“From all over the world they choose Palermo to study as documentary directors”

We meet Ivan Scinardo, director of the Experimental Center of Cinematography – National School of Cinema. “Our the goal has always been to avoid the flight of intelligence and offer many young filmmakers to stay in Sicily to study cinema ”.

Ivan Scinardo

The Experimental Center of Cinematography – National School of Cinema has been operating in Palermo for several years. He is its director Ivan Scinardo, which we meet at the Zisa cultural sites. Scinardo, with a degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques and a professional journalist, talks about the cinema of the past, the great international directors, the new platforms, the future of cinemas. He published the book Cinema and journalism, the result of three years of work and research, data collection, observation, film viewing, meetings with journalists. A book of 352 pages, 250 titles that make up the reference filmography, with the citation of over 800 names of directors, actors, screenwriters, journalists, with the preface by Pietrangelo Buttafuoco. who, among other things, writes: “A real compass for those who want to know the vast panorama of films that, in a century of history, have seen journalists, publishers, communicators in general as protagonists ..”.

When your passion for cinema is born

For me the date of December 28, 1895 remains engraved together with the name of the Lumière brothers. However, it is fair to remember that scientists and inventors have always tried to project moving images. Just take a tour of the Turin cinema museum to realize this in the history of the seventh art. In Java, a few centuries earlier, Chinese shadows were cast, it was enough simply to have a light source and a wall. Many centuries passed and in 1600 the magic lantern was invented, an artifice that made children and adults from all over the world dream. In the nineteenth century many optical games were invented, such as the zoetrope, but the turning point came with the invention of the camera, but that was not all; it was necessary to invent a machine that would take the shots and one that would project them. And it was cinema!

What is the power of cinema

“The film is an open window on the world” I borrow the quote from the film critic Paolo Mereghetti, to tell the news. The first images projected indoors aroused curiosity and at the same time fright, because they were perceived as real. This illusion of reality represented something new. I like to imagine cinema as a formidable machine capable of transmitting emotions, making you have fun and crying at the same time. In the early years no one believed it, Lumière themselves considered the cinema “an invention without a future”.

What is the boundary between literature, cinema and journalism?

They all have in common the storytelling, a fundamental tool through which the need to imagine and dream is realized. Everyone tells stories and builds the processes of imagination. Their bond is symbiotic because narration is the very essence of these means, which become languages ​​and interpretative keys of reality.

How the Experimental Center of Cinematography and the National School of Cinema in Palermo were born. What do young people who love cinema have to do to register and attend?

The school was founded in Palermo in 2008 as a branch of the oldest film school in the world, after the Russian one. The goal has always been to avoid the flight of intelligence and offer many young filmmakers to stay in Sicily to study cinema. After 10 years, the Ministry has recognized the documentary course as equivalent to the three-year degree, one more opportunity for many young people to undertake a path of excellence in cinema. Now the call is active which will allow, starting from May 15th, young people aged between 18 and 26 with a diploma, to participate in the selections. Unfortunately, last year, due to the pandemic, it did not come out, but this year we expect a boom in registrations for 12 places available. There are few, but we aim for excellence and we cannot afford, during the three years of experience, defections, here we have candidates who come from all over the world. In the last selection we had a boy from Mexico City and a girl from Japan, they chose Palermo to study as documentary directors.

Ivan Scinardo

Today many masterpieces of cinema are being lost, I know that an important digitization work is being done in Italy …

A few months ago a new branch of the Experimental Cinematography Center in Lecce was born. The three-year course in “Conservation and management of audiovisual heritage” focuses on the entire range of activities related to the safeguarding of cinema, both in its historical manifestations (film) and in its more recent ones (electronic and digital image). Students will therefore be able to personally participate in all phases of the restoration work of the film, which will take place in close collaboration with the staff of our National Film Archive.

What are the films about Sicily to offer to the new generations?

The stone in the mouth by Giuseppe Ferrara from 1969, The rubber wall by Marco Risi, on the tragedy of Ustica in 1991, The hundred steps of Marco Tullio Giordana in 2000, Before the night of Daniele Vicari, on the Catania journalist killed by the mafia, Beppe Fava, Names and surnames of Sebastiano Rizzo.

What is the peculiarity of the light of the Sicilian cities so sought after by the great directors?

To answer this question, a phrase from one of the greatest directors of photography in Italian cinema, Vittorio Storaro, comes to mind: “writing with light”. Light is the tool that, with the symbolic values ​​expressed by the colors in their modulation and in the contrast between light and shadow, translates in the best possible way what has always been the goal of our great author of photography, that is “. of a specific cinematic style for each film ”, because of all this“… is always the fundamental thing ”.

Why do many directors come to shoot in Sicily, what is your opinion on mafia fiction?

Honestly I was tired of the fiction on the theme “mafia”. Sicily needs to clear the concept of film locations as scenarios for films with shootings and crimes. I agree with what Alessandro Calvi wrote for Huffington post, which I quote verbatim: “These fiction are generally really well done and can be seen. But, really, a representation of the South that does not know the colors of Verga or Pirandello, and that completely ignores even Sciascia, no longer holds up. The time has come to give back to the South its complexity even in these popular products, as this somewhat paternalistic and somewhat colonial idea of ​​the South leaves a certain bitterness in the mouth and causes such bewilderment that even that suspension is blown away. of the disbelief to which now, given the circumstances, we would need to cling to like never before.

.What do you think of Giuseppe Tornatore’s cinema?

I consider Nuovo cinema paradiso among the greatest masterpieces of world cinema. I can’t imagine a film that represented Sicily as the director from Bagheria did. Fellini was supposed to be in the finale in the projection booth, yet there he is, with his childhood memories. In those fragments of film there is all the magic of cinema that explodes through the projector lens. The film still invites you to discover new worlds, to try new emotions, thanks to a soundtrack by a music giant, like the maestro Ennio Morricone and then the final kissing scene that goes against a retrograde society, which is still blindfolded today. from stereotypes.

Is it true that cinema in the liquid age has lost its media centrality?

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, which offers its free video on demand service to Prime subscribers, said “We make movies to sell shoes”. Leading the revolution are mainly young people, the so-called “millennials”. They are the ones who provoke the explosion of “bingeracing”, the vision of an entire TV series in less than 24. The use of the film has changed. The closed cinemas of the many funnel-shaped films have ended up in on-demand platforms, a phenomenon that I believe will not end soon. But we always hope for cinemas to reopen to admire and appreciate a film with all the senses.

Cinema and Journalism. Where does your book come from?

The research stems from the need to create a guide to films on the journalistic profession. I thus combined my two professions, that of a journalist and director of a film school, to make the skills acquired in the two sectors available to the Order of Journalists, in journalism with about 30 years of activity, in cinema since 2009, from his appointment with the Experimental Center of Cinematography. The result was a continuous training module for members of the register, born about 4 years ago, today it has become an integral part of the national training offer (SIGEF) which is worth n. 3 credits. The meetings and seminars dedicated to the “Cinema and Journalism” module have allowed me from time to time, thanks also to the recommendations of film buffs, to enrich the filmography and the list of names of directors, actor-producers. This is how the 250 film cards are born, written without any reference to an external source, and the over 800 names indexed in the final pages of the book.

Speaking of Cinema and Journalism, I am reminded of “The Last Threat”, with the historic line of Humphrey Bogar: It’s the beauty press and you can’t help it … “

“Ultima threat” still represents a civilian denunciation film with a group of journalists led by a director who unmasks a mafioso who, like the film “The Godfather”, extends his power over all the affairs of the city. Concerning the film by Richard Brooks, that masterpiece by Francesco Rosi comes to mind, “Hands on the city”, with the building plot of Naples, but if you want, there is also a reference to that of Palermo. Even today, Bogart’s interpretation is a milestone in the history of investigative journalism, at a time when many American newspapers limited themselves to telling the facts and not investigating. For young aspiring journalists, this black and white film can be boring, but it is a very useful track to get to know the profiles of individual editors starting from their boss, who, because of this “mischief”, divorces his life by putting the defense of press freedom.

What are your plans for the future?

Continue my research on cinema and journalism and cultivate young talents.

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