History of the festival
The origins of the Asolo Art Film Festival date back to 1973, when Flavia Paulon’s brilliant intuition and the farsightedness of a local administration determined to support the city’s cultural awakening gave rise to the International Festival of Films on Art and Artist Biographies in Asolo. Since its first edition, it has become one of the world’s most important exhibitions dedicated to the relationship between cinema and the visual arts.
Following the protests of 1968, the Biennale abandoned the International Exhibition of Films on Art and all other minor film festivals. Thus, Flavia Paulon, a critic, essayist, and functionary of the Venice Film Festival for forty years, seized the opportunity a few years later to create an autonomous exhibition of Films on Art in the town of Asolo, considering it an important source of enrichment for the entire world cinema.
In addition to being its founder, Paulon was the artistic director of the festival until 1982, for a total of ten editions. Under her direction, the exhibition, sponsored by UNESCO, saw a period of great international success, presenting every year “the best-unpublished works in Italy and the world on the specific theme of art, produced in the two-year period.” Enrico Fulchignoni, the President of the International Council of Cinema and Television, became a stable member of the jury.
To ensure the quality and internationality of the Festival, Paulon always took great care in selecting jury members and consulting prominent figures in the cinema and visual arts sectors. The selection of films for the competition was also preceded by careful and systematic research, which Paulon carried out herself, thanks to her expertise in film and her contacts with the most useful people for sourcing substantial films, accumulated over many years of work at the Venice Film Festival.
The selection was so rigorous and the level so high that within a few editions, the prestige of the Festival was known worldwide, so much so that it was emulated by other exhibitions that subsequently emerged. Starting from the first Asolo Grand Prix, awarded to Andrej Tarkovskij’s film “Andrej Rublëv,” there are countless names of famous directors or artists who have attended the Festival, such as Alain Resnais, Jean Rouch, Henri Stork, Luciano Emmer, Giorgio Treves, Alberto Sordi, Fabrizio Plessi, Gaetano Pesce, Luca Verdone, and Ingrid Bergman, who was awarded the first Eleonora Duse Prize in 1977.
Around the mid-90s, the history of the Asolo film festival was interrupted, only to resume in 2001 under the name of AsoloArtFilmFestival thanks to the initiative of Attilio Zamperoni and under the artistic direction of various prominent figures of Italian cinema over the centuries, including Montanaro, Borin, Di Capua and, since 2006, Luciano Zaccaria. The following year, the A.I.A.F. – AsoloInternationalArtFestival was established, a non-profit association whose main goal was to renew and strengthen the event: during the fifteen years of A.I.A.F. management, the festival regained its international reputation, with the participation of over 80 countries and more than 8000 films submitted. Among the winners during these seasons, we remember Mario Martone, Nicole Romine, Liu Zchenchen, and actresses Ottavia Piccolo and Golshifteh Farahani, awarded the Eleonora Duse Prize.
For the biennium 2015-2016 proposed by the ALA-ArmoniosoLabirintoAsolano Association, the Film Festival on Art now returns to life thanks to the commitment of AsoloArtFilmFestival, a new associative reality aimed at restoring its international prestige.
With the 2018 edition, the AsoloArtFilmFestival will resume with the new non-profit association Asolo Art Film Festival.