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Filmforum - Call For Help

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The Udine International Film Studies Conference, promoted by the University of Udine, was founded in 1994 and has been taking place for 17 years, with a larger and larger participation of scholars coming from European countries and from overseas. Since 2002 the Conference has been part of a larger event called “FilmForum”, which includes besides the Conference (held in Udine), the MAGIS - Gorizia Film Studies Spring School (held originally in Gradisca d'Isonzo and since 2009 in Gorizia), an Intensive Program for PhD candidates, MA students and young researchers in general. The Udine Conference proposes each year a different topic. The MAGIS focuses on four main topics: film and contemporary visual arts; the film heritage; cinema/comics/animation/videogames; porn studies. It includes: lectures, workshops, artist and curator talks, art exhibitions, film and video screenings, book launches. FilmForum furthermore comprises a literary prize for the best Italian and international book on cinema, publishes every year the Proceedings of the previous edition of the Conference and the Spring School, promotes the Italian film journal “Cinergie” and the international film studies journal “CINEMA & Cie”. The Udine Conference hosted in 2000 a DOMITOR Conference and in 2008 and 2009 several sessions of the Permanent Seminar on the History of Film Theories. The Spring School is organized together with a network of Universities and other institutions: the Universities of Paris 3, Bochum, Valencia, Amsterdam, Prague, Potsdam, Milano-Cattolica, Pisa; institutions like GRAFICS (Université de Montréal), CineGraph (Hamburg), Deutsche Kinemathek-Filmmuseum (Berlin). FilmForum is promoted by Universities and animated by scholars, young researchers, students. At the same time its aim is to contribute to the promotion and the diffusion of the cinematic culture in the largest sense and for the largest audience: people interested in cultural events, cinema-goers, film fans. FilmForum is therefore a great international film festival as well. Its status and role have been confirmed by the official recognition, among others, of the Direzione Generale per il Cinema (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Rome), which supports the most important Italian film festivals, and by the Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, wich supports the most important regional film festivals. In the previous years FilmForum has been financed by the University of Udine, by European programs, by the Direzione Generale per il Cinema, by the Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, by the CRUP Foundation (Udine), by the CariGo Foundation (Gorizia), by the Municipality and the Province of Udine, by the Province of Gorizia, by the Consorzio Universitario del Friuli (Udine), by the Consorzio Universitario of Gorizia (for six editions, additionally by the Municipality of Gradisca d'Isonzo as well) and by private sponsors and other agencies. We are deeply grateful to all of them: without their assistance and sensitivity this initiative could not have been born. Nevertheless this year the financial situation of FilmForum is totally uncertain. Some institutions gave a negative answer. Others have announced major or even drastic reductions. In general, before the beginning of FilmForum, we did not receive from any institution or agency any official information concerning their actual support for the current year. We were on the horns of a dilemma: either to suspend the event for one year and wait for a desirable but uncertain change of the situation; or to commit ourselves to making it possible, even with some unwelcome limitations regarding the hospitality provided for the last 16 years for our guests. We decided on the latter course of action, with the intention to guarantee the continuity of the Udine Conference and the Gorizia Spring School, being above all comforted by the many paper proposals we received. As you know, therefore, for the 2010 edition of the Conference and the Spring School we have been obliged to renounce many habits that always accompanied the event, as our customary guests know very well. This year we couldn't offer a simultaneous translation for the plenary sessions of the Conference. We had to limit the number of nights in hotel accommodation. We couldn't offer lunches to our guests (which constituted not only a convivial and pleasant custom, but also a chance for having informal meetings and discussions among the participants). We asked all the participants to seek funding from their own institutions for travel costs. Furthermore, for the first time in the history of the Conference, we asked our guests for nominal economic support: a “registration fee” of 50 Euros. It is a small amount of money when compared to the fees charged by many other international conferences, nevertheless it never corresponded - and it does not correspond - to our policy. For this reason, rather than a “registration fee”, we considered it a gesture of help and solidarity from our guests in order to guarantee the existence of the Conference in an extremely difficult and delicate economic situation and (at least in Italy) in a general context hostile towards the concerns of Culture and Research. The response of our guests has been warm and generous. We thank them with all our heart. Essentially, we were able to organize this edition of the Conference thanks to the concrete solidarity and generosity of our colleagues and guests. We were embarrased to have to ask for this support and we thank our guests again for all their patience and help. It is evident, nevertheless, that an extraordinary support action like this can be done only once: it couldn't be replicated - and we don't want to replicate it - in the future. After seventeen editions, this meeting, which has been built with the contribution of so many collaborators and scholars, from 1994 till now, could not take place any more. The reason is very simple: without adequate resources it will be not possible any more to organize such an event. It is cruel, it is brutal, but it is unavoidable: without proper funds research activity dies, learning and culture activities die. We would like to draw the attention of academic authorities, public and local institutions, private agencies to the fact that without proper support, and without financial assistance, FilmForum could not survive. We know very well that we are living in a difficult phase, that the situation, in general, is critical - on a regional, national, international scale. At the same time we are convinced that research and culture have a strategic value - even from an economic point of view; we are convinced that investments in research and cultural activities can have a multiplier effect; we are convinced that such investments can be profitable - even in the field of the humanities. During the FilmForum 2010 many participants took the initiative to launch a petition in FilmForum's favour, to assure a future to its activities. We are receiving additional valuable support from Universities and scientific associations. We consider all these initiatives extremely important and we feel especially, deeply grateful towards their promoters and signatories. Our aim, from the very beginning of FilmForum has been the idea of giving a contribution to the development of a scientific community. Their signatures stand as evidence of the existence of such a community and of our role in this process: they represent the most beautiful present we could receive. Here we publish the petition and the other appeals. Anyone who would care to contribute to the petition can complete the following form. The FilmForum Direction and Organizing Board


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