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Last Friday saw Locarno “invaded” by a crowd of students who came to town with their teachers to meet up in one of Canton Ticino’s best-loved cinema venues, the GranRex. The 360 participants in the Giornata del Cinema, the Locarno Film Festival’s open day for regional high schools, settled down in their seats and prepared for what nowadays has become only too rare an event: watching a movie together on the big screen. The day was made even more special by the presence in the theater of Hleb Papou and Germano Gentile, respectively director and star of Il legionario (2021), who joined in a lively debate with the young audience following the screening. Papou and Gentile fielded questions from the kids and discussed the crucial issues raised by the film. Presented at Locarno74, Il legionario marked one of the most interesting recent filmmaking debuts, combining the adrenalin rush of the action movie with a deep study of the problems faced by first- and second-generation immigrants.
The open day continued in the afternoon with a hands-on exploration of some of the skills and job profiles that go into the making of this kind of movie, and into audiovisual production in general: thanks to a collaboration with film school CISA and broadcaster RSI, no less than thirteen different workshops were set up, which students could follow on the basis of their particular interests and preferences. Papou and Gentile led learning pathways on how to set up camera angles and on the art of acting, while the head of CISA, Marco Poloni, held a workshop on the specific features of narration by pictures. The other skill sets which the students could explore were film criticism, sound, color, lighting, food design, the impact of film on our perceptions and emotions, editing, the creation of special effects (with RSI) and film festival planning.
The program provided a full immersion in the universe of creative techniques and professions, a useful introduction both for youngsters hoping to work in the sector and for those just trying to better understand how motion pictures work, and what lies hidden behind a language – audiovisual – that can speak to everyone.
The Giornata del Cinema was made possible by the involvement of PalaCinema, CISA and RSI, with active input from Cult+ and WeTube. The schools taking part were CPC, Lugano; Liceo B. Cavalieri, Verbania (Italy); Liceo Cantonale, Locarno; Liceo Lugano 2; Liceo di Mendrisio; Scuola cantonale di commercio, Bellinzona; CO CPC, Locarno.
The initiative was organized as part of Locarno Kids, the Locarno Film Festival program dedicated to cinema for kids and families and to audiovisual education for the young generations, supported by la Mobiliare and the Manawa Foundation.
© Locarno Film Festival / Ti-Press