Building Bridges: Emerging Filmmakers Awards



Ticket Prices
General Public:FREE EVENT
Film Info
Program:Italian Film Festival
Runtime:40 min


Ceremony + Screening

FREE and open to the public

post-screening Q&A with visiting and local filmmakers and jurors

With this second edition of the Building Bridges: Emerging Filmmakers Awards, we continue to celebrate connections between Italy and Minnesota through film. These awards recognize short works by new filmmakers in each place. This year’s theme, “Water” (acqua in Italian) asked filmmakers to present their very own artistic and/or poetic interpretation of water. Water is the key to life. Water runs the world. It is also what defines and connects us, from beautiful Venice to the beloved State of “clear blue water”, Minnesota, from the pristine shores of the Amalfi Coast to the fragile sanctuary of the Boundary Waters.

Water is powerful yet scarce and precious. It brings life as well as it takes it. It impacts our way of living and vice versa. Water can generate violence and struggles over territory between communities and nations. It is also source of incredible beauty, deeply anchored into civilizations and their beliefs.

Our talented jurors— Tommaso Cammarano, Eric D. Howell, Emily Downes and Jila Nikpay —selected four films from this year’s competition.

Dedicated to Massimo Bonavita, former president and co-founder of the ICC. Sponsored by KNOCK, Inc. and our generous Give to The Max Donors.

WINNER - Best Short Italy
Mauro Maugeri | 15 min.

In the seaside village of Santa Maria la Scala, in Sicily, the feast of the Madonna is the occasion to repopulate the houses and the harbor, kept silent for the rest of the year. Young fishermen, old people and children are the living body of archaic rites connected to water that recognize them as a community blessed by the sea. They come from all over the Mediterranean Sea to celebrate an explosive "baptism" where there’s room for everyone.

Director: Born 1981 in Catania, Mauro Maugeri graduated in 2003 from the Department of Television and Film Script-writing, Roma 3 University, Italy. In 2008 graduated MA of Literature and Youth Publishing from the Department of Educational Science, Roma 3 University, Italy. Since the 90’s he works as cameraman and film-editor for RAI, Mediaset and local televisions public procurements; he writes, directs and edits all his short films. In 2005 he joined the Scarti Cultural Association who promotes the Magma-International Short Film Festival. Since 2006 he leads audio visual seminars for children and youth in various schools and Training organizations. In his career he worked for Rai, Mediaset, Sky, Fondazione Vodafone Italia, Eni-Snam, CSC, Fondazione con il Sud. He is actually responsible of the cultural activities promoted by Arci Catania Territorial Committee and member of the National Board of UCCA (Union of Arci Film Social Clubs).

HOMECOMING – A Boundary Waters Story
WINNER - Best Short Minnesota
Joe Fairbanks | 9 min.

HOMECOMING is a paddling adventure that raises awareness about the threat of proposed sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota.

Director: Joe was raised on the North Shore of Lake Superior. His passion for conservation comes from a deep sense of place and appreciation of the natural landscape of Northern Minnesota. In 2017 he graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Film & Media Studies and Government. At Dartmouth, he earned the Maurice H. Rapf '35 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film & Media Studies and in 2018 he was named a J. Blaire Watson Award winner.

Giulia Di Battista, Gloria Kurnik | 9 min.

Love is a net that traps the mind, but she’s not the only one. Vittoria learned to make fishing nets as a very young girl and now from the perspective of old age she will tell us that we all swim in the sea full of them, the social “norms”, toxic relationships, our own preconceptions to name just a few. How do they determine our lives and where do we go when we need to grasp for air?

Directors: Giulia Di Battista was born in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, in 1992. With her first short film, a documentary entitled Rèsce La Lune, she has become one of the six directing students at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome, 2016/2018. With Rèsce La Lune she also participated in many festivals, winning the best short film at the ICFF of Toronto (2016), "Most Moving Film" at the Sczcecin European Film Festival (2016), best short film and best screenplay at the Aqua Film Festival (2017), special mention at the Moviemmece festival (2017), best short film at the Fluvione Corto Festival (2017) and best documentary at the International Tour Film Festival (2018). Recently she received a special mention for the film La Barbaresca at the Valeria Solesin award. With her short film One Hundred Squared Meters she participates in the Schools Without Borders section of the Locarno Film Festival 2019.

FINALIST - Minnesota
Brenda Piekarski | 7 min.

In 2017, Jay Gustafson launched Paddle for Progress, a two-year, 4,300-mile personal journey in response to Governor Dayton's call for water action. Jay's mission to reconnect humanity with one of our most precious resources took him to the most remote and least visited corners of Minnesota, as well as through nearly every major community in the state. Alone in the wilderness, Jay reminds us how we are all linked to water, one of the most powerful elements on earth that is in a constant state of danger. His passion for paddling and call to something greater than himself leads us down water trails into our own spirit's journey and connection with the earth. Waterway Jay is the story of this one man's journey to save water, and how we are connected to it all.

Director: Born in Minnesota, Piekarski is an avid rock climber and filmmaker. She launched Adventure Minnesota Films and the Among the Wild film project in 2012 with the goal of creating a series of films that capture the essence of outdoor adventure in Minnesota by following athletes in fierce pursuit of their chosen sport. Piekarski has worked over 15 years in the video and film industry, and the Among the Wild film project is the culmination of her passion for adventure and her skills as a filmmaker.

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