During the last week of October the Odeon kicked off a major film event in Florence that should not be missed by any cinephile. The festival encompasses ten themes that will be covered back-toback over the course of the festival. Lasting through December 15, the festival’s full schedule can be found on the Odeon theater’s website. The festival will showcase feature length films as well as shorts, documentaries and live events such as debates. 50 Days of International Cinema was formed as an umbrella organization in 2007 to unite the many different film festivals that occur during the months of November and December in Florence. Festivals include the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, the Festival dei Popoli and the Balkan Florence Express, among others. Despite the close ties between all the film festivals, each maintains their own website in addition to having a presence on the 50 Days website. The united festival sets as one of its goals providing an outlet for films that are not necessarily fit for the commercial market but hold high cultural and artistic value. Each year over 50,000 spectators attend the event.
The River to River festival, one of the notable occurrences during the event, is under the patronage of the embassy of India, and celebrates films that are both from and about India. From Florence the festival will travel to Rome where it will show a few films. Begun in 2001 at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the festival has helped to bring attention to Indian films.
Many of the feature film directors will attend the festival and the special guest of the festival will be noted Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan. Shining light on a different type of film, for over fifty years the Festival dei Popoli has showcased social documentary cinema. This year the festival will present 24 documentary films that will contend for several notable prizes, including Best Feature-Length Documentary Award (€ 8000), Best Mid-Length Documentary (€ 4000), Best Short-Length Documentary Award (€ 2500), “Gian Paolo Paoli” Award to the Best Ethno-Anthropological Film and the Audience Award. Each festival runs for a set length of days during the 50 days and the different festivals run back-to-back, rather than concurrently. While the Odeon Cinema is the primary location of the festival, many other venues will be used over the course of the festival as well. With an aim to spread the word about international cinema, the festival will welcome both Italian and foreign patrons during its run. A full list of the films scheduled for screening as well as other events can be found at the “50 Giorni di Cimena” website. Whether a committed cinephile or a casual moviegoer, with its wide variety of choices the festival is sure to please.