“When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films”
In 1973, "American Graffiti" came out and became the highest grossing movie of all time. Ever since then, the director George Lucas began to reconsider the core foundation of stories. Where did all the great mythological tales go? He discovered the anthropological studies of Joseph Campbell, an essayist and historian of religions, who had worked on narrations focused on initiation rites in different cultures. He applied them to an idea of film: "Star Wars". Campbell claimed that an identical deep pattern could be found inside all traditional stories of ancient cultures. The myth as a map: the hero abandons the ordinary world to venture into an amazing and supernatural kingdom, where he meets extraordinary forces and gains a crucial victory; the hero comes back from his mysterious adventure with the power of spreading happiness among people. This “hero’s journey” is not so different from our own experience as spectators. The protagonist’s actions channel a formative experience to us. It is an internal journey that determines a transformation. The 37th edition of the Sulmona International Film Festival offers 39 stories from 16 countries of the world. Tales of fathers, sons, love and revelations, loneliness and denials. 15 international short films, 9 national, 3 documentaries, 3 animations, 3 stories from Abruzzo and 6 music videos: these all blend together into one route towards the discovery of beauty within the hidden nuances of humanity. The SIFF in 2019 has reached the record number of 900 entries from 80 countries, confirming this competition as one of the most representative thanks to the quality of the films. “Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all.”, Tolstoy said. This is what the stories of the SIFF festival are all about: the universality of personal dynamics that cannot be contained by geographical borders and that we all have in common. Again for this year, the short films in competition (with the exception of the music videos and the short films from Abruzzo) will be judged by a jury of young professional critics, led by a great Italian actor: Francesco Montanari, who played the role of the "Libanese" in the television series "Romanzo Criminale", and was awarded best male performance for "Il Cacciatore" in the 2018 edition of the Cannes International Series Festival. There will be three feature films, linked by the theme of the Fight. The world premiere of "Wrestlove", the story of Monica and Karim, the only Italian wrestlers in the USA, who fight to defend their dream of being champions. The event film "Il sindaco del rione Sanità", an adaptation of the homonymous play by Eduardo, in which the protagonist is forced to resolve conflicts of honour in order to bring some kind of justice in his neighbourhood of Camorristas. Lastly, "Martin Eden" by Pietro Marcello, which narrates the difficult life of a peasant boy (whose name gives the title to the film), a sailor who struggles desperately to become a writer. The new addition to this edition is the focus on three regional institutions: the Pescara Film School IFA, and two Film Festival, the Adriatic and the Strano. With their works, they all contribute to enrich the debate on filmmaking in Abruzzo. In the national context, from 2019 the Sulmona International Film Festival has achieved the membership to AFIC (Associazione Festival Italiani di Cinema), thus becoming part of an informative network that is also a place of exchange and elaboration of projects. The image of SIFF 2019 is, as per tradition, a version of Ovid as interpreted by the hand of the well-known artist Simone Massi. In this image, the stylus (distinctive element compared to the homologous statue in Costanza) is replaced by a light beam that has erased the edge between writing and imagination, stories and their representation, evoking the cone of light of a film projector.