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SYRFILMFEST ’09 hosts legendary Italian filmmaker Gian Vittorio Baldi
SYRFILMFEST ’09 hosts legendary Italian filmmaker Gian Vittorio BaldiApril 17, 2009Christine Fawcett-Shapiroinfo@syrfilm.com
Gian Vittorio Baldi, one of the most heralded and influential producers/directors in the history of Italian cinema, will be in Syracuse April 20-May 3 as a guest of the Sixth Annual Syracuse International Film Festival. He will receive the festival’s Special Achievement Award and also serve on the festival jury and participate in several public events and discussions with film students.
“Baldi’s visit represents the beginning of a very important relationship between Syracuse University and Hypermedia University in Bologna, Italy,” says Owen Shapiro, the Maurice E. Shaffer and Dorothea I. Shaffer Professor in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and the artistic director of SYRFILMFEST ’09. “Gian Vittorio’s contribution to both the documentary and narrative cinema is singular. It will be a tremendous honor to have him with us.”
On Tuesday, April 21, Baldi will take part in a screening and discussion of the film “Porcile” and one or more of his shorts. The event is from 6-10 p.m. in Room 141 of Newhouse 3 on the SU campus.
On Wednesday, April 22, he will critique student films throughout the day and then participate in a reception in his honor from 6-9 p.m. at the Point of Contact Gallery, 914 E. Genesee St., Syracuse.
On Thursday, April 23, Baldi will be a special guest at the screening of several graduate student films from 5-6:30 p.m. in Shemin Auditorium in the Shaffer Art Building on the SU campus. Then from 7-10 p.m. in Room 121 of the Shaffer Art Building, he will take part in a screening and discussion of the film “Il Temporale.”
On Monday, April 27, from 6-9 p.m., he will attend the screening of the film “Fuoco,” with a discussion of the book of the same name edited by Cineteca di Bologna, at the Everson Museum of Art.
On Saturday, May 2, from 10 p.m.-2 a.m., at the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Armory Square, Baldi will attend the RUMS OF PUERTO RICO Awards Party, at which he will receive the festival’s Special Achievement Award.
Baldi produced several of the most important films of the 1960s and 1970s, including Robert Bresson’s “Four Nights of A Dreamer,” Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Pigsty” and “Notes Toward an African Orestes,” and Jean-Marie Straub’s “Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach.”
A 1950 graduate of the International University for Social Studies, Baldi worked for RAI (Italian Television) from 1954-58, where he made the landmark “Fifty Years-The History of Italy From 1898-1948.”
Baldi’s early shorts won numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for “Il pianto delle zitelle” (1959) and “La casa delle vedove” (1960), which was also nominated for an Academy Award. His “Luciano-Via dei Cappellari” won the Grand Prix of the Jury at the 1961 Tour Festival in France. Baldi’s participation in the Tour Festival attracted the attention of the French critics, particularly that of the Cahiers du Cinema group, fathers of the French New Wave.
In 1960, Baldi founded the Italian Documentary Institute, with the purpose of promoting the study of the art of cinema in general and documentaries and shorts in particular. He later set up the first network of “cineclubs” to promote documentaries, shorts and experimental films.
In 1964, Baldi created the Association Internationale des Documentaristes (A.I.D). Its first board comprised some of the most important documentary filmmakers in the history of cinema: John Grierson, president; Joris Ivens, Georges Rouquier and Richard Leacock, vice presidents; and Baldi, secretary general.
As a director, he made his first feature film-“Fuoco”-in 1969. At the 2003 Berlin Film Festival, the German critics name “Fuoco” as one of the five best films in the history of Italian cinema in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1987, Baldi directed “Anni Duri,” which was nominated to represent Italy at the XXXth Festival del Film d’Autore. Among his other notable later films are “Mi ricordo ancora” (1980), based on the work of Piero Ghizzardi; “Zen” (1988) and “Temporale-Nevrijeme” (1999). In 2008, he finished writing “Il cielo sopra di me,” which is to be made in Atacama, Chile.
In 1999, Baldi founded Hypermedia University in Bologna, a center for media studies, of which he is still the principal.