#21 – Year One
#21 – Year One
365 days ago this little adventure had its start, following a quite long period of preparation but in the end with only a few pages to showcase. When I edited L’Africa in Italia in 2013, I had over 500 biosheets, ready to be shared online but in Italian. Despite the collaboration of Maria Coletti, my partner in life and in research, and of a small team of undergraduate students of my Faculty at Roma Tre University, on October 1st, 2015, to be released was only a slight percentage of these sheets. To be honest, even now, my dashboard counts 334 articles online and 358 waiting to be edited, translated, updated and published. Little by little we’ll do it. But this year was crucial to verify the space existing around this little bet, and as for that, let me say the challenge is won. In these 12 months, this blog has reached almost the entire globe, if you take a look at the location of the readers, spread all over the 5 continents and visualized by the reference image of this article. Of course, Italians are the majority, fidelized by the reference to Italian cinema but also by the parallel work done on our social media, Facebook and Twitter, most of the time aimed to reach an Italian audience, but this intervention platform, elaborated informally in an English as lingua franca approach, could reach hundreds of followers all over the countries with a strong film market and tradition, from United States to France, through United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, and so on.
In this year we had to add new biosheets, keeping up with what was going on in Italian film and TV industry. Something new is happening. A market niche is slowly emerging in the film and TV audience for productions starring also Afrodescendant actors and actresses and, even more important than that, even mainstream agencies, such as RAI, the Italian public broadcaster, are finally starting to invest into TV series promoting another image of Italian society, more inclusive and conscious of its multicultural dimension. Much work is still to be done to foster this trend, to have more and more round characters expression of this plural society that is actually already there, to empower Italian-born and based actors and actresses, convincing the producers to cast them rather than looking in the portfolio of European agencies. The battle is even more challenging when it comes to off screen filmmakers, who work on the set as directors, producers, screenplayers, cinematographers, editors, and so on. Actually when on the Spring of this year, the long awaited project of law on film industry started to find its way in the Italian parliament, as collective #peruncinemadiverso (read our manifesto), we started to realize at last that the lack of diversity was not penalizing only Afrodescendant filmmakers, but a far wide umbrella of components of Italian society: women, LGBT subjects, first and second generation immigrants, stateless persons, persons with disabilities or coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This new law (DDL n. 2287 on film and audiovisual industry) that is going to be approved in these weeks threatens to slow the hand of history, as 85% of resources are to be put to support societies that produced the films in the box office top positions and those awarded in the big-league film festivals, and only 15% of the money – or rather what is left after what is to be given to Biennale, Istituto Luce, Cineteca Nazionale, and other cultural film institutions – is aimed to empower first works, art-house films, avant-garde films, films trying to give expression to diversity, cultural minorities and so on. If, as we have to admit, this battle on the law is clearly to be lost, as the small world of Italian film and TV industry is still not too sensitive to issues of diversity, we have to get prepared to a medium term, strategic initiative, aiming to involve all the actors of Italian diversity in order to count more, and have the market stakeholders to respond, as the political class showed all its limits on this issue. As for this, this blog will go on trying to empower Afrodescendant filmmakers on and off screen, but hopefully as part of a far wide cultural platform aiming to promote diversity in a 360-degree approach. Let me invite, at last, all those wishing to share this aim to contribute to this blog that was never intended to give expression to an “I” but rather to a “We”. Feel free to express yourselves, by responding to our posts and by reaching us on our social media.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi
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