A (short) story of Bellaria Film Festival
Telling the story of the Bellaria Film Festival also means telling the story of Italian cinema, actually of a specific part of Italian cinema: the experimental, independent cinema. And it also means telling the story of the enthusiasm surrounding Italian cinema (the enthusiasm of those who made it and those who watched it) that there was in Italy in the 80s, from the Torino Film Festival to the Bergamo Film Meeting.
The Bellaria Film Festival began with the name “Anteprima per il cinema indipendente italiano” (something that sounds like ‘Preview for independent Italian cinema’) and had its first edition in August 1983, with the support and commitment of the Bellaria Igea Marina Tourist Board.
Already clear in its name, the nature and core of the festival were clear from the start: awarding the best independent Italian films.
The first edition had the direction of Ettore Zocaro, and was so successful that the director of the Tourist Board, Luigi Barberini, pushed for a second edition. Barberini involved Morando Morandini, a renowned film critic, who then brought Gianni Volpi onto the team.
From then on, the rest became an unforgettable part of Italian cinema history: together with Morandini and Volpi, Enrico Ghezzi joined the team in 1985, and Bellaria Igea Marina soon became a place to meet and welcome all those who loved cinema, starting to be visited by important names such as Goffredo Fofi, Paolo Mereghetti, Tonino Guerra, and Piera Detassis.
If one of the aims of a film festival is to point out new trends and languages producers and audiences, then Anteprima became a shining lighthouse.
Many names have passed through Bellaria Igea Marina and found their breakthrough or affirmation in Bellaria Film Festival: Matteo Garrone, Michelangelo Frammartino, Pietro Marcello, Yervant Gianikina and Angela Ricci Lucchi, Gianfranco Rosi, Paolo Benvenuti, Silvio Soldini, Agostino Ferrente, Paolo Sorrentino, Davide Ferrario, Ciprì and Maresco.
Between 1998 and 1999 Anteprima became part of the Adriaticocinema project, which was born from the union of three festivals in Romagna: Anteprima in Bellaria, Riminicinema in Rimini and MyFest in Cattolica.
When the Adriaticocinema experience ended, Anteprima resumed its programming and Enrico Ghezzi returned to direct the 2000 and 2001 editions, renaming the festival Anteprimaannozero. After Ghezzi, Morando Morandini returned as artistic director, accompanied by Antonio Costa and Daniele Segre, and the festival began to be known as Bellaria Film Festival.
Under the direction of Fabrizio Grosoli, the festival specialised in documentary cinema. After Grosoli, several artistic directors followed, Emma Neri, Fabio Toncelli, Roberto Naccari, Simone Bruscia and Marcello Corvino. In 2022, after almost 20 years, under the artistic direction of Daniela Persico and the managing direction of Approdi, the Festival reopens to all kind of film, bringing back the two historic awards: Casa Rossa and Gabbiano.
Group photo during the third edition of Anteprima, with staff, directors and guests, 1987.
Photo by Viola Farassino, from the private archive of Luigi Barberini.