Interview with Festival Director Gisella Calabrese (Visioni Corte Film Festival)

Visioni Corte Film Festival was born in 2012 and realized in the Baronial Castle of Minturno (Lazio, centre of Italy) since its beginning. It has 6 categories: Corto Fiction Italy, Corto Fiction International, CortoDoc (for documentaries), CortoMusic and CortoAnimation. They’ve got also another particular category, SocialVisions, dedicated to short movies realized by therapeutic communities or social cooperatives, to compare with another reality and spread new type of relationships and communication between people with different disabilities.

Interview with Gisella Calabrese:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers? 

Gisella Calabrese: Filmmakers are always welcome in Minturno. It’s a honor for us, especially who comes from abroad, because we’re trying to get tourism close to culture. It’s a heat, but we’re really convinced that it’s possible, if you love your town and, of course, cinema. They’ll find out that in our festival, the short movies and their creators are the real protagonists. Visioni Corte isn’t just a runway for celebrities as others do, we give importance to our films with no reserve.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)? 

GS: This year we’ve made some changes, beginning from the period. We used to play in October, while we’ve decided do realize it in summer. We’re sure that filmmakers will appreciate this decision. We’ve got a beautiful sea, why don’t take advantage? We’re going to do this fifth edition outdoor with a big screen. Some guests belonging to the world of cinema, cultural events, music, traditional good food of our region… we’re preparing a lot of surprises.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films? 

GS: Well, during selections we’re very strict. Only the best film will pass. They must have a good screenplay, intense performance, great filming, excellent photography and if possible an original story. In the previous editions we had international premiere, and also very particular (and beautiful) movies that you can’t see in Italy so easily. We don’t make obvious choices.

MT: Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why? 

GS: It depends on festivals. Some of them are just a showcase for famous and sometimes the selections of the movies isn’t so accurate, while other ones focus on the quality and are able to advertise them better than other. Of course, if you have been selected by the TIFF or Cannes, it’s another story, at all. We’re proud to say that many films which have been selected in our festival during these years, afterwards have been selected also in prestigious festivals such as Cannes, Tiff, Venice, Goya, New York, Los Angeles. It shows that we make a really good selection. It’s the better acknowledgment for us.

MT: What motivates you and your team to do this festival? 

GS: We live in a beautiful place, we’ve sea and mountains, romans ruins and a temperate weather but Minturno (Lazio, centre of Italy) hasn’t a cinema, a theatre or an auditorium. You must go to nearby towns for this. Visioni Corte is born to spread the idea that making cultural tourism is possible, if you strongly believe in it. Before us people here had no idea what a short movie was. Instead, now we’ve got regular fans that attend every year, it’s a close audience who follow us with love, and some surrounding cities are trying to make something similar to our festival. We’re on trend, perhaps 😉

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception? 

GS: Our festival has improved a lot. The passion is the same but the screen is bigger and we’ve more volunteers to realize it now. Our Techical Jury has become more prestigious and Visioni Corte is becoming famous in the short film industry. We receive so many films abroad! Also the programm is changed. We make more events, retrospectives, presentation of books regarding cinema and also workshops and cine lab.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020? 

GS: I hope that in 2020 we’ll have more support from the local institutions to realize a really big festival of cinema, especially for the economical burden. It’s our dream but also our target. We’ve made everything by ourselves and our sponsors and we’ll go on this way. We’re not tied, we’re free to make our own choices. If this support comes, we’ll be very happy, otherwise we’ll carry on making the festival with the same enthusiasm and passion… searching for other sponsors! We’d like to create a sort of Visioni Corte Village, with many stands, masterclasses, cinema and photo exhibitions, workshops, music… a long party for the short movie and its lovers.

MT: What film have you seen the most times in your life? 

GS: This is a very difficult question. There are so many films I’ve seen so many times! I love Blade Runner, for example, or Point Break, but also Star Wars saga, Gone with the wind, Vittorio Gasmann’s movies… But there’s a movie that moved me and made me cry like anything else: The Wrestler, of Darren Aronofsky. Really, it’s an incredible movie, shooted as an european indipendent film. I can’t see it as often as I would like because it hurts me, but I mean it as the true essence of the cinema, at all.

MT: In one sentence, what makes a great film? 

GS: Well, a great film must hit you, leaving you something you can’t explain but you feel it so strong that it will never leave you.

MT: How is the film scene in your city? 

GS: The film city in Minturno is very low, but we feel that people are hungry of culture, in all its way. That’s why we’re making Visioni Corte. It makes you dream, laugh, cry, think, move but especially, it enriches all of us in spirit. Thank you so much for the interview. I’m honored.


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go for more information and to submit your work to the festival.