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Shapiro, SU film professor and SYRFILMFEST artistic director, wins cinema award in Italy

August 16, 2011

Christine Fawcett
(315) 443-8826

Owen Shapiro, artistic director of the Syracuse International Film Festival, has returned from a six-week trip to Italy with a new international cinema partner and a cinema award.

Shapiro, the Shaffer Professor of Film in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, traveled to Italy with colleague Stefano Giannini, associate professor in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, to coordinate the new SU Abroad program in Cinema Studies & Filmmaking in Bologna, Italy. Famed Italian film producer/director Gian Vittorio Baldi, the creator of Hypermedia University, is the founding producer and honorary professor of the new Bologna Film Program. Baldi presented several group lectures and arranged visiting scholars who gave presentations to the program’s students.

While in Bologna, the students attended the Cinema Ritrovato International Film Festival and studied Italian Neo-Realist Film. In addition to making their own short film, completing research papers, and attending required film screenings, lectures and workshops, the students toured Ravenna’s famous mosaic decorated churches, Rimini (the location for much of the film work of Federico Fellini) and Venice. The students attended daily classes taught by Giannini and Shapiro, as well as Baldi and his fellow Italian film greats cinematographer Stefano Coletta and film scholar Roberto Chiesi.

Following the program in Bologna, Shapiro participated for the second time as a judge at the San Gio Verona Video Festival in Verona. An invited juror, he was also a guest presenter and screened his newest experimental video, “Vinyl and Red Lips.” The 22-minute short was written by SU professor Pedro Cuperman, and Cuperman and Shapiro co-directed the work. Shapiro shot the film and worked with Cuperman and local film editor KC Duggan to complete the project. Immediately following the screening in Verona, Ferruccio Gard (Italian painter, writer/filmmaker) praised the work, saying “this is the best film on the art of Tango that I have seen in all my years of working as an artist … it’s a masterpiece.”

By the end of the five days at the San Gio Verona Video Festival, Shapiro had seen several films that he invited to participate in competition at the Syracuse International Film Festival, to be held October 13-16. He also invited the San Gio Verona Video Festival, now in its 17th year to become a SYRFILMFEST partner. “The vision and mission of San Gio is identical to that of the Syracuse International Film Festival,” Shapiro says. “We make a natural partnership.” Ugo Brusoporcho, the director of the San Gio Festival, accepted the invitation and presented Shapiro with the first annual Mario Dall’Argine Award in honor of Shapiro’s efforts to promote culture through the art of cinema.

The San Gio Verona Video Festival focuses on the short film but also includes a small number of selected long films from all over the world and is presented in collaboration with the Comune de Verona and Cineclub Verona. Festival jurors for the 17th annual festival included Asal Emami (Iran), Ferruchio Gard and Giovanni Grandi (Italy), Haruna Kawanishi (Japan), Teresina Moscatiello  and Allesandro di Todaro (Germany), Antonio Sciolli (Switzerland) and Shapiro (United States). The San Gio Verona Video Festival also has a youth jury, sponsored by UNICEF.

For more information and photos of the SU Abroad Program in Bologna and the San Gio Verona Video Festival, visit or, or call 315-443-8826.

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