Carla Ottini is the mastermind behind Karawan, a sui generis film festival that hosts only comedies d'auteur and where dramas are banned. "We don't want to raise awareness about anything, we want to integrate,” explains the festival director who, together with Claudio Gnessi and Alessandro Zoppo, created the event in 2012 in Rome's Torpignattara district. “We don't want to explain, we want to have fun."
At Karawan the usual stereotypes of the big festivals where drama and despair reign are turned on their heads. In past editions of this little Roman festival, stories of human growth have mingled with stories of travel, Italian documentaries and films on migration, with light-heartedness as the common denominator. The selection of films is carried out online so as to optimise costs, and they come from China, Romania, Brazil, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Rwanda. The audience is diverse, ranging from locals to the Romanian, Arabic and Chinese communities, for whom Karawan offers themed initiatives. “We're like trapeze artists without a net,” explains Carla, who has worked for years at the Med Film Festival and the Capalbio Festival of Short Films. “The fact that we have other jobs means Karawan depends very much on what we manage to do. Organising five-day programmes and occasional things. At the moment we're working on a season of Bollywood films”.
The other theme of Karawan is the reappropriation of public spaces: the films are projected onto walls, in ex-classrooms, the backrooms of shops and other unusual sites in order to bridge the gap of available locations. That's another reason why Karawan is itinerant: “We've opened the Torpignattara Multiplex, with a screen in the Sangalli park showing Amore Tossico as a tribute to Claudio Caligari”. As proof of the international appeal of the Torpignattara-based project, the first crowdfunding campaign received donations from Russia, Belgium, Central Europe and the United States.
The story has been written by Stefano Ciavatta, writer
An itinerant multiethnic festival in a suburb, where drama and despair are off-limits and a smile always wins.