Action! It’s film tourism

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What has the Aragonese Castle in common with the villa near Punta Caruso or the Citara beach with the farmhouse overlooking the promontory of San Pancrazio or the village of Sant’Angelo with the summit of Monte Epomeo? Ischia, like its wonders, is not limited and to tell it you can use hundreds of ways. Through the mountain trails climbing over the summit or with the feet in the granular sand of its beaches or overlook the Zaro viewpoint, looking at land, sea and sky blend into an ideal horizon whose line is intertwined with the Church of Soccorso.

Ischia has given rise to painters, artists and poets, and hosted many others who came out of the continent. In addition, for some it has become a permanent home of life of desires. It has welcomed directors who have turned their sights into indelible images by making them such as collective memory of the world. It screened scenes in their eyes to create films such as “The Crimson Pirate” - 1952, directed by Robert Siodmak with actors such as Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat and Eva Burton - who for the first time brought the spell of the exciting panoramas of the Aragonese Castle to an international audience.
When people go around the island, wonder what it was like in the past with the typical still-sunset scenes where land and magic, nowadays, encourage the exchange of jokes and pastimes in the same way as Hollywood stars.

The ideal would be to sit on a spaceship to go back in time and shake hands at haughty Angelo Rizzoli and getting comfortable to fulfill the voyeurism of those who know that will break the love between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. In addition during the filming of “Cleopatra” - 1963, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz - participated numerous extras and involved the water in front of the village of Celsa and the old town. The island of Ischia is not just an island. It is a world that holds seductive locations and each one tells its story. It is a tour that does not miss the chance to witness its performance even thanks to the Ischia Film Festival of Michelangelo Messina. In 2003, he invented the neologism “Cineturismo” by proposing it as a link between film tourism to be developed and exported to the four corners of the globe, starting from Ischia and the island.  

The Aragonese Castle is for 15 years thanks to Mr. Messina the “glocal” location and a meeting point for a cinema full of novelty and real temple for connoisseurs. A postcard from June 24 to July 1 will feature the international universe of artists, actors, directors representing the worlds, including cinemas, where strangeness and wonders coexist. The same ones you can observe on a tour that should be planned to discover glimpses of life and truths hidden from north to south of this natural set of the Mediterranean Sea.



The Michelangelo Festival

by Graziano Petrucci

In 2003 he invented the neologism «Cinetourism». Co-ordinator in Basilicata of a project for the promotion of the territory, Michelangelo Messina is the founder of the Ischia Film Festival, today in its XVth edition. Exhibitions, screenings, contests and conferences will fill the days from June 24 to July 1. With humility and a touch of pride, he talks about evolutions and desires that interweave with the island and how will be this XVth edition. He finds new challenges and has a dream: conquer the island and the islanders.

What is culture and how does it combine with cinema?
Culture in Italy is an instrument to be used to immerse yourself in that area of personal conscience to safeguard a common good. Culture is a common good, a tangible asset and not, of which we should all have respect and diffusion. It is knowledge of its historicity, respect for the other opinion, its artistic, linguistic and landscape heritage. Cinema is the largest speaker of culture and visions, and being the most powerful medium of communication (even in web) you have to be careful about the messages it sends through its works. Suffice to say that for years led us to believe that the Indians were bad and the cowboys were good. Like any mass media, it is important to understand whom and by whom interests is managed.
Have you become events organizer or have you always been?
For all, “it becomes” through experience, work, humility, and sacrifice. Those who do their job passionately have an extra gear.
 We are at the XVth edition of IFF. In short, a teenager will celebrate the entry into the adult world. How has it changed in all this time?
He has made his natural journey and as a child has faced joys and sorrows, bullying and appreciation, he has been born and die; but he is always here, ready to pick up new challenges to move on its path.  
What has not been achieved and will it be its goal in the future?
One definitely never gets a goal and this is the challenge. With and for the festival I have reached fares and distant places but I still have to conquer the island. Among the future goals is to have those international guests who have not yet honored their presence. However, I am tenacious in achieving my goals. This year we will have a guest that I personally went to invite his home, halfway around the world.
Rediscovering the territory with cineturism associated with territorial marketing. A direction that many are valuing to give tourists the chance to visit places that have become famous thanks to movies or TV series.
What is our status on the island, what can we do to develop the industry?
Since the birth of neologism, which I conceived in 2003 (it is not my presumption), we have proposed for island and regional pride, several initiatives in the Municipalities and the Region, which unfortunately did not find interest. The same initiatives, however, have found a great deal of other regions that now collect their fruits, such as Basilicata where I am coordinator of a national model-project on promoting the land through Cineturism.


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Which are the three places of Ischia tied to many movies that have indelibly imprinted them in common memory?
Billy Wilder’s “Avanti” at the Church of Soccorso - S.Angelo “After the fox” with Peter Sellers - Ischia Ponte “Cleopatra” – “The Talented Mr. Ripley” – “The Crimson Pirate”.
The impression is that the Campania Region is somewhat distract towards IFF. This is not the case for other events, especially from the point of view of resources. How do you explain it?
It’s not an impression. The IFF that has been delocalized since the first edition with a “Cinema & Territory” project, compares and obtains international awards: over one hundred degree theses and numerous conferences abroad. The festival facing the national phenomenon of Cineturism in the interest of Italian and foreign speakers as well as the world of audiovisual production. Nevertheless, the Region does not consider it a major event and favors other initiatives. I have to think or that the rest of the world is wrong with us; or the power is tied to lobbying and personalistic systems. All this to this day. With the new movie law, I think the system will change.
Why does Ischia fail to make a “system”?
I think between Municipalities or in services, so to support initiatives that make it good.
It is not that you do not succeed, you do not want to. It is evident that personalistic systems (electoral and private) are triggered that do not allow for a far-sighted vision of their heritage.
Which guests will we see this year at IFF?
As with the past editions, major international names and young promises of Italian cinema.
Organizing a kermesse like this is not easy. What is the relationship with time?
“Time is what you make of it”. Aware of this, I try to have him as friend by my side.
You has taken part in international events and shows outside of Italy. How do they see us abroad and what differences, or distrusts, they show towards the island of Ischia?
On the one hand they envy the extraordinary beauty that this territory offers, on the other they perceive (in silence) ways and systems still full of provincialism.
Image of having magic wand: how would the island’s face change?
More than changing the “face” of the island, I hope that changes the island’s “head” and realizes that we lose more and more our cultural identity each year.
For the 15th year of IFF has you some surprises?
A new edition is always full of surprises; the world of celluloid always proposes new languages. This year, apart from the competition, we chose not to have an out-of-competition section to give more room for a festival view as a hub to learn the importance of cinema in the social and territorial fabric. In return, we will have retrospectives and homage to great authors.

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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