The Ca' Foscari Short Film Festival goes to Baku

From September 26 to 29, 2019, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice had the pleasure of presenting the 9th edition of its widely acclaimed Short Film Festival (SFF) in Baku thanks to the coordination of the Ca’ Foscari Baku Office. In order to enhance this special international presentation of the festival with a markedly local significance and resonance, the films screened for the public included not only those made by students from around the world that participated in the official international competition held last April in Venice, but also a selection of others produced by talented Azerbaijani film students.

The Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival (SFF) is an international short film festival launched by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in 2011, the first European event of its kind organized and managed almost exclusively by university students. Under the guidance of a team of experts and professors, students plan and oversee every aspect of the festival, from selecting the films to managing national and international press coverage, and from preparing the catalog to coordinating event logistics.

For each edition of the festival, 30 short films created by film school students from all around the world are selected and submitted to a jury that includes prestigious members of the international film scene. In this year’s festival, a common denominator shared by many of the films that participated in the international competition was a timely interest in and exploration of various aspects of the physical and psychological dimensions of immigration and emigration.

The Baku edition of the SFF was inaugurated by the festival’s general manager - and, since 2013, its art director - Maria Roberta Novielli, an associate professor of the history of cinema and animation at Ca’ Foscari. During her stay in Baku, Prof. Novielli also gave valuable insight into the organization and significance of the SFF by giving a master class to a group of students from ADA University, a prestigious Azerbaijani institution with which Ca’ Foscari signed a memorandum of understanding in 2018. She also mentioned next year’s SFF: “We’ve just begun working on the 10th edition of the festival, which will take place from March 25 to 28, 2020. After only two weeks of receiving submissions almost 500 short films have already arrived.”

Marking the significance of the SFF’s presentation in Baku, the festival’s opening ceremony was attended by many representatives of the city’s international community, including H. E. Augusto Massari, the Ambassador of Italy to Azerbaijan, who remarked: “This initiative is like adding another tile to the mosaic of friendly relations between Italy and Azerbaijan. Together with Azerbaijan’s Vice-Minister of Culture, we sincerely hope that this initiative may continue to develop and become a cinematographic co-production in the future.” 

The presentation of the SFF’s ninth edition in Baku was made possible by the Ca’ Foscari Baku Office, which opened in May 2018 and is operated in cooperation with United Cultures, a renowned cultural organization based in Baku. Particularly instrumental to the event’s success were the logistical expertise of United Culture’s director, Paola Casagrande, and the organizational collaboration of Dr. Carlo Frappi, a Ca’ Foscari professor whose research and teaching focus on Azerbaijan.

After almost of year and a half of activity, and through the realization of such moments of cultural exchange as the presentation of the SFF in Azerbaijan, the Ca’ Foscari Baku Office is demonstrating how effectively the university’s Offices in the World can be in forging meaningful connections with the global community.

To read more about what has been happening at the Ca’ Foscari Baku Office, check out its brand new website. You can also keep up on Ca’ Foscari’s activity in China by visiting the Ca’ Foscari Suzhou Office’s website. For more general information about the Offices in the World project, or to learn more about the latest Office in the World that opened in Moscow in late 2018, contact the International Office at  global.engagement@unive.it.

Francesca Favaro & Krystina Karen Stermole