As part of the interviews conducted during the days of Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano 2021, we had a chat with Paola Morga and Silvia Cardarelli of the cooperative Ambecò. For the past five years, Ambecò has been collaborating with Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano in the organization of the festival, offering its experience to support the different realities present on the territory. In particular, it deals with relations with schools, aware of the fundamental role of education as a tool that can contribute to the development of an advanced society based on values such as knowledge and respect and ensuring at the same time a valid protection of the environment for future generations.
What is the importance of a festival of this kind linked to environmental issues in a city like Avezzano?
Silvia: In my opinion, the Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano festival is very important because today it is about the identity of our territory, it tells about our territory and takes it beyond our borders, so this is very important for us, because our region, the green region of Europe, a region of parks that has environmental issues to deal with, needs these artistic and creative tools because they go straight to the heart of the people, they involve them more emotionally and therefore it is an easier way to deal with environmental issues. Through cinema we discover stories, places, histories, impacts that were unknown. So it is certainly a very important tool to start, to carry on a process of environmental sustainability. Awareness is a process that never ends and that needs many different kinds of interventions, so the festival is certainly an important fulcrum for a path of environmental awareness.
Paola: In my opinion, cinema is one of the most important expressive and artistic means to sensitize young people and not only. The impact that a film, a short film like the ones that are screened here during the festival can have is very emotional, so everything that is emotional affects people and stays inside and raises awareness perhaps more than any other form of expression. Only through this awareness we can really change our approach towards the environment and in a context like Avezzano, which is surrounded by a beautiful environment, parks and reserves, a festival of this kind is definitely an initiative that must be continued over time, must be increasingly promoted and we hope in an ever greater participation of the public.
In your opinion, how do you think young people respond to environmental awareness?
Silvia: I must say that young people today are much more sensitive than we were at their age. They are definitely much more attentive. When we do projects in schools, but also in the area, they are definitely the most involved, the most sensitive, the ones who realize that it is very important today to assess the impacts of our behavior and to change the market, the market system and, of course, individual behavior.
Paola: I believe that all forms that manage to create harmony with the environment and transmit this love for nature are indispensable and fundamental for raising awareness, especially among the younger generations. Cinema is certainly one of them, perhaps the most effective. This year, unfortunately, we couldn’t involve the schools directly because of the pandemic issue, but next year we will certainly reactivate all the educational channels with the schools, because in the past years we have noticed a great involvement of young people and a great sensitivity.
Compared to previous editions, what have you noticed? Are there any differences?
Paola: Compared to the previous editions we had the patronage of many administrations, many national and international organizations, so for us it was a very important recognition. There has been recognition from Ispra, from local administrations, from parks in the area, there has really been a tam-tam that has gratified us a lot because sponsorship means recognition of the quality of a product and so having this recognition for us was really very important. And The Factory deserves this recognition because behind the festival there is a great work, there is a great preparation. Starting from the selection of films that come from all over the world, there is a very important work of the guys, so to have a recognition from authoritative bodies is important not only for us, for Ambecò, for The Factory, but also and above all for the city of Avezzano that hosts this festival.
Silvia: There is also to say that the fact that the festival had a one-year suspension was a great discouragement for us. Sure, we noticed and saw how the waterways were cleaned, we saw the dolphins, we saw the cleaner air and so on. So there were a lot of positive examples; on the other hand, however, the negative was the fact that we could no longer socialize, we could no longer confront each other and therefore, in my opinion, the fact that we skipped the festival in 2020 was a serious gap and this empty space was felt so much with the kids. Every year they were used to face a path with us and it was a continuous path, a constant growth. The fact that we stopped it was very hard for us but especially for them, because they interrupted a path that we started five years ago and that led them to achieve certain educational goals. In spite of everything, however, this year we managed to organize the festival in time, we concentrated with all our strength, all our energies and we still wanted to realize it. This, in my opinion, has given us a great prize and that is to return a great enthusiasm, to re-propose it in a more thorough and especially involving all generations because I noticed that at the festival are very concentrated young people but missing a little ‘older generations and children. So, it would be nice also to make a format of the festival for children, to involve primary and nursery schools because it is fundamental to involve the new generations that will lead us to change.
What do you hope for the future?
Our hope is that next year there will be even more participation from everyone, not only people from Avezzano, from the territory, but since we also gravitate around big cities like Rome, we hope that there will be an involvement also from these cities. We also hope that the city of Avezzano can be positively conveyed through the festival, because a festival like this, where there is culture, is definitely a very important business card for us, for our territory and for the whole Marsica.
We at Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano join Ambecò’s wish and we hope to collaborate with the cooperative in a harmonious way as it has been in the past and as, surely, it will be in the future.