Dispatch from Cine Migratorio co-founder Libby Masback, who attended Terra di Tutti Film Festival in Bologna, Italy on behalf of Cine Migratorio.
Last week I attended Terra di Tutti, a film festival dedicated to bringing moving images of the Global South to Bologna, Italy. Terra di Tutti has been Cine Migratorio’s partner since the beginning, sharing with us their films, their experience and their support.
In their sixth year, Terra di Tutti knows what they are doing. They say they don’t, but they do. Arriving a few hours before the festival began, I walked in upon members of the team scrambling to set up chairs, mop the floors, cook the buffet food, put up posters, etc. Everybody around – chefs, technicians, radio DJs, filmmakers — was pitching in. The result: a warehouse converted into a lovely cinema, a seamless screening of interesting films, and a full house.
Terra di Tutti enjoys such support because of their commitment to their community. The first night of the event was held at TPO, an occupied space that has been offering Italian classes, legal advising, gym services, concerts, radio shows and film screenings to the community for the past 15 years. Organized by the NGOs COSPE (Cooperation for the Development of Emerging Countries) and GVC (Civil Voluntary Group), Terra di Tutti has been able to connect several such centers and organizations across Bologna and Europe.
Such collaborations prove fertile ground for film festivals. Terra di Tutti screened a large array of films, including several films focusing on migration in Italy. I found these films exceptional because they not only portrayed the life of a migrant in Italy, they showed the lives that their protagonists lived – and continue to live – in their home countries. The filmmakers made impressive efforts to film a more complete view of the subject’s life.
What’s more, many films moved beyond the standard migrant narrative to really examine the environmental, cultural, familial, political, and economic factors that motivate one to leave home. “Mare Chiuso” by Stefano Liberti and Andrea Segre document the path of many Libyan refugees through Tunisia and Italy, detailing the political decisions that have shaped their lives. Al Jazeera’s documentary “The Nigerian Connection”, exposed many of the ways in which “Madames” con young women into moving to Europe and working in the sex industry. In “La Boda”, by Marina Serensky, whose film “Madres 0’15 El Minuto” screened in Cine Migratorio, narrates the story of a Cuban woman working in Spain, who spends a week preparing herself to be present at her daughters wedding – over the phone.
Among these films were a few that had been screened by Cine Migratorio. “Me Llamo Peng” by Victoria Molina de Carranza and Jahel Guerra Roa drew comments from the crowd about how rare it is to see such an intimate portrayal of life as a Chinese migrant in Europe. And the simplistic power of “Gato Encerrado” by Peque Varela, once again became a much talked about crowd favorite.
Overall, Terra di Tutti powerfully utilized the power of films to expand our minds and worlds. Rarely seen are videos of migrant boat journeys, daily life in Kabul, parkour in Palestine, or Nigerian Jujau rituals. Watching a full cinema watch these films, I was reminded about how important film festivals are.
We are grateful for our partnership with Terra di Tutti and everyone else that helps Cine Migratorio grow!