Since its first edition in 2001, RIFF has become an event that is
followed with more and more interest by the public in Rome and a reference
for worldwide filmmakers. In these years, the Riff has received
works coming from the 5 continents, ending up being an attentive witness
representative of the directions and passions of the independent
film industry. An international vocation that has found expression in
the right choice during the film selection (giving priority to national and
international preview). There was therefore no coincidence in the fact
that the feature film winners of the latest editions were foreign films.
Just to mention few of them, the North American “Self Medicated” by
Monty Lapic in 2006, the Italian-American “Punk Love” by Nick Lyon
in 2007 and in 2008 the Estonian “The Class” by Imar Raag. The last
two editions of the RIFF, won by two great directors such as Steve
McQueen, “Hunger” (2008) and Andrea Arnold with “Fish Tank”, have
engendered particular interest among critics and public. An international
soul that has given to the RIFF the opportunity not to focus only on
a specific issue but to use the dialogue, research and film experimentation
as identikit of the festival.
Each anniversary, likewise this tenth anniversary, brings a wealth of
emotions. An emotional flow that begins with the incoming of new
works to be selected (an average of more than 1000 every year ) that
increases when, in the movie theater, you meet lot of people, actors
and directors, who represent the reality of the cinema industry. But
the greatest reward comes when films selected at the RIFF receive
awards and international success. “West Bank Story” by Ari Sandel,
for example, an amazing short film selected in the 2005 edition, won
the Oscar for best short film in 2007.
“Scent “of the Oscar there was also for the film selected in 2006, “Kiss
by Winter” by Sara Johnsen, nominated for the Oscar in Norway. The
2005 festival saw as opening film “Omaha”, a film about the Real IRA
by Pete Travis, the talented director who has signed in 2008 with a
stellar cast “Vantage Point”. Several shorts that have been scheduled
have then been awarded with “David di Donatello”, among others,
“Lotta libera” by Stefano Viali, “Aria” by Claudio Noce “Uerra” by Paolo
Sassanelli. Among the documentaries there were important titles too.
As an example for all the documentary “Crude” by Joe Berlinger, who
first made public the environmental disaster caused by Chevron in
Ecuador. It was presented at the RIFF as European premiere in 2008
and it is a news of few weeks ago that Chevron has been condemned,
also thanks to the international relevance of the complaint campaign
launched by “Crude”, to pay 9 billion dollars in compensation.
In the past ten years the purpose of the RIFF, likewise many other Festivals
in general, has changed as shown by the evidence of their proliferation.
Every cinematic genre has its own appointments, each town
promotes his event with alternate success. No criticism to localism or
alarm for an inflationary effect but the realization that the mission has
changed: from pure research or aesthetic niche, expression of specific
cultural tensions, today festivals become a new way to distribute the
film. Works that do not have space in the movie theater “come alive”
during festivals where quality is rewarded despite of the market principals.
That is the reason why in the last few years, festivals act like in
a ‘‘circuit’’ refering to each other (there are over 50 of them that have
been RIFF’s “friends”) and it is not uncommon to see the best films
taking part to 10 or 20 festivals almost simulating the average release
in a movie theater. The Riff becomes the “other cinema”, the Independent
one (now more than 10 years ago), that one not throttled by
monopolies, the only one who is able to give answers to the viewers
“questions”. No wonder, then, if in the last edition the three films that
have received the 2010 RIFF Awards have then also got to be screened
in movie theaters: “Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold (UK), “Amore
liquido” by Marco Luca Cattaneo, “18 anni dopo” by Edoardo Leo.