A few words on the festival.…Vanessa Strizzi has asked me to write a few words about the festival. How does one write a few words on something I have been following for 25 years? Perhaps, I can begin with the serendipitous nature of the first year. I was an Italian language student at the Università per Stranieri in Perugia with a background in photography. The small festival was beginning in Montone and it needed to be documented, the rest is history! For the last 25 years, every July I knew I would be in the piazza, under the stars, experiencing the magic of cinema surrounded by strangers and friends alike.
As a photographer, the festival is where I grew and developed my craft. Every year there is another opportunity to capture the magic of this event that attracts people to Montone from all over the world. I am lucky I have met and spent time with VIPs like Terry Gilliam, Vittorio Storaro and Lone Scherfig, to name only a few.
Photographs hold memories and bring us right back to these moments. Here are a few vignettes that return to me almost like film strips.
In 2002, I photographed Mike Leigh attempting to use his newly minted key to open random doors around Montone. In 2004, I remember I was nervously fumbling with the focus on my 6x7cm camera while photographing Colin Firth with his key next to the Verziere gate as night fell over Montone. In 2008, which is the year in which I began to shoot with a decent digital camera, I remember an interesting conversation with Peter Lord from Aardman Animation. He explained the counter intuitive nature of how the move from analogue to digital had actually slowed down the process of creating animated films in their studios rather than making it faster. There are so many rich moments about the Umbria Film Festival to recount, too many to do with words at this time. However, my hope is that this exhibition of photographs will share these moments well beyond what words can do. Thus, inviting you, the viewer, to witness the magic that happens every July under the stars in Montone!
Paolo Amadei is a photographer and documentary filmmaker. He was born in Rome in 1993. His works mainly shed light on topical issues. He has made photo reportages among villages in the mountains of Haiti, about reforestation projects on the island. He has chronicled migration crises in Bosnia and Greece and was recently in Romania, photographing the exodus of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.
Since 2018 he has been working as a photographer for the Umbria Film Festival: “I feel I have grown up in this festival, I still remember the emotion I felt the first year I photographed here and it is the same emotion I feel every time I return, when it begins to get dark and the lights of the village come on, the festival screen lights up and I feel enveloped by the magical light of this place”
Samuele Burattini was born in Montone in 1979. He has worked as an educator in a therapeutic community since 2007. He approaches photography as an autodidact. In 2019, with the therapeutic community where he works, he collaborated in the organization of a phototherapy workshop focused on emotions, producing a series of portraits with a strong emotional impact, later exhibited in the Sono exhibition. He currently makes his passion available by photographing the most important events organized in her country, including the Umbria Film Festival.
Rebecca Heyl is an artist, author and educator. She has been photographing the Umbria Film Festival since 1997, when the first edition took place in Montone. Rebecca worked as a newspaper photographer and studied photography in New York at the International Center of Photography (ICP), before coming to Italy. She is the author of the monograph Windows in the Wall, published in Milan by Skira 2008. Rebecca is currently based in Vancouver.
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