By Joey Aguilar /Staff Reporter
The Italian embassy in Doha is implementing this year “an intense cultural programme” with Qatari cultural institutions in the fields of arts, especially in cinematography, in music, museums and cultural heritage protection, Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano has announced.
“I am proud to show to Qatari friends the excellent achievements obtained by our movie industry through the work of Alida Cappellini and Giovanni Licheri,” the envoy told Gulf Times.
He noted that the two talented Italian movie set-designers are well-known in Qatar for having designed the scenography of the Sea’s Secret, a 2011 production on the story of the country. Salzano was speaking at the ‘Fare Cinema, The Italian Movie Industry’ symposium on Sunday at the Bin Jelmood House, an event organised by the embassy, in co-operation with Msheireb Museums.
The event showcased the works of Cappellini and Licheri and how movie set-design is crucial for successful films and how this contributes significantly to distinguish the Italian film-making industry abroad. The two movie set-designers were joined by Dr Cherif Amor, chair and professor of design at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar.
According to the envoy, Fare Cinema is an initiative promoted internationally by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation in more than 100 capitals, including Doha. “This is also to embrace the increased demand of Italian cultural presence in Qatar that – as (Qatar Museums chairperson) HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has highlighted – is growing higher and higher,” he said.
Citing the Italian cinematography’s popularity all over the world, Salzano noted that Italy is the country that has won most Oscars in the foreign language film category at the Academy Awards. It also bagged several Oscars awards in other crucial categories.
“Who doesn’t know the iconic symbols of our cinema: actors such as Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni; movie-directors such as Vittorio De Sica and Bernardo Bertolucci, and the youngest generation, Roberto Benigni, Paolo Sorrentino and Gianfranco Rosi,” he said.
The envoy cited the Venice International Film Festival as one of the biggest events to promote international cinema in all its forms, both as art and entertainment and as industry. “The famous studios of Cinecitta in Rome are home to the most experienced set-designers and builders in the world, talented artisans that have passed their skills and secrets down through several generations,” he added.
“Movie set-designers do not appear in front of a camera. They work behind the scenes to create a true and realistic environment in which the plot unfolds, to build the atmosphere of the story, and to fill in the space with feelings and emotions,” Salzano said.
He noted that the symposium tries to explain the crucial role played by set-designers: the choice of beautiful locations, of magnificent architecture and original pieces of design, the attention to furniture, details and style, which make the “Made in Italy” cinema unique in the world. “Thanks to the creative genius of our committed and dedicated ‘experts of the trade’, our culture, with its long history, language and tradition, is largely diffused abroad,” the envoy pointed out.
He said Italy has a great tradition of quality cinema and its contemporary film production is supported as an integral part of the promotion of ‘Brand Italy’ to enhance “a positive image of our country all over the world.”
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