April 2, 2023


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Croatia 4 Film Board Rodolfo Bisati’s educational drama ‘On Life’

3 min read

Croatia’s 4Film has joined France’s Cine Sud Promotions and Italy’s Kinofilm in Italian director Rodolfo Bisatti’s next feature film, “On Life,” starring Andre Ruth Shammah and Paolo Bonacelli.

Bisatti, who co-wrote and directed the acclaimed 2020 drama “Unknown God,” will direct “On Life” from a screenplay he wrote with actress-producer Laura Pelliccieri.

The film, which is set to begin shooting on August 7 in northeastern Italy, centers on an elderly countess (Shammah) who sets up a new kind of school in her spacious villa with a group of disenfranchised yet gifted children.

Palazzo Panigai-Ovio in Pordenone

Producers found an ideal 17th-century villa — Palazzo Panigai-Ovio — in the northeastern province of Pordenone, about 100 kilometers west of Trieste, where Kinofilm is based. Bisati also plans to shoot outdoor scenes in nearby Veneto.

The film’s cast includes Valeria Cavalli and Pamela Villoresi as well as Pelissier.

Cine Sud’s Thierry Lenouvelle joined the project as a co-producer early on, and Anita Juca, head of Zagreb-based 4Film, joined more recently.

For Bisati and Pellicieri, the project reflects their own interest in education.

Pellicciari noted that the Italian government’s Digital Republic initiative, which aims to reduce the digital divide and promote future technology education, has led to the understanding that “very young teenagers are the most skilled teachers you can find.”

The story of “On Life” — which was inspired by observations of distance learning during the lockdown — is already happening, he added, noting how older people rely on young people to navigate an increasingly digital world. In some cases the relationships become mutual, with younger people teaching older people about the world of immersive devices while benefiting from the experience and knowledge of older generations.

The role change is actually renewing an old teaching method, Pelissiari said. “This new kind of learning comes from ‘ancient’ roots.” It can also be seen in the methods and educational philosophies of Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, Lorenzo Milani, Mario Lodi, Alberto Manzi and Gianni Rodari, he noted.

Bisatti and Pellicciari won the support of Italy’s National Organization for Digital Transformation (ENTD), which promotes the ethical development and diffusion of digital technologies.

As part of the collaboration, Bisatti even presented the film project to Italy’s Chamber of Deputies in Rome on February 6 during a conference on innovation and technological challenges facing society.

Bisatti explained that technology “saved” many film directors during that period and noted that technological innovation could create a more democratic future with widely available and accessible tools.

Schools can also benefit from such developments, Pelissiari added. Instead of teachers lecturing students, the new technology offers an education system based on reciprocity, he asserts, emphasizing that technology can help bring together “different seasons of life” by connecting Generation Z with Baby Boomers.

Bisati’s latest work, the recently completed teenage love story “Afar Together” examines similar themes of youth and technology. The experimental film stars Sara Porcella and Leo Cattaneo as Maddalena and Aghi, who enjoy an online relationship. Although Aghi finally wants to meet her online love in person, Maddalena is content to keep their relationship distant.

Kineofilm’s work in education extends to a number of ongoing projects related to film, theater and audiovisual storytelling, including literacy and filmmaking workshops.

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