The 100+ films in competition at #Giffoni54 are a journey through diversity and empathy, dialogue and connection, conflicts and passions

Many of the titles in competition will be distributed in Italy by Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures Int’l Italy, Warner Bros. Discovery, I Wonder Pictures, Movies Inspired, Movimento Film, Ombre Rosse Film Production, Plaion Pictures, Rai, Wanted Cinema

The selection of the titles in competition at #Giffoni54, scheduled from July 19 to 28, has officially been finalized. Following our recent announcements, the program further enriches with new feature films and short films from all over the world. The works in competition address various themes, including ethnic discrimination, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sport as a means of redemption and growth, the challenges of being parents and children, the discovery of sexuality and the beauty of not identifying with a label. Over 3,000 productions were pre-selected and carefully evaluated by the Giffoni team to offer, as usual, the best of international cinema to the festival jurors. In addition to the works already selected (here are the ones already announced: https://en.giffoni.it/giffoni54-first-titles-in-competition-annunced/), the new films will be viewed and judged by the juries, composed of over 5,000 young people from 33 countries, who will decide the winners of the Gryphon Award. Here are the titles completing the 2024 selection.

ELEMENTS +3 (ages 3 to 5)
Three out-of-competition feature films have been chosen for the youngest in the Elements +3 section (ages 3 to 5). Mascha Halberstad returns to Giffoni for the second time with FOX AND HARE SAVE THE FOREST (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg – distributed by Urban Sales), the adventures of Fox and Hare who, after a party, set off in search of their missing friend Owl. They discover a mysterious lake created by Beaver’s dam: the water threatens to flood the forest, their efforts to save the environment test their friendship. ITTY BITTY PRINCESS by Lauri Maijala (Finland – festival contact Finnish Film Foundation) deals with the prospect of becoming a big sister. The protagonist, determined to find a new place to live, embarks on an adventure with the help of Aunt Jenssen, the magical dog Sausage and a princess, discovering the true meaning of home and family. We are ready to explore the world with adventures reflecting the experiences of a preschool child in TUMMY TOM AND THE LOST TEDDY BEAR by Joost Van Den Bosch and Erik Verkerk (Netherlands – distributed by Incredible Film). Tummy Tom, a curious cat, searches for his missing teddy bear with the help of his friend mouse Cat.

ELEMENTS +3 (ages 3 to 5) – SHORT FILMS
There are 22 short films in competition in the section dedicated to the youngest: friendship and the environment, curiosity and the perception of time, empathy and solidarity are the themes connecting adventurous stories that will captivate them. Here are the titles ready to enchant the youngest jurors: THE ALCHEMIST’S APPRENTICE by Erfan Parsapour (Iran), BAKING WITH BORIS by Maša Avramović (France), BEAVER by Julia Ocker (Germany), THE BIG GIRL by Anastasiia Chikerlan (Russia), CROSSWALK by Daria Volchok (Russia), EASTER EGG by Massimo Carrier Ragazzi (Italy), FOREVER SEVEN by Antje Heyn and Alexander Isert (Germany), FOXTALE by Alexandra Allen (Portugal), HELLO SUMMER by Martin Smatana and Veronika Zacharová (Slovakia), HOOFS ON SKATES by Ignas Meilūnas (Lithuania), HUG ME by Jeong Yun-Jeong (South Korea), KONIGIRI-KUN CONNECTED? by Mari Miyazawa (Japan), LE CHATEAU DES CHATS by Ottilie Collingridge (UK), MOJAPPI – IT’S MINE! by Nijitaro (Japan), NIAN SHOU by Judy Yang (USA), NINA’S FRIENDS by Neyrouz Jemour (Belgium), TROTT by Leire Martinez (Ecuador), UMMI AND ZAKI directed by Daniela Opp (Germany), VICKY THE SLEEPY-BYE OWL by Lucie Sunková (Czech Republic), WHAT’S INSIDE THAT CRATE? by Bram Algoed (Belgium), WRITING HOME by Eva Matejovičová (Czech Republic) and ZIZANIZZZ by Nicolas Bianco-Levrin (France).

ELEMENTS +6 (ages 6 to 9)
Four new feature films have been selected in the Elements +6 section, telling exciting and touching stories. 2:15PM by Seryong Jeong (South Korea – festival contact Youjin Do) tells the story of Hyunsu, a girl who secretly visits Jo Minha, a six-year-old girl isolated by her violent father, every day at exactly 2:15 PM. During these brief meetings, Hyunsu teaches Jo Minha to read and draw, and a strong friendship develops between them. BUFFALO KIDS, by Juan Jesús García Galocha and Pedro Solís García (Spain – distributed in Italy by Warner Bros. Discovery, international distribution Cinema Management Group), follows the adventures of two Irish orphans arriving in New York at the end of the 1800s. The voice talents include Sean Bean and Gemma Arterton. The protagonists hope to find their uncle and claim an inheritance, but when the mission fails, they decide to head to California. During the train journey, they befriend a boy in a wheelchair (a character already familiar to our audience from the short film CUERDAS, winner of a Gryphon Award as well as hundreds of other awards) and must use their intellect to get back on the train after being left behind during a stop. Magdalena Niec returns to Giffoni with LAMPO, THE TRAVELLING DOG (Poland – distributed in Italy by Plaion Pictures, festival contact Kino Swiat), where we meet Zuzia, a girl with a heart condition whose life changes when she meets Lampo, a traveling dog famous on the internet. Lampo becomes her best friend, but when the jealous stationmaster sends him away, Zuzia’s health deteriorates without her beloved companion. NIKO – BEYOND THE NORTHERN LIGHTS by Kari Juusonen and Jørgen Lerdam (Finland, Germany, Ireland, Denmark – distributed in Italy by Plaion Pictures, international distribution Global Screen), the third chapter in world premiere of a saga whose previous chapters were in competition at Giffoni in 2009 and 2013, concludes the section. In this new adventure, Niko leaves his family to join Santa’s Flying Forces like his father. He must compete with Stella for a place in the Forces, but when Stella steals Santa’s sleigh, the young boy sets off to recover it with the help of his friends, the flying squirrel Julius and the weasel Wilma.

ELEMENTS +6 (ages 6 to 9) – SHORT FILMS
Ten short films for the audience aged six to nine. From solidarity to self-acceptance, from bullying to self-discovery, from the importance of empathy to friendship, these are the themes addressed by: BOTTLES (Morocco) by Yassine EL Idrissi, THE GIRL WITH THE OCCUPIED EYES (Portugal) by André Carrilho, GO MY WAY (Spain) by Chelo Loureiro, HEAD IN THE CLOUDS (France) by Rémi Durin, HOMEWORK (Spain) by Nacho Arjona, LEAP OF FAITH (France) by Martina Doll, Coline Reverbel, Kenzo Talma, Edgar Vernier, Lisa Vlaine and Anaïs Dos, MAGIC CANDIES (Japan) by Daisuke Nishio, MONSTER SISTER (South Korea) by CHOI Eunji, OVO (France) by Stiv Spasojevic, WILFRID GORDON MCDONALD PARTRIDGE (Australia) by Hattie Archibald.

ELEMENTS +10 (ages 10 to 12)
They offer a profound look at life’s challenges and goals, emphasizing the importance of friendship, hope and courage, a journey through dreams and desires for the future, showing how, despite obstacles, the strength of human bonds can shine through even the most difficult moments: these are the latest titles selected in the Elements +10 section. This is the case of LA BICLETTA DI BARTALI, an animated feature film marking Enrico Paolantonio’s directorial debut (Italy, India and Ireland – co-produced by Rai Kids with Lynx Multimedia Factory, international distribution TVCO). The film, inspired by the life of legendary Italian cyclist Gino Bartali, tells the story of two modern teenagers in today’s Jerusalem. Following the example of Bartali, who saved many Jewish lives during World War II, the young protagonists defy prejudice and find in friendship and sports a way to build a better future. The film unfolds on two timelines, linking Bartali’s heroic past with the boys’ present. Another exciting story is GREETINGS FROM MARS (Germany – festival contact Renate Zylla) by Sarah Winkenstette, a director already known at Giffoni for several short films and the film “Too Far Away” in 2019. The main character, Tom, is a 10-year-old boy who hates change, red things, and loud noises. His passion is space, and he deals with challenges by wearing his astronaut suit. When his mother is forced to go to China, Tom and his siblings move in with his grandparents. His mother suggests that he sees this experience as a test mission to Mars, his greatest dream. With the help of his sister Nina and brother Elmar, Tom explores his grandparents’ world, meeting the challenges with the spirit of an astronaut. Lastly, LIVING LARGE, the animated feature film by Kristína Dufková (co-production Czech Republic, Slovakia and France – international distribution Goodfellas). The work follows the story of Ben, a 12-year-old budding chef who struggles with obesity and bullying. Motivated by his crush on Klara, supported by his family and his friend Erik, the boy decides to go on a diet in hopes of improving his health and solidifying his friendships.

ELEMENTS +10 (ages 10 to 12) – SHORT FILMS
The nine short films selected for jurors ages 10 to 12 reflect the complexities and emotions of childhood and teenage years in different cultural and social contexts. Here are the titles: AERIALIST (Russia) by Anna Kuzina, CAFUNÈ (Spain) by Carlos F. De Vigo, Lorena Ares, DEATH TO THE BIKINI! (Canada) by Justine Gauthier, GAME RULES (Sweden) by Christian Zetterberg, GRAVITY (Italy) by Robotina, LIFE (Sweden) by Hillevi Gustafson, MARIE (Czech Republic) by Jan B. Piskač, THE RAFFLE (Turkey) by Muhammet Emin Altunkaynak and YUCK! (France) by Loïc Espuche.

GENERATOR +13 (ages 13 to 15)
A sincere and engaging look at teenage years, each with a unique story of growth and discovery, perfect for the Generator +13 audience. The titles in competition include: DIDI directed by Sean Wang (USA). It is the story of a 13-year-old Taiwanese-American boy during the last month of summer before high school. This crucial period sees him learning to skate, flirt, and better understand his love for his mother, showing how experiences outside the family are key to personal growth. ANDREA’S LOVE, by Manuel Martín Cuenca, is co-produced by Spain and Mexico (international distribution Filmax). It depicts the perseverance of Andrea, a 15-year-old girl trying to win back the affection of her father, who disappeared from her life after her parents’ divorce. With the help of her younger siblings, Andrea faces a journey of challenges and personal growth, trying to put her family pieces back together and finding love along the way. SEASIDE AVENUE, on the other hand, is a first feature directed by Maju de Paiva and Bernardo Florim (Brazil – international distribution Elo Studios, festival contact Produtora Viralata). The film transports us to the coastal neighbourhood of Piratininga with 12-year-old Rebeca, who moves in with her mother after her parents’ separation. There she meets Mika, who introduces her to a new world of acceptance and new connections in a landscape that becomes a haven of personal transformation.

GENERATOR +16 (ages 16 to 17)
The new films competing in the Generator +16 address critical topics such as family responsibilities, cultural identity, the pain of loss, resilience and dealing with death, offering a mosaic of emotions and reflections that resonate with young people and adults alike. In L’EDAT IMMINENT directed by Col·lectiu Vigília, Clara Serrano Llorens, Gerard Simó Gimeno (Spain – international distribution Outplay Films, production company Ringo Media), the theme of family responsibilities is explored. Bruno, an 18-year-old boy, takes care of his elderly grandmother Natividad, who is the only family he has ever known. Bruno’s life is increasingly limited by his grandmother’s growing need for care, and he soon faces a painful choice: continue to care for her or move her to a nursing home. The theme of cultural identity is at the heart of GAMMA RAYS, by Henry Bernadet (International H264 Distribution). This film from Canada tells the story of Abdel, whose quiet life is disrupted by the arrival of his extroverted cousin, who will stay with him throughout the summer. Meanwhile, Fatima, wanting a more stable life, starts a new job as a cashier in a supermarket, while Toussaint finds a bottle with a mysterious message. Filmed with young nonprofessional actors from immigrant communities, the film combines fiction and documentary elements to explore the challenges and aspirations of young people in a multicultural context. In Johnny Barrington’s debut feature, SILENT ROAR (UK – international distribution MK2 Films), set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, the grief of loss and resilience are explored. Dondo, a young surfer, refuses to accept the death of his father, who has been lost at sea for more than a year. His journey of acceptance is intertwined with that of Sas, a smart and defiant schoolmate. Together, the two teens attempt to find their place in the rural community, amid waves, traditional beliefs and new discoveries. Barrington delivers a story of friendship and hope in an evocative natural setting. To conclude, TUESDAY, by Daina Oniunas-Pusić (U.S. and U.K. – international distribution Sony Pictures Releasing), explore the theme of dealing with death in an original and unsettling way. When Death, in the form of a parrot, arrives to take Tuesday, a terminally ill teenager, an unexpected bond is forged between them. This connection induces Death to give the girl more time so that she can bid her mother goodbye. The film mixes fantastical elements with real emotions, offering a profound reflection on life and the importance of emotional bonds.

GENERATOR +18 (18 year olds and over)
Completing the Generator +18 section are three movies that tell stories of personal struggles, family dynamics, social expectations and economic challenges. With a powerful narrative and complex characters, these first works provide insights on universal and contemporary themes. In GOOD ONE, directed by India Donaldson (USA – international distribution Visit Films), seventeen-year-old Sam sets off on a three-day backpacking trip through the Catskills, accompanied by her father Chris and her best friend Matt. What was supposed to be a memorable father-daughter bonding experience quickly turns into a test of patience for Sam as Chris and Matt’s constant bickering brings up old disputes. Sam, in an attempt to mediate, is faced with the burden of always being “the good one”. Tensions rise and boundaries are pushed, testing Sam’s resilience and his ability to manage complex family dynamics. The journey is not only physical but also emotional, exploring family relationships, intergenerational conflict and the search for personal identity in a context of social expectations that often stifle individuality. From the wild nature of the Catskills we move to Georgia with PANOPTICON, directed by George Sikharulidze (Georgia, Italy, France, Romania – Italian production and festival contact Ombre Rosse Film Production), where nineteen-year-old Sandro faces a profound existential crisis when his father David decides to become a monk. With a mother working illegally abroad and a grandmother too old to replace a parent, Sandro is practically left alone. His father’s decision, seen as a noble act in deeply religious post-Soviet Georgia, forces Sandro to turn to religion to seek a sense of belonging and security. However, this new dedication weighs on him, making him feel constantly watched and judged by an invisible spiritual surveillance. In a context of rigid spiritual devotion, Sandro struggles to find his place in the world, exploring themes of faith, isolation and the weight of religious and family expectations. Finally, BOCA CHICA, by Gabriella A. Moses (Republic Sunday – international distribution Outsider Pictures, festival contact Selene Films) follows the story of Desi, a 12-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a famous singer. Between working in the family restaurant and the threat of child prostitution in the city, Desi begins to understand the harsh reality that surrounds her. The disappearance of her friend Luz, caught up in a dark world, forces Desi to confront the dangers and difficulties of her community. The return of her older brother Fran, a supposedly successful musician in New York, ignites hope in Desi’s dreams, who sees in him a possible escape from her fate. The film deals with themes such as disillusionment, family secrets and the struggle for a better future, offering a realistic portrait of the difficulties faced by young people in disadvantaged socio-economic contexts.

GEX DOC (section dedicated to teachers, parents and filmgoers
Added to the Gex Doc section are three first works that explore themes of conflict, tradition, relationships and personal growth. With distinct and powerful narrative styles, these debut works promise to leave a significant mark on the viewer. It is made by an Israeli-Palestinian collective NO OTHER LAND, directed by a collective made up of Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham and Rachel Szor (Palestine/Norway – distributed in Italy by Wanted Cinema, international distribution Autlook Filmsales) and shows the destruction of Masafer Yatta, a community in the West Bank of occupied Palestine, by Israeli soldiers. The documentary tells the story of the birth of an alliance between the Palestinian activist Basel and the Israeli journalist Yuval. Through this collaboration, the work explores themes of resistance, solidarity and the complexity of human relationships in a context of conflict and occupation. NIGHTS GONE BY, directed by Alberto Martín Menacho (Switzerland/Spain – production and festival contact Lomotion) is a coming age documentary that tells the life of four young people from a small village in southern Spain, where modernity coexists with ancient traditions. The work offers an intimate look at rural life and traditions that stand the test of time. Through the experiences of the protagonists, we are shown the social and cultural changes, highlighting: doubts, fears, contradictions and hopes of those who go through the crossroads between the past and the future, between staying or going away. Closing is WITH YOU, WITH YOU AND WITHOUT ME, directed by Amaya Villar Navascués (Spain – international distribution Impronta Films). An audiovisual love letter to her future children helps the director explore her life choices in depth. The work becomes a powerful resource for healing old wounds, for understanding empowerment and the painful leaming of what a relationship should be like to work. A touching and intimate statement, masterfully crafted with a variety of techniques using animations and personal videos.

PARENTAL EXPERIENCE
For Giffoni, families are the most precious asset. Parental Experience was born precisely with this objective: to dedicate a section to all those parents who want to feel an active part of the Festival. Among the titles in competition: 154 (Italy) by Andrea Sbarbaro and Ricardo Copreni, in which a kindergarten teacher is tasked with educating an advanced prototype of artificial intelligence, treating it as if it were a child. This theme of education and discovery is also found in 7 TIMES (Switzerland), by Christine Wiederkehr, where the young Elio, after meeting his guardian’s secret lover, finds himself having to face and reveal his hidden feelings. The theme of friendship and the search for new stimuli emerges in AKUFENI (Italy) directed by Lorenza Longhi and Stefano Pavolini, where four elderly, bored and depressed friends decide to perform at a festival for emerging rock bands, thus rediscovering a new passion. At the same time, in AMANDA, YOU LIED (Spain) by Eva Libertad and Nuria Muñoz, Amanda and Virgi, two inseparable friends, see their lives change drastically after meeting a man in the scorching summer countryside. Family responsibility is central in AND NEXT YEAR, WHEN SPRING (Iran), by Said Asadi and Mehdi Boroumand, where a girl, whose father is arrested the day before an important school test, wanders through the village in search of someone who takes care of her little brother in order to participate in the test. Determination and personal struggle are also evident in Adilet Karzhoev’s BURUL (Kyrgyzstan), where a rural high school student interested in wrestling faces restrictions imposed by her father and coach. Resilience and rebuilding a destroyed life are at the center of FATMA (Sweden) directed by Sebastian Ringler, where Fatma, a single mother, and her son Khaled try to overcome the trauma of a past of domestic violence. The search for a different identity is explored in FINDING JIA (Australia) by Alice Yang, through the story of Mei, an 8-year-old immigrant girl who dreams of a life similar to the one she sees on TV. The desire to participate and the discovery of family secrets emerge in IGNOTI (Italy) by Giuseppe Brigante, where Zena and her son Maurizio follow a TV quiz show, but when Zena expresses a desire to participate, Maurizio tries to dissuade her to protect a secret. Family dynamics and internal conflicts are at the center of MANMADE (UK), by Plum Stupple-Harris, where two brothers face the consequences of their father’s strict upbringing during their father’s funeral. Family disharmony and complex situations are treated with a touch of irony in MAYBE ELEPHANTS (Canada) by Torill Kove, which tells the story of three rebellious teenage daughters, a restless mother and a father in difficulty, all set in Nairobi. The strength and resilience of a woman in the face of life’s obstacles are the focus of STIGMA (Spain) by Aida Argüelles, which tells the story of a fighter capable of defeating her own demons. The path of self-discovery is the theme of TWO BEATS (Italy) by Marino Guarnieri, where Matilde, a young painter in crisis, moves into an old attic to find herself through her paintings. Finally, US AGAINST THE NIGHT (Italy) by Stefano Moscone concludes the selection with the story of Luna, a little girl who, during an interminable eclipse, tries to reunite her parents, finding strength in a chance encounter with a mysterious woman.

GENERATOR +13 - WHEN WE LOST THE GERMANS

 

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