The Festival starts today, Sunday 18 July at 7.30 pm in the Garden with the presentation of the book “The Lesson of the Elephant” by Marco Rizzo in the presence of the author. The narrative is inspired by real experiences of asylum seekers and is full of historical details. The protagonist is Sekou, a thirteen-year-old book lover from Timbuktu, whose life was turned upside down by the civil war that broke out in Mali in 2012 and the imposition of sharia law by the jihadists. During the clashes Sekou’s father dies, while his brother Ousmane, first, and Sekou, later, flee to Italy. Thus follows the painful journey through the Sahara, the arrival in Libya, the stay in a prison, the sea voyage aboard a boat and finally the arrival in a reception center in Sicily. Retracing the adventurous life of Seikou, Rizzo recounts the Malian civil war, jihadist extremism and sharia law, the humanitarian emergency in Africa, immigration to Italy and ties with Libya. But also the love for books as an instrument of emancipation, memory and testimony.

At 9.15 pm the Opening Ceremony of the 13th edition and in the Garden, followed by the first shorts, animations, documentaries and fiction films in competition.

At 10.15 pm for the animation competition Le Renard et L’Oisille by Sam and Fred Guillaume (Switzerland, Belgium). A lone fox becomes a father to a newborn bird. They form a family until fate shows that they have to go their separate ways.

At 10.30 pm for the documentary competition I Am Greta – A force of nature by Nathan Grossman, from Sweden. The director follows Greta Thunberg, a teenage Swedish climate activist, in her international crusade to get people to listen to scientists about the world’s environmental problems.

On the beach at 10.30 pm the Italian Winter by Giulio Mastromauro, best short film at the David di Donatello 2020. Timo, the smallest of a Greek community of carouselers, finds himself facing the harshest winter together with his loved ones. At 22:50 from France Le Musicien by Reza Riahi. During a ferocious attack, a young musician and the love of his life are brutally separated from each other. Fifty years later, the musician is called to play at the Mongolian castle where his beloved was kept.

At 11.10 pm for feature films from India, Khape by Suchita Bhhatia arrives with Aditya Lakhia, Chirag Modi, Karan Patel. Ali, 9, lives in a world where education has no value. His friends work as factory workers. Despite living in a community where education is disapproved, Ali’s father insists that he be educated for the opportunities it offers.

Monday 19 July between 13: 30-14: 30 and 15: 00-16: 00 on the Lungomare “Free from plastic” a collection of plastic and waste from the sea with the use of Stand Up Paddle. An instructor will teach the basics to use the SUP board independently and collect as much plastic as possible from the sea, by SUPrising (reservations must be made for the event).

In the Garden, the presentation of the book “Tale Sciascia” by Angelo Campanella and Giuseppe Maurizio Piscopo, both present at the festival. With “The day of the owl”, Leonardo Sciascia was the first author to talk about the mafia in a novel; but the writer of Racalmuto was much more than this; in his works the key themes of Sicilianity and the universal issues of man find space: being, death, memory, the beyond. His lucid gaze on the world still offers today, one hundred years after his birth, interesting ideas for reading the Contemporary. The authors analyze the salient, less known, curious aspects concerning the life of Sciascia and his vast production. The text is divided into major themes – the school, the mafia, faith, cinema, theater, justice, parties, travel, religiosity, painting, photography, the hopes and dreams of Sicilians – to provide to all those who do not know him, starting with school children, a key to access the writer’s work, and together to offer a large amount of ideas, anecdotes and rarities that will entice the fans of Sciascia.

Also in the Garden for the short film competition starting at 9.15 pm A Fistful of Rubbish by David Regos, from Spain with an Italian premiere, is set in the Tabernas desert in Spain. The only desert in Europe and an area known for being the backdrop for many famous Sergio Leone films, unfortunately it is an area plagued by waste. But a group of locals are forming a team and taking matters into their own hands.

Jabal – The Mountain of Alessio Genovese in Italian preview. Giusy is tired of living in the community in which she grew up, in the indifference of the older ones and the hostility of her companions. She decides to cut the ties that force her and ventures alone through the streets of a gray and aggressive Palermo.

At 22.00 for UMA docs: A Water Crisis in Bolivia by Ana Llacer, from the USA in an Italian preview. Three indigenous communities in Bolivia fight to protect their water resources from diversion and contamination in the midst of a national water crisis. UMA takes us on a journey from the tropical Andean glaciers and the highest navigable lake in the world to the mines of Oruro and the disappeared lake of Poopò. It is the story of women and of displacement, resistance and the struggle for environmental justice.

Out of competition at 11.30 pm the special screening on the occasion of the anniversary “Sequences on the G8” by Silvia Savorelli in collaboration with AAMOD, partner of the Festival.

On the beach the short and animation competition continues starting at 9:30 pm with 100 Days of Badass Women by Douglas John Imbrogno from the USA in an Italian preview. A West Virginia artist pulled herself out of a depression by painting 100 portraits in 100 days of “tough” notable women from the present and the past. Followed by Max by Florence Hugues, from France in Italian preview, is the story of a young mechanic. The Empress by Chin-En Chang from Taiwan. In an ancient eastern kingdom, an emperor is controlled by his ministers. The emperor no longer tolerates the situation and runs away from the palace. During the escape childhood memories emerge. The emperor’s father never took him seriously, because the emperor is actually a girl. Asmahan the Diva by Chloé Mazlo from France. The life of Asmahan, the Druze diva and princess was short, but intense: weddings, glory, espionage, lovers, alcohol, poker, suicides, murders, scandals, a mysterious death in the waters of the Nile … golden age of Egyptian musical comedies.

Miss Marx by Susanna Nicchiarelli with Romola Garai, Patrick Kennedy (II), John Gordon Sinclair, Felicity Montagu, Karina Fernandez closes for the fiction feature film competition at 10.30 pm. The film, fresh from the victory at the Silver Ribbons, stars the brilliant, cultured, free and passionate Eleanor, the youngest daughter of Karl Marx. Among the first women to approach the issues of feminism and socialism, she participates in workers’ struggles, fights for women’s rights and the abolition of child labor. When, in 1883, she meets Edward Aveling, her life changes forever, overwhelmed by a passionate love but a tragic destiny.

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