I conducted my secondment at Festival dei Popoli in Florence from the 14th of October to the 15th of November 2022. Festival dei Popoli is an esteemed international film festival that annually showcases a wide range of documentary films across various locations in Florence. While the festival format follows a traditional approach, what sets it apart is the choice of unconventional venues for film screenings, often unrelated to the cinematic world. Throughout the event, documentary films are curated and exhibited not only in traditional movie theatres such as Cinema Stensen and Spazio Alfieri but also in unique locations like Teatro La Compagnia, a former theatre, the Murate Art District, a vibrant cultural hub, and even the 25h Hotel, one of the hotels in Florence. I was lucky to be in Florence during the festival and therefore I had the chance to attend the film projections.
I participated in the SPACEX project as a film scholar and curator with an interest in the relationship between film projections and placemaking. My doctoral research investigates the extent to which outdoor film projections can reconfigure and even create alternative urban setting. I propose this practice as ‘cinematic placemaking’. I immediately realised that the Festival – and its unconventional places – was carrying out a similar approach even if with different aims.
During my collaboration with the curatorial team and certain members of the Festival programming, I gained a valuable opportunity to delve into the intricate workings of a film festival. Additionally, during my secondment, I seized the chance to develop a SPACEX project that harmoniously combines my curatorial approach to cinema as place-maker with the Festival’s more socio-oriented perspective.
The key to the development of the project was the walks through Florence and the Festival locations, as well as the conversations with Vittorio Iervese, the Festival director, and his fantastic team. Living in Florence for a month and understanding how the city could interact with a potential outdoor film event laid the foundation upon which we later formulated a project together. The project proposal was presented at the SPACEX Trianing Event in Florence in November. We hope to bring it to fruition in the near future.