A Festival is not only a screen, neither is it just a stage where artistes perform and images flow by ……
A Festival is, and must be, much more than this: it should be a place to socialise, meet people a place to learn, to discuss and grow cultural growth.
A place where audiences and players mingle and exchange ideas.
A place where people feel welcome, at home, and share unique experiences with others.
We have always considered the River Festival in this light.
We’ve been running it for 14 years … but we CAN’T go on.
Porta Portello is a well-loved place, an intrinsic part of the City and of the Portello area itself, but it had long been abandoned and was decaying, until the Festival began. Now, partly thanks to our two festivals of film and music that have run for two months every summer for the past 14 years, it has become a source of local pride in Padua’s summer programme of cultural events.
It’s a high quality, summertime appointment that thousands of people look forward to.
It has always been a free festival offering an up-to-date, valid cultural programme, that is closely linked to its physical setting: evocative Porta Portello.
But it is harder and harder for us to go on. Permissions to use public place, for utilities, etc. take months and months to come through. Everything has to be booked for films and artistes, months in advance: sometimes we do not know whether we will have even our basic funds for the festival until a few days before we open.
This year, for the first time, we have not had permission to use the space in front of the bridge for a bar, the Authorities decided we were like any other bar, with commercial, profit making aims. We, a free festival, used the bar takings to fund events, artistes, musicians, visiting film-makers, actors, SIAE, technicians, to buy and maintain equipment, and so on.
We don’t want to start just showing films, in a vacuum, like any other “cinema”. That is not the objective of the Festival.
By the end of the summer, just as we do every year, we will start presenting the next RiFF festival at the Venice Film Festival, then in Berlin, then in York (UK), where we have an enthusiastic public and prestigious international partners.
This is why we urgently need to know what the Comune of Padova intends to do next year, in 2019. Will there be the 15th Portello River Film Festival at Porta Portello?
We are asking all friends of RiFF and the Portello Festival to support, to sign, this appeal!