The Adriatic Film Festival runs every September in the coastal city of Pescara in Italy and completed its 2nd edition on Sunday 22 September 2019.
The festival aims to introduce audiences in Abruzzo to features and shorts from across Europe and to bring film industry speakers to provide insights into current issues and topics in film and its relation to wider society. Although the AFF has only just completed its second edition, it feels like a festival that’s been around for some time.
It’s a very polished affair, complemented by its modern and comfortable location. The venue in the Palazzo Sirena is modern and attractive, a circular tower that recalls ancient towers and sits like a drum beside a busy beach. It’s an excellent venue, with an airy breakout/networking space which was used for video interviews and frequent wine tasting and nibbles. The gathering of small crowds here was usually a sign of the imminent arrival of another batch of excellent Abruzzese wine, which was quickly distributed post screening.
The AFF boasts a large team of enthusiastic staff, from the calm and unflappable director Guido Casale to the polished and smooth performance of the host – the film critic Francesco di Brigida – to the young staff that manned the networking area.
The films were carefully curated and the visiting guests ranged from the somewhat unorthodox Alessandro Haber (Il Conformista) and the very talented actress Lucianna De Falco (The Contagion) to talented young shorts directors from across Europe. A strong Italian presence included winner of best director, Angela Bevilacqua and a host of very talented and hyper-friendly young filmmakers.
There’s a great energy to the AFF – with a busy breakout area next to the box office, interviews being conducted amid the general milling around of leisured patrons which gave the event a certain relaxed detachment from the hyper activity of the young volunteers, while the periodic arrival of another famous Italian film personality generated a new buzz amid the large crowds that gathered nightly at the Palazzo.
As an event, the AFF is to be highly recommended and the AFF logo – a classical period bronze helmet – may reflects the area’s past but this is a festival with a long future.