The Regional Government of Tuscany is backing its film festivals through the Mediateca Regionale Toscana Film Commission.
The goal is to internationalize the region, to inform the world about its film productions, fashion, music and local products.
The Snug Harbor project meets these requirements by creating an event that will focus on the various aspects of “Tuscan-ness”: “along with the films, we will also be telling people more about our food and wine products and the latest expressions of our traditional crafts”, says Stefania Ippoliti, director of the Mediateca Regionale Toscana Film Commission.
The Festival dei Popoli will also launch a series of events lasting one week, from 29th May to 6th June, at the “Tuscan Villa”, together with Toscana Promozione, the regional agency for foreign promotion.
From the autumn, a “taste” of themed courses will also be available, one on Tuscan cuisine, focusing first of all on how to find the right ingredients, and another on interior decoration. An event within the event: the inauguration of the Villa Gamberaia gardens, based on the original at Settignano.
“A delegation from the Puccini Festival will also be with us to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Puccini, with a recital of arias by the great musician”.
The initiative, financed by the Regional Government of Tuscany to the tune of 150 thousand euros trough Toscana Promozione, aims to lay the foundations for a long-term project:
“Snug Harbor will be our Tuscan home in New York”, says Ippoliti, “our presence is already scheduled to last for at least three years, a period of time which will allow us to realize a series of promotional activities together with the City of New York and the Snug Harbor Foundation”.
Ippoliti believes in the role of festivals as “ambassadors” for Tuscany around the world.
This has strongly characterized the Tuscan Film Commission’s mission. As the director explains: “We believe that festivals are one more tool that we can use to stimulate tourism and attract production companies.
This does not mean relegating the maximization of locations to second place, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to that as well.
We have simply realized that the attraction festivals can exercise on a professional public should not be underestimated”.
Similarly, other regional festivals are being given new “responsibilities”. Such as, for instance, Europa Cinema which, every year, focuses on a different european country.
And N.I.C.e., the Florentine festival that, 19 years ago, was the first to leave the confines of the “Grand Duchy” and which “at every stage of its travels around the world will dedicate some space to the Tuscan cinema of today and of the past”.
And the International Short Film Festival at Capalbio which, this year, will be focusing on Norway. “In March next year, the festival will be bringing short films by some of the great masters of Italian cinema to Norway, together with the best of Tuscan cinema, using cruise ships traveling along the fjords as a venue. These types of cruises attract a large international public and we will be able to develop some interesting marketing proposals”, says Ippoliti.
A “TUSCANY VILLAGE” AT SNUG HARBOR
Snug Harbor is an area of around 40 hectares located on Staten Island, situated at the entrance to New York Bay, with around 500 thousand inhabitants, more than half of which are of Italian origin.
In 1976, New York City designated buildings and gardens created in this area as a cultural center.
The Cultural Center features various institutions and local and national organizations, including a Botanical Garden with various themed gardens such as the Chinese Garden (financed by the Chinese Government), the English Garden with a boxwood hedge maze and greenhouses with rare plants, and the “Tuscan Garden”, which reproduces the Renaissance style garden of Gamberaia in Settignano, to be inaugurated during the event at the end of May.
Following a request made by the Tuscan Association of New York, in 2003 the Regional Council of Tuscany made a donation of $ 100,000 which made it possible to establish a solid relationship with the Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
Now New York has its own “Tuscan Village”, consisting of a “Tuscan Garden”, a “Tuscan Villa” and a “Craft House”, the latter two buildings each covering an area of around 500 sq. meters, which can be used for holding exhibitions and events thanks to the availability of two theaters with, respectively, 700 seats and 200 seats.