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By Christopher Livesay

12 settembre, 17:55
Daniele Marzeddu, director of Sorpasso d'Asino (Passing the Donkey)
Daniele Marzeddu, director of Sorpasso d'Asino (Passing the Donkey)
MOTHER EARTH STARS AT ABRUZZO DOCUMENTARY FILM FEST (ANSA) - Rome, September 12 - Encircled by the steep peaks of the Majella mountains in the central Abruzzo region, the picturesque town of Scanno has long inspired the photographic eye, beckoning the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Mario Giacomelli to immortalize its beauty on film.

Starting September 14, Scanno will once again lure visual artists to the area, this time from the field of documentary filmmaking, for the 4th Festival Scanno Natura Doc-Effetto Uomo, which highlights the best of Italy's latest films about mother nature.

'In some ways the films are similar to National Geographic productions, but our selections go beyond filming nature and focus on the effects that humans have on planet Earth,' festival organizer Matilde Landriscina told ANSA.

This year, eight films are vying for the top prize, awarded by a jury of qualified viewers from across Italy, while a special prize will be handed out by the national parks association of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise to the film that best educates the public on ecology.

Films in competition at the three-day event range from Ciar Cume l'Acqua del Lamber (Lombard dialect for Clear As the Lambro's Water), about the devastating effects of toxic dumping in a Lombard river, to Sorpasso d'Asino (Passing the Donkey), a charming yet serious account of how the donkey, once a linchpin to Italian agriculture, is now endangered in a post-industrial world.

'My grandfather had the good fortune to live on the island of Asinara,' filmmaker Daniele Marzeddu told ANSA when asked what inspired his movie.

Asinara, a virtually uninhabited island off Sardinia, is home to a population of wild Albino donkeys.

'His father was a prison guard. Listening to his stories about the white donkeys opened up my imagination,' explains Marzeddu, whose tender portrayal of an often misunderstood creature implicitly narrates Italy's rapid industrialization in the past century - sometimes at great expense to the environment, even the country's social fabric. The other films in competition are Idroeden, by Daniele Cini; Da Zero a Ottomila: La Montagna di Daniele Nardi; Agricoltori da Slegare, by Rafaella Bullo; Len Pensieri e Storie di Tre Artisti Gardenesi, by Elia Romanelli; Le Divinita' della Montagna, by Paolo Volponi; and Parlare con le Orecchie: Robert Peroni e la Terra degli Uomini, by Alberto Sciamplicotti.

In addition, the festival will host an out-of-competition section devoted to amateur filmmakers, a series of short films and discussions devoted to the festival theme, before closing on September 16.

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