Ten years, ten filmmakers, countless intellectual exchanges. The symposium “New Trends in Modern and Contemporary Italian Cinema,” was an international gathering of film scholars, directors, and journalists at Indiana University Bloomington that took place annually in April from 2010 through 2019. Organized by Professors Antonio Vitti and Andrea Ciccarelli, it was an unusual hybrid between a scholarly conference and a film festival. The event was a wonderful opportunity for our own graduate students and put Bloomington on the map for those interested in Italian film.
Professor Antonio Vitti, who retired this summer, came to IU from Wake Forest University in 2009 as a specialist in Italian cinema studies. He had organized a film festival that was held at Wake Forest and in Venice in alternate years, and he sought to continue the tradition in a new way at IU. Partnering with Professor Andrea Ciccarelli, the IU symposium launched in April 2010. It was organized around a certain theme each year, and a guest director was invited to fit in with that theme.
This year’s guest director was Wilma Labate, whose works (both documentaries and feature films) deal with labor and the working class, feminism, the Mafia, and the way social changes of the last 40 years have impacted everyday Italians. Papers read at this year’s conference dealt with similar themes: feminism in Italian-American film, The Sopranos HBO TV series about an Italian-American Mafia family, and contemporary immigration issues in Italy.