River Film Festival, from Cannes to Padova

An event at the Scalinata Fluviale di Porta Portello in Padua.

The 18th edition of the RIFF River Film Festival was presented in Padua and at the 77th Film Festival of Cannes on May 24th. Two video messages were shown during the presentation at the Italian Pavillion, Hotel Majestic in Cannes.

The first was by Romina Zanon, artistic director of the RIFF.

“On our floating screen on the river Piovego at Porta Portello, we will showcase more than 100 short films made by new talents of the contemporary audiovisual scene with particular attention to emerging cinematography. This year, we are proud to host 11 world premiers, 9 European premiers and 30 Italian premiers”.

The second message was by documentary Oscar winner Prof. Ruby Yang from the University of Hong Kong.

“We are so pleased to have our student films shown at the River Film Festival. These two students are Meredith and Edmund, and they have been with us since 2022. We started our documentary production program in 2009, and we have over 70 documentary shorts produced by that programme. So this is a very exciting time for us. We hope to collaborate more with River Film Festival and other Italian Film Festivals,” Yang said in the video.

The link with Hong Kong continues with the President of the Jury, German film director Uli Gaulke, a Professor at Hong Kong University, and juror Prof. Christine Choy from Hang Seng University.

The festival was also presented in Padova at Palazzo Moroni by the Artistic Director Romina Zanon and the founder, the film director Emilio Della Chiesa.

RiFF 2024 is set to kick off its 18th edition tonight with a series of special events. The festival will officially open on Wednesday, May 29th, at 10 pm at the Scalinata Fluviale di Porta Portello in Padua. The opening night will be a special event dedicated to Doctors Without Borders, an independent international medical humanitarian organisation. Doctors Without Borders provides medical relief to populations whose survival is threatened by armed conflict, violence, epidemics, natural disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. The organisation is currently active in 74 countries, including Ukraine, Gaza, and Yemen.

After an opening greeting by Moni Ovadia, who will be present via video link-up, the star of the first evening of RiFF will be Carlo Urbani, the doctor (former President of MSF) who first identified Sars during the epidemic that broke out in Vietnam in 2003.

The film “Carlo Urbani – Ho fatto dei miei sogni la mia vita (I made my dreams my life)” by Riccardo De Angelis and Romeo Marconi (Italy 2023, 50 min.) is dedicated to him. Twenty years after his untimely death, the film retraces his professional and human life, from his trip to Cambodia to his transfer to Vietnam, from his participation as President of MSF Italy in the delegation that received the Nobel Peace Prize to his commitment to fighting SARS. This terrible virus took his life.

After the screening of the documentary – produced with the contribution of MSF and the Italian Carlo Urbani Association (AICU) – the following will take the floor, in addition to the two directors of the film Riccardo De Angelis and Romeo Marconi: Anna Canella (MSF coordinator – Padua Group), Roberto Scaini (MSF doctor and humanitarian worker), Vincenzo Varagona (journalist and AICU member), and Giuliana Chiorrini (Carlo Urbani’s wife).

Fourteen evenings of screenings for over one hundred short films from all over the world in competition. Eight days of special events. The twinning with Veneto festivals is born.

RiFF comes of age! With its eighteenth edition (from May 29th to June 16th 2024), once again, the Padua River Film Festival celebrates international independent short films and showcases new talents on the contemporary audiovisual scene, with a particular focus on emerging cinema and social and environmental issues.

Under the banner of the values on which it has always been founded – creativity, freedom, dialogue, inclusiveness and internationalism – in 2024, RiFF will once again pay homage to international short films in the unique setting of Porta Portello and its steps, on its floating screen anchored to the bank of the Piovego river.

Organised by the cultural association Researching Movie, supported by the Municipality of Padua – Department of Culture, the Veneto Region, the Ministry of Culture and sponsored by the University of Padua, the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security, RiFF 2024 will be on stage with eight days of special events (from May 29th to June 2nd, 5, 11 and 15 June). Fourteen evenings will be dedicated to the competition, divided into different sections that will see 109 short films from all over Europe and the rest of the world competing in the various categories (from 3 to June 16th).

The 2024 Festival will close with the awards ceremony on Sunday, June 16th. The complete festival programme and days and times of special events are at https://riverfilmfestival.org/edizione-2024/.

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