• Festivals

Cortinametraggio, Short-Film Festival in Cortina, Italy

It’s known as the Italian Sundance for short-films, an annual showcase of precious little gems up in the mountains and under the snow: Cortinametraggio is as interesting as its beautiful surrounding, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the “pearl of the Dolomites,” in the Italian Alps.

Cortinametraggio – a word play on Cortina and cortometraggio, or short-length movie, wrapped its 18th edition on March 25th 2023, with unequivocal success. There were over 5,000 attendees, including guests and talent among the members of the audience, 26 films selected in the competition out of 461 viewed, dozens screened out of competition, and many special events: it was all around of excellent quality.

The festival, founded and chaired by Maddalena Mayneri, has beaten every record this year, becoming unquestionably one of the major short film festivals in Europe.  The winners were announced on closing night in the elegant Alexander Girardi Hall, during a ceremony that was also broadcast live on Canale Europa. Presenters Roberto Ciufoli, the renowned Italian actor and dubbing artist, and Elettra Mallaby were together on stage with the festival’s godmother, Chiara Vinci.


“Seeing all the effort and work this year done fills me with pride,” said founder Maddalena Mayneri during the awards ceremony. “I am proud not only of all the people won tonight, but of all the other directors who took part and were selected, because for me they are all winners.”

Also on stage was Italian writer/director Paolo Genovese (Perfect Strangers, The Place), who launched his career at Cortinametraggio, almost 20 years ago: “The soul of these festivals is to give the sense of this kind of work to those who are starting the profession: the beginnings are always difficult, and telling short stories and being able to convey emotions is a way improve in scope and move forward. But telling good stories, either short or long, and evoking emotions is what ultimately matters.”


Among this year’s new initiatives at Cortinametraggio was a selection of shorts from Afghanistan edited by Sohila Akbari, a journalist and advocate for women’s right in her country and elsewhere. It is also worth mentioning the introduction of The Film Club, a multi-channel platform launched by Minerva Pictures, partly dedicated to short-films, and three promotional videos that were made by the Italian Air Force for its 100th anniversary.

There was also space for music, with a special performance by Moses Concas, multi-instrumentalist and composer, and for a fascinating show by the notorious  “Mentalist of the VIPs” Walter Di Francesco, who confounded the audience of 400 people by having everybody add to their cell phones a series of apparently random numbers given by the audience itself which, multiplied by another apparently random number, amounted to the exact time, day and month of that moment during the awards ceremony. Numbers which, as it turned out, Di Francesco had previously written on a piece of paper concealed in his jacket. Di Francesco also entertained the festival’s guests every night at the Hotel de la Poste, headquarter of the festival, with cards, numbers and mental tricks which would have outdone David Copperfield.


Among the major prize winners, it is worth mentioning that the Cortinametraggio Award for best film, presented by Paolo Genovese, was given  to Mattia Napoli for The Delay: “The director was able to keep  the subtle balance between drama and comedy, between realism and metaphorical narration,” said Genovese. “He has drawn a story that is both alienating and exact, disturbing and amusing.”

Miranda’s Mind by Maddalena Crespi won for best direction: “Despite choosing such an intimate and complex theme, Crespi skillfully told a sincere and precise story which leads us into Miranda’s mind and gives life to her desires and anxieties,” said Mayneri.

The Rete Doc Award for best female director went Giulia Grandinetti for her Tria – Del Sentimento del Tradire (Tria – on the feeling of betrayal),  a story of choices and sacrifice set in a dystopic  Rome, “for its directorial maturity and for having tackled the theme of power with particular empathy and sternness.”

The award for best comedy, bestowed by the festival’s partner and sponsor Lux Vide, went to Emanuele Vicorito for his Three Times a Week, the story of the Berrezzella sisters, an ironic pastiche about superstition  set in Naples. “In the city where every face tells a story,” reads the synopsis, “the director manages to revitalize the stereotype with a perfect comic mechanism, where fate makes a mockery of life and numbers are not just numbers but promises of happiness”

Andrea Romano’s 9th Floor to the Right was awarded the press award, presented by another partner of the festival, Pineider, “for the precision with which Romano drew his three characters through brief dialogue, looks and gestures.”