:  a bartender, who has now become a shadow of herself, silently serves those who have reached the end of their journey amid surreal and dreamlike atmospheres.

Equally central were the activities of the artistic collective -which in some ways can be considered the heart of Giffoni Shock-, a group of eleven talented young creatives who throughout the week immersed themselves in an ongoing brainstorming and gave birth to an endless stream of ideas, whether set to paper or performed, expressed in music or through images. They produced an evocative crossroads of techniques, languages and means of expression, a journey revolving around the theme of #Giffoni54-“The Illusion of Distance”-which they have been working on and will continue to work on in order to come up with the poster of the 2024 edition of the world’s most important youth film festival, founded by Claudio Gubitosi.

Illustrators, photographers, actors, musicians, composers, writers, poets, digital artists, videomakers and performance-artists shared a space where they could explore new forms of inspiration within an interdisciplinary and highly stimulating expressive dialogue. The collective was coordinated by Giffoni team members Orazio Cerino and Denny La Salvia and featured Bianca Costanzo (2D animator), Diana De Stefano (illustrator), Emma Graziani (photographer), Giusy Lambiasi (illustrator), Marica Mastromarino (performer), Simone Castelluccio (singer-songwriter), Chiara Ferrante (illustrator), Elisa Patafio (illustrator), Giulia Minella (video maker), Leandro Forte (illustrator) and Venera Dora Leone (writer). In the coming weeks they will be working on what they developed together in Giffoni with the goal of creating the distinctive image that will mark the festival in July.

The program also featured three “workshocks” based on the Whomi? (Who am I?) format, which is an interactive show that is specifically designed to engage the young people in the theater through video contributions and thought-provoking debates. The workshocks addressed the three guiding themes of the first edition of Giffoni Shock: “It’s not true that we want to be happy,” “It’s not true that we are creative” and “It’s not true that we like others”. They were attended by hundreds of secondary high school students from Arzano, Pomigliano d’Arco, Salerno, Torre del Greco and Giffoni Valle Piana.

The guest speakers at the three workshocks were psychotherapist Michele Mezzanotte, science popularizer Marco Martinelli -in partnership with Fondazione Deloitte– and writer Marilena Umuhoza Delli.

Moreover, eight talks were held in the Sala Blu of the Giffoni Multimedia Valley, resulting in a very fruitful dialogue between the stage and the audience, a continuous exchange of ideas and insights addressing the present with no constraints or pre-established stances. Speakers of the talks included linguist and essayist Vera Gheno, singer-songwriter Cristiano Godano, writer and semiologist Stefano Bartezzaghi, rapper BigMama and writer Jonathan Bazzi.

The Giffoni Shock talks were complemented by music by electronic and electroacoustic composer Anacleto Vitolo and Gabriele Pagliano, who is notably active in jazz and free improvisation.

Giffoni Shock also featured the participation of the Youth Panel, the youth consultation group of the Safer Internet Center’s “Generazioni Connesse”, a project that is sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Merit and features about forty young people aged 14 to 18. The Youth Panel came up with a shocking proposal for big tech companies Meta, Google and Tiktok in order to build safer and more inclusive platforms. According to the Panel, the practice of digital well-being should start from social networks.

As mentioned, the Youth Panel is part of the Safer Internet Centre’s “Generazioni Connesse” project, which is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Merit in partnership with some of Italy’s main players in the field of online safety: the Guarantor Authority for Childhood and Adolescence, the State Police, the University of Florence and University “La Sapienza” of Rome, Giffoni, Save the Children Italia, Telefono Azzurro, the non-profit organization EDI and Skuola.net. This year the Guarantor Authority for Privacy, the Ministry for the Family and the National Cybersecurity Agency also joined the project partnership, providing the chance to establish new collaborations and create new educational opportunities.

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