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history of Festival Internazionale del Film sull'Arte e di Biografie d'Artisti

After a long break the Art Film Festival was re-established in  2001 as “AsoloArtFilmFestival”. Its origins date back to 1973, when Flavia Paulon together with the local authority decided to encourage the cultural awakening of Asolo’s small town, by creating the “Festival Internazionale del Film sull’Arte e di Biografie d’Artisti”, destined to become right from its first edition one of the most important exhibitions in the world.Flavia Paulon, critic, writer and a significant presence in the Venice Film Festival for 40 years, was disappointed that the Biennale, after the dispute in 1968, had abandoned the Art Film Festival and other minor film exhibitions.

Some years later she grabbed the opportunity to launch an independent Art Film Festival in Asolo, seeing it as an important occasion to enrich cinematography worldwide. Furthermore, Asolo’s history and beauty made it the right place to organise it. The Festival, therefore, began in 1973. Flavia Paulon, other than being its founder, was also its artistic director until 1982, for a total of 10 editions, during which the exhibition reached great international success.

The Festival, supported by the UNESCO, introduced every year some of the best unpublished works in Italy, based on Art as the main theme, and produced during a period of two years. Furthermore, Enrico Fulchignoni, the chairman of the International Cinema and Television Council became a permanent member of the jury.

To guarantee the quality of the Festival, Flavia Paulon was always very cautious when choosing the jury members and invited well-known people from the cinema and visual arts field, such as: the art critics Guido Perocco, Umbro Apollonio, François Le Targat, the cinema critics Mario Verdone, Nedo Ivaldi, the famous french art dealer Aimé Maeght, the Belgian film director Henri Stork.  Even the selection of films for the competition was preceded by an accurate and systematic research, that Flavia Paulon personally handled, thanks to her competence in the cinema world and her contacts with the right people in the field, accumulated during many years of hard work in the Venice Film Festival. The selection was so rigorous and the quality level so elevated, that after just a few editions, the Festival’s prestige was known worldwide.

If we glance at the list of over four hundred  film titles that competed during the first ten years of the Festival, we come across names of famous film directors and artists such as: Alain Resnais, Andrej Tarkovskij, Jean Rouch, Henri Stork, Luciano Emmer, Giorgio Treves, Fabrizio Plessi, Gaetano Pesci, Luca Verdone. The Festival distinguished itself right from the first edition where Andrej Tarkovskij was awarded the Gran Premio Asolo for his “Andrei Rubliëv”, a film on the life of this famous Russian artist, author of the best 15th century miniature paintings.

The aim of the Festival was to display works of art otherwise unknown to the public, therefore filling the empty spaces left by the film distribution and the television system. The Asolo Festival’s intent was fully achieved and its quality and originality were later a model for other important exhibitions in the world. The public authority’s support played an important role in its success, as they were convinced that the Festival would be a significant resource for the territory.

This faith was broken in the 90’s and the Asolo festival was suddenly interrupted.The Festival was recreated in the year 2001 as “AsoloArtFilmFestival”, and in 2002 A.I.A.F. – AsoloInternationalArtFestival was formed, a non-profit association whose main goal is to bring back to life and further develop this festival and the “Festival Internazionale del Cartone Animato” (today called “AsoloCartoonFestival”), also established by Flavia Paulon in 1974.The Festival’s prospect is to regain the same importance and support as it had in its first years.


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