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Audiovisiva: the new digital library to watch award-winning, but hard to find, documentaries

So many feature films, from Marisa Merz to Gianni Berengo Gardin, from Carlo Scarpa to Michele De Lucchi, as well as “exceptional” behind the scenes clips and films for teaching and research

To spread Italian culture out in the world with audio-visuals, which include a “second” viewing. A second life of lives and key figures of the XX and XXI centuries, artists, architects, designers, photographers, directors, musicians. Whatever happened to those wonderful documentaries that won awards at festivals, were screened for only one day in movie theatres, discovered by chance late at night on TV, perhaps on clips in Blob, or spotted in an exhibition. How can we see them again? From Marisa Merz to Gianni Berengo Gardin, from Carlo Scarpa to Michele De Lucchi, from Lina Bo Bardi to Luchino Visconti and so many others, they will now be available on the new “Audiovisiva” streaming-on-demand platform.

Still from Gli angeli nascosti – Luchino Visconti. 
Silvia Giulietti, 2007, 54’ (foto Mario Tursi). Courtesy © Audiovisiva

The recently conceived project collects and offers a curated selection of the finest documentaries about the protagonists of Italian culture. Its cultural vocation, which hinges on research and on curated content, combines with the finest digital technology available for enjoying audio-visuals today, and with a multi-channel distribution on international markets, conceived as well to facilitate the rise in Italy of a new model for using audiovisuals for educational purposes, for teaching and research. Audiovisiva thus intends to provide the widest distribution and legal, technological and linguistic accessibility to a heritage that has so far remained highly fragmented, hard to find and scarcely cultivated, and at the same time support the creative and productive chain of cultural documentaries with a logic of returns and circularity.

Three hundred documentaries, a library that can be freely consulted, for the first time a comprehensive view of the heritage of non-fiction documentaries about Italian culture. It will progressively put films online that have not been available before, catalogued by the name of the protagonist or the field of reference – art, architecture and design, photography, films about films. Exciting material that will be of significant use to researchers, professionals, museum curators, enthusiasts, the curious, teachers and students who will now be able to count on a new map for their journey through Italian culture and to explore unexpected connections.

Still from Memoriae causa. Carlo Scarpa e il
complesso monumentale di Brion 1969-78. 
Riccardo De Cal, 2006, 52′. Courtesy © Audiovisiva

Founded by Francisca Parrino, Alessandra de Antonellis and Barbara Carneglia as a social entreprise, it enjoys the support of the Fondazione Cariplo which selected it as one of the most interesting and innovative start-ups in the cultural field. Audiovisva today is the only company in Italy that has been admitted as a member of Eurovod, the network of independent European VOD platforms, and the first Italian aggregator for the educational platform Kanopy.

«Audiovisiva is the product of our passion for Italian culture and our intent to advance its enjoyment through documentary films» explains Francisca Parrino, president of Audiovisiva

 «This is why we chose to develop a curated platform, with no background noise or distractions, presenting our research to students, teachers, professionals, merely curious or enthusiastic fans who wish to explore the surprising connections and cultural geographies that the audiovisual heritage can offer».

Still from Gli angeli nascosti – Luchino Visconti. 
Silvia Giulietti, 2007, 54’ (foto Mario Tursi). Courtesy © Audiovisiva

There are three gems for film lovers, the behind-the-scenes clips of Luchino Visconti’s sets in the precious set photography by Mario Tursi, or Giuliano Montaldo talking about how for the soundtrack of Sacco and Vanzetti, he was able to bring Joan Baez together with Ennio Morricone, and how in just a few hours they recorded the ballad that became the manifesto for an entire generation.  More music in the fascinating and powerful voice of Rosa Balistreri, the Sicilian Amalia Rodriguez. Finally, the surprising story of Panaria Film, in the story told by Francesco Alliata, one of the founders of the small Sicilian production company at the centre of the most famous scandal of the postwar period, between Hollywood, Rome and the Aeolian Islands: the famous volcano war and its divine protagonists Rossellini, Anna Magnani and Ingrid Bergman.

Still from Il gesto delle mani – Francesco Clerici,
2015, 77′. Courtesy © Audiovisiva

There is so much to choose from. The titles available on demand include a previously unreleased collection of documentaries about Carlo Scarpa’s restoration projects, and the award-winning film by Francesco Clerici filmed in the historic Fonderia Battaglia in Milan during the casting of the bronze sculptures by Velasco Vitali. You can let yourself be enchanted by the visionary project designed by Lina Bo Bardi (Special Commemorative Golden Lion of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia) in Bahia, or hop on over to the other side of the ocean for the story of Arturo di Modica, the Italian artist behind the famous bull on Wall Street. Listen to the masters of photography, who from Gabriele Basilico to Gianni Berengo Gardin reveal their different approaches to the image, or imagine new connections between the great Fortunato Depero, as seen in the syncopated montage by Nello Correale, and the projects by Alessandro Mendini or Mario Botta. Or even rediscover Alvar Aalto’s masterpiece by at Riola, forgotten for so many years, or get lost in the stories of artists who chose Italy as their home, from Cy Twombly to Chet Baker.

Still from Il toro di Wall Street – Nello Correale,
2014, 52’. Courtesy © Audiovisiva

Peek into the homes of Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas and Mario Bellini. Discover the secrets of the art of Alessio Tasca, a ceramic artist whose graffito plates captured the attention of Gio Ponti, who brought him to the Triennale in 1951 and the following year at the age of only 23 to his first Biennale di Venezia. In the background, the magic of the seventeenth-century furnace in the countryside of Vicenza. Watch a film about Michele de Lucchi or about Radical Design. Listen to the controversial voice of Lisetta Carmi, get to know the reserved Marisa Merz from the accounts of her friends as they remember the early experiments of Arte Povera in the kitchen of her home in Turin, or dive into the landscape into which Giuseppe Penone’s works plunge their roots. Or Piero Manzoni, with Milan and the iconic Bar Giamaica, Fabio Mauro between political works and performance art, or the portrait of Michelangelo Pistoletto at Cittadellarte by Daniele Segre.

Still from Perché un film su Michele De Lucchi –
Alessio Bozzer, 2013, 65’. Courtesy © Audiovisiva

Audiovisiva proposes a multi-channel distribution model without regional restrictions: the films in the catalogue are accessible, depending on the cases, through the Audiovisiva store or third-party platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Video (only for US , UK), Vimeo on demand, Kanopy

Still from Genius loci – Riccardo De Cal, 2014, 30’. Courtesy © Audiovisiva

In addition, following the model of certain major international platforms, Audiovisiva also offers an educational streaming service specifically conceived for schools and universities, which can purchase packages of accesses to offer their students and teachers, allowing them to view the selected films free of charge using a dedicated individual coupon code, and later discuss them in class to explore some of the themes they touched upon. This is a service that is widely used abroad, and which Audiovisiva wishes to bring to schools and universities in Italy.

This operation is about support, not just profit. The proceeds from the sales will be largely used to support the creative and productive supply chain.

 In particular, 70% of the price paid to see the films through the Audiovisiva store will go to the persons who hold the copyright to the works (in most cases the director, given that these are independent productions). The remaining 30% is used by Audiovisiva to sustain the costs of the platform and the work required to keep it going. From the digital library, you can also activate the ‘My Collection’ function, to create your personal collection, adding or removing films at will.


Translated by Olga Barmine

Cover: Still from Memoria dei fluidi – Giampaolo Penco, 2012, 56’. Courtesy © Audiovisiva

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