Lucca Film Festival 2023


19th edition | 23rd September - 1st October

An exceptional parterre will brighten the days of the festival. In addition to Susan Sarandon and Isabelle Huppert, guests at the Lucca Film Festival 2023 will include actress Violante Placido, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Gabriele Salvatores, actor and director Kim Rossi Stuart, actress Stefania Sandrelli, director and screenwriter Mario Martone and – in collaboration with the Over the Real Festival – artists Laetitia Ky and Robert Cahen.

On Saturday September 30th, Gabriele Salvatores will be the focus of a grand tribute by the festival. This will include a masterclass and a gala night during which he will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. To follow, the restored version of his film Nirvana will be screened, in collaboration with CG Entertainment. Later in the evening, Salvatores will take center stage at the Lucca Effetto Cinema’s ten-year anniversary with a special live event organized by the festival in the picturesque setting of Piazza San Michele. This event will pay homage to his cinema with elaborate sets, performers, actors, and live music composed for him by Italian musician and producer Federico De Robertis. A co-founder of the Teatro dell’Elfo and a pivotal figure in the formation of the Colorado Film with Maurizio Totti and Diego Abatantuono in 1986, Salvatores, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with Mediterraneo in 1991, will be paid further tribute from the festival with screenings of his films Siberian Education, Volare, The Return of Casanova, and I’m Not Scared.

On October 1st, the spotlight will be on Kim Rossi Stuart. The actor and director will take center stage in a masterclass during the day, followed by a special soirée during which he will receive the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. After winning a David di Donatello award, five Nastro d’Argento, and three Golden Globes, Rossi Stuart will be honored by the festival with screenings of his three directorial works: from his 2005 debut Along the Ridge, to Tommaso (2016), and Brado (2022). This will be a pivotal event of the Lucca Film Festival, aimed at celebrating the acting and directorial talent of Rossi Stuart.

There are two international feature and short films competitions at the Lucca Film Festival, plus the Lucca Effetto Cinema tenth anniversary evening co-produced by the Municipality of Lucca and the Northwest Tuscany Chamber of Commerce, and the new short film competition, the Lucca Film Festival for Future, which was born directly thanks to the entry among the supporters of the festival, the Sofidel Group. An integral part of the festival, the 1980s CINEMATIC EFFECT exhibition, curated by Alessandro Orsucci, will be held at and in collaboration with Palazzo Pfanner until September 28th. The event, under the patronage of the Municipality of Lucca, was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film Time for Loving, directed by Carlo Vanzina and written by his brother Enrico in 1983. Original posters, playbills, photobusts and sketches will be on display.

The feature film competition – whose selection is curated by Stefano Giorgi, Mattia Fiorino and Martino Martinelli – and whose jury is made up of Alessio Cremonini, Andrea Jublin and Betti Pedrazzi, will screen The Cage is Looking for a Bird, by Malika Musaeva: the stories of several Chechen women, each of whom tries to defend their right to freedom and live their lives as they want. Will they succeed and at what cost? Ararat, by Engin Kundağ: the sexual aggression of a destructive woman, Zeynep, overturns her parents’ already in crisis marriage and an entire society, but not the dormant demons of her past. Sasha, by Vladimir Beck tells of fifteen-year-old Sasha, who moves in with her father, a stranger. She runs away from home and enters a new fascinating and sometimes dangerous world, that of her peers. She pretends to be another person, without knowing where this deception will take her. The harmony of a village threatened by external factors in Mami Wata, by C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi, in which two sisters must fight to save their people and restore the land to the glory of a mermaid goddess. Homeland, by Bruno Gascon is set in a dystopian country governed by a dictatorship, a man will have to accept his destiny and fight to put an end to human rights violations in his homeland. In the end, he will only have one choice: freedom or death. A nightclub in Paris is at the center of After, by Anthony Lapia. Here, the rhythm of techno overwhelms everyone. People dance, drink and talk. Different lives and visions collide on the border between night and day. The accident, by Giuseppe Garau, is the story of Marcella, who loses her husband, job and daughter. On the verge of giving up, an incredible opportunity appears to her, miraculous and decisive, but with terrible risks. Director Law Chen signs Starring Jerry As Himself, a family story that documents how his father Jerry, an immigrant, recently divorced and retired in Florida, was recruited by the Chinese police to become an undercover agent. The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed, by Joanna Arnow, set in New York, where a Jewish woman in her thirties practices the art of submission in bed, and explores power dynamics in other aspects of her life, from work to the family. La mer et ses vagues, by Liana Kassir and Renaud Pachot, tells of the young Najwa and the musician Mansour in their attempt to cross the Lebanese border and reach Beirut at night to meet a woman who was transported across the sea. A father and son are the protagonists of Les meutes, by Kamal Lazraq, set in the outskirts of Casablanca, where they get by with petty crimes on behalf of the local underworld. When a kidnapping goes wrong, they have to find a way to dispose of the body. Time Addicts, by Sam Odlum is the story of two drug addicts and best friends, who steal a bag of crystals, traveling through time to pay off their debt to a dangerous drug dealer.

The short film competition – coordinated by Laura Da Prato, with the collaboration of Dario Ricci, includes the screening of 12 films in competition, 8 out of competition and 1 special event in the presence of the actor Andrea Bosca. This year the international competition saw the participation of over 600 works from all over the world and will see the presence of numerous European premieres, including short films that tell incredible true stories (Bazigaga, Mariposa, Mary Jane, Moeder) and address the monstrous theme from various angles (Demon Box, Mystic Tiger, The Devil, Tistlebu, Rabobesto), or present original points of view on political and social issues; relationships and family are investigated with great sensitivity (Boiling Over, Family Night, Antonio del futuro, L’acqua di San Giovanni, Hex papa, hex!). There are already several directors who have agreed to present their work, personally at the Festival or through a video greeting. The audience in the theater will be asked to vote at the end of each screening, in the special ballot boxes that will be made available in the room, expressing a preference from 1 to 5. The professional jury that will award the €500 prize this year is made up of Sabrina Crivelli and Alessandro Gamma, director and chief editor of the web magazine Cineocchio, one of the most followed sites in Italy on the Seventh Art, by the screenwriter Nicola Guaglianone and the actor and director Andrea Bosca, as well as by the director Alisa Berger, winner of the competition in the last edition with her short film K-Saram. The screenings will take place on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th September from 5pm to 8.30pm at the Cinema Centrale.

Furthermore, from 23rd to 30th September, the Lucca Film Festival will host its first edition of the Lucca Film Festival for Future, the short film competition focused on green issues and environmental protection. This initiative has been brought to life thanks to a collaboration with Sofidel, a company based in Tuscany which stands out as a world leader in the hygienic and household paper sector, notably recognized for the Regina brand. The company has strategically embraced sustainability as a means of responsible development and educational growth. For this competition, directors and filmmakers from all around the globe submitted over 260 short films, and this confirms the relevance of this competition and its main focus for countries worldwide. A committee directed by Leonardo Galeassi has selected the 15 finalists that will screen their short films during the festival. Actress Violante Placido will take the chair of the jury, formed of professionals in the cinema sector such as director Massimiliano D’Epiro and managers of some of the Festival in the network “Film For Our Future”. They will declare the winner of the €1,000 first prize during the closing evening of the festival on Saturday 30th September. During the week of the festival until Sunday 1st October, all the short films selected as finalists will be available on demand for free on the dedicated page in the Festival Scope portal. For those in Lucca, on the other hand, from Saturday 23rd to Friday 29th at the Cinema Centrale in Lucca (Via di Poggio, 36), two of the competing shorts will be screened each night after the 9pm screening. On Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th at 10am at the Vincenzo Da Massa Carrara Auditorium in the San Micheletto Complex (Via S. Micheletto, 3) there will be screenings dedicated to middle and high schools in Lucca and neighboring provinces. On Saturday 30th from 3pm at the Cinema Centrale (Via di Poggio, 36) the final selection of short films will be screened and at 9pm at the Cinema Astra (Piazza Del Giglio, 7) there will be the closing evening of the festival and the awards ceremony, free to the general audience. Among the stories covered we find Tahlequah the Whale: A Dance of Grief by filmmaker Daniel Kreizberg, the true story of the orca Tahlequah who carried the body of its deceased cub across the Salish Sea in a heart wrenching dance. The soundtrack features the evocative sounds made by the orca during the crossing, recorded in 2018 by underwater hydrophones. In Saving Some Random Insignificant Stories, Anna Vasof recounts the aftermath of a heavy flood damage to her family home. In Tales of Jan Mayen, Hugo Pettit narrates his experience during the 2021 Arctic Sense Expedition, aimed at exploring the Atlantic polar ecosystem and assessing its vulnerability to climate change and pollution. Other themes featured are global warming and deforestation, and how threatening they are to plants (The Sprayerby Farnoosh Abedi), but also the rediscovering of the beauty of the human-nature connection, inviting us to look at everyday life with fresh eyes (Well Wishes My Love, Your Loveby Gabriel Gabriel Garble). In the selection a famous name stands out: Owen Teale, known for his participation in Robin Hood – The Legend (1991) and especially renowned for Game of Thrones (2011), is among the actors in one of the shorts in the competition.

The Lucca Film Festival continues to explore the articulated universe of relationships that have linked Cinema, Music and Visual Arts for nearly 130 years. The 2023 edition delves into several aspects that share the focus on the audiovisual language used to analyze works of art, and the musical element, careers and artistic biographies and opportunities. Following the work of historical figures such as Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, born in Lucca, Roberto Longhi and Luciano Emmer, to name a few, the festival presents some interesting experiments to apply an audiovisual take to art. In the programming, a “carte blanche” is granted to Magnitudo, a specialized production company with recent productions Giotto, Gran Tour and Dante. Other documentaries analyze figures such as Franco Angeli and Pino Pascali, central figures of international art in the second half of the 20th Century. Santi Migranti was created as a photographic project that parallels the lives of various saints with those of migrants by analyzing the socio-political implications. The Rise of the Synth and Do you Own the dance floor are two documentaries dedicated to music: the former is narrated and produced by director John Carpenter and tells the story of the rise of synthesizer culture, while the latter focuses on the birth and decline of the phenomenon that gave birth to the legendary dance club Hacienda, and its effect on the city of Manchester.

This year the festival also includes the eighth edition of Over The Real, the International Festival of Video and Multimedia Art that celebrates its 60th anniversary of video art through a series of events both in Lucca and MuSa di Pietrasanta. The guest of honor will be Robert Cahen, to present a retrospective of his work from 1971 to today. Videos by Nam June Paik, Gary Hill, Woody Wasulka and Bill Viola will also be shown. Plus, ten audiovisual works will be premiering in the competition, with selections from Cuba, Iran, Russia, Spain, with an electronic music concert by Ludovica Manzo, master classes with leading experts in digital languages, five video installations and the presentation of the film Disco Boy with artist Laetitia Ky and French DJ Vitalic.

In the Focus section, dedicated to filmmakers from Tuscany, the screening of four films will be held.Se saprai starmi vicino by Patrizia Lazzari, Aspettando la rivoluzione by Nicola Raffaetà, Doppio passo by Lorenzo Borghini and Ulisse alla fine del mondo by Enrico Di Angelis.

Then, the 2023 Revelation Award will be awarded to Francesco Centorame.

As customary, this year too, special attention will be devoted to the youth. Exceptionally receptive to environmental issues, students will be involved in screenings, meetings, and debates. The LFF Educational events will return, targeting both middle and high schools. These events will predominantly be held in the morning and revolve around topics like environmental sustainability, art, literature, and culture in broad terms.

“The fact that this year two Academy Awards winners are present,” says the mayor of Lucca Mario Pardini, “confirms the great value of the Lucca Film Festival in the national panorama of cinema events. Thanks to its original format, which combines a traditional festival with very relevant events such as the Lucca Effetto Cinema and the exhibitions, the Lucca Film Festival stands out in the rich and competitive national scenario.”

Since 2013, we have been supporting the Lucca Film Festival as a main sponsor,says Marcello Bertocchini, president of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio of Lucca, “which we believe is one of the most important events on the Italian cultural landscape. A festival that has managed to maintain its continuity by adapting, remodeling and seizing the opportunity where others would have glimpsed only the obstacles, even during and after the pandemic. As a film aficionado, I am curious to attend a competition with such important and quality films. As president of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio, I am pleased to see the Lucca Film Festival, like other events supported by us, continue its path with the spirit of a fresh start.

“Investing in the film festival not only is a way of confirming the bank’s interest in cultural events,” says Paolo Tacchi of Banca Generali Private, among the festival’s supporters since 2014, “but also means that today, after such a troubled period, we want to enhance the territory and return to a period of flourishing tourism that can present beautiful places like Lucca and its surroundings. The additional attention to the environment in the festival positively encourages us to continue this collaboration. An important piece to come back to cinema, culture, and tourism. So a special thanks to the audience who will enjoy the festival’s programming live, which keeps growing as an established entity nationally and globally.”

“Us of the Pictet Group have been enthusiastically supporting the Lucca Film Festival since 2016” says Giambattista Chiarelli, Head of Institutional of the banking group specializing in asset and asset management. “The group is usually passionate about the world of photography, and thanks to Lucca FF it broadens its horizons by embracing cinema and supporting a fundamental asset for the development of the city and territory of Lucca, which makes us proud. Pictet has been close to the Fondazione CR Lucca for years, whose work in supporting cultural initiatives in the province plays a crucial role for the territory. We are proud to join it in supporting the LFF.”

Info & Contacts

Lucca Film Festival

Press Office

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Tel. +39 06 20880037 (Maya Reggi +39 347 6879999 | Raffaella Spizzichino +39 338 8800199 | Carlo Dutto +39 348 0646089)