This past weekend, NYU Florence students participated in Florence’s Queer Film Festival.
The Queer Film Festival, which started in 2003, is the most important Tuscan festival dedicated to queer culture. It is organized by the IREOS association in Florence. Through film, video, theater, photography, and literature, the festival showcases the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex experience and point of view, and explores a queer identity in continuous movement, contributing to the breaking down of stereotypes.
NYU Florence students Sofia Sacal, Scout Satterfield, Sophia Warren and Mia Perez served on a jury that had the honor of awarding the Festival’s prize for Best Short Film. After meeting virtually with NYU Tisch School of the Arts Film Professor Gail Segal, who offered some tips about how to organize their work, the students dove in to a week of screenings of 12 short films that addressed themes as diverse as discovering one’s sexual identity, to the ins and outs of romantic relationships, and the discrimination sometimes faced by queer communities.
After a record short deliberation time, the students unanimously awarded the Festival’s Best Short Film prize to the film Mrs. McCutcheon by Australian filmmaker John Sheedy (2017). Mrs. McCutcheon explores the experience of 10 year old Tom, who feels he was born in the wrong body, and has trouble finding a place and being accepted in school (he has transferred schools 3 times), until a new friend and a school dance revolutionize everything.
Jury members Scout Satterfield and Sofia Sacal announced the prize winner, in English and Italian, at the Festival’s Closing Ceremony on Sunday October 7 at Cinema La Compagnia in downtown Florence:
“Mrs. McCutcheon provides a full sensory experience, allowing the audience to immerse itself in a world of vibrant colors and overall beautiful cinematography. Everything from its use of music and sound to costume and expert set design adds to the experience of this particular film and shows the detail and ambition of its directors. By using the perspective of children, the film allows for a raw and honest representation of the experience of finding your personal identity. Finally, Mrs. McCutcheon offers a unique message about the importance of the public normalization of queerness amongst youth which is not typically portrayed within queer cinema.”
“Mrs. McCutcheon offre allo spettatore un’esperienza sensoriale unica e gli permette di immergersi in mondo di colori vibranti e di vivere un’avventura cinematografica coinvolgente. Tutto, dall’utilizzo della musica ai costumi alla scenografia contribuisce a renderlo un film speciale e mostra l’attenzione ai dettagli e l’ambizione del regista. L’utilizzo del punto di vista dei bambini offre inoltre una rappresentazione onesta e essenziale del percorso che porta alla formazione dell’identita’ di ciascuno di noi. Infine Mrs. McCutcheon veicola un messaggio fondamentale sull’importanza della normalizzazione dell’essere “queer” che non troviamo spesso nel cinema queer.”
NYU Florence also hosted filmmaker, and NYU alumni, Caroline Berler during the festival. Berler presented her latest film Dykes, Camera, Action! at the festival on Saturday night and engaged in a discussion with the audience. The film follows the history of filmmaking by lesbian filmmakers – featuring interviews with pioneers like Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Rose Troche, Cheryl Dunye, Yoruba Richen, Desiree Akhavan, Vicky Du, film critic B. Ruby Rich, and Jenni Olson – and explores how queer identity has been expressed through film and has contributed to the transformation of the social imagination about queerness.
Berler met with a group of students for Brunch on Sunday at Feltrinelli Red to talk about her path from being an aspiring student filmmaker to producing her first documentary and had a lot of advice for students about networking in the film industry in New York.
Thank you to all who participated to make this yet another successful edition of Florence’s Queer Film Festival!
And a very special thanks to Gail Segal, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, for her support.