The family as a real protagonist, on the screen and in front of the screen and for the whole time of the event: this is the motto of the Fiuggi Family Festival, a brand new kind of festival due to be held in the little Italian town of Fiuggi from July 28 to August 3. The main idea is to promote a family-friendly culture in the area of media and entertainment.
In a recent official presentation in Rome the organizers underlined the basic fact that in the last few years, movies targeting a family audience have generated a big box office (not only the now classic Pixar fantasy movies, but also big family dramas such as Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, and Life is Beautiful) and showed an extraordinarily good return in the home video market too.
On the other hand, producers and media agents too often think of families as an incompetent client to whom one can offer even second rate cinematic products. This is not true; young families are becoming very savvy users, willing and able to evaluate movies, TV shows and internet contents so as to ensure that their children have a richer and more coherent education.
The new festival aims to bring these two elements together in an annual meeting between families and producers, a place where parents and children can enjoy good entertainment, but also present their requests directly to the people who produce them. Among the titles to be shown as premières are the Narnia Chronicles, Prince Caspian, but also the engaging Entre les Murs, winner of the last Cannes Festival, and a Spanish cartoon that features the donkey of Don Quixote as protagonist. In the competition section a bunch of international titles such the Spanish Mia Sarah or the Chinese A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, the Mexican El Estudiante have been already selected and many others form all over the world.
As well as entertainment, Fiuggi Family Festival wants to deal with some important and delicate issues, such as the role of family in education, the problems of the new families and confusion about gender connected with ideologies which tend to deny sexual difference.
This is something out of the ordinary run of film festivals and media events attracting experts or journalists, but we hope they will see it as a challenge worth taking up.
Luisa Cotta Ramosino is involved in film selection for the Fiuggi festival.