Italy 2 Russia: Fabrica-style creativity at Strelka

by Andy Kozlov

Fabrica premises near Venice by Japanese architect Tadao Ando (2000)

I first came to know about Fabrica (The Benetton Group Communications Research Centre) when a friend Fr. Germano Marani invited me to assist him in pre-production of a documentary on Christian values in contemporary Europe Bells of Europe. It is a co-production of CTV (a Vatican TV station), Fabrica and RAI Cinema.

Part of my contribution to the project was location research for Moscow, London, Rome and Istanbul. I also helped with the visa process for the director of the film Carlos Casas, who is a Fabrica graduate. Together with his wife Saodat Ismailova (an Uzbek director and a Fabrica graduate herself), Carlos runs an audio-visual company Map Productions that “presents and provides new maps for a better understanding between cultures.” Some of their previous projects include 40 days of silence, Avalanche (A “reactive” film project in the highest inhabited village in Badakhshan), JAILOO on the meetings between artists from the West and Central Asia, and Cemetery (a film about a cemetery of elephants that Carlos was working on when we first met in Treviso in 2009).

This is why I got excited when Fabrica returned to Moscow last month.

Fabrica was invited to take part in Italian Week in Moscow, a programme of events organised by Red October, with support from the Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow, to celebrate the year of cultural exchange between Italy and Russia.

On Wednesday 6 July Omar Vulpinari, expanded media director at Fabrica, was scheduled to give a lecture at Strelka, the Moscow institute for media, architecture and design. The lecture, entitled “The Social Design of Fabrica”, is to discuss the issues of social communication, the creation of globally effective images and non-conventional communication strategies.

After the lecture a retrospective of Fabrica video projects was to take place. The retrospective presented a selection of Fabrica’s different natures
of video production: Future Spills, a video on sustainability which
cleverly mixes real images with sensitive animations; Cease Fear, a
promo for Colors magazine; Flood, an awareness spot
commissioned by UN – Climate Change; Drummpaint, a creative
performance by a young percussionist at Fabrica; Penguins, a music
video to promote the CD Careless produced by grant holders of
Fabrica’s music department; Unique Trades, a collection of short
documentaries on disappearing trades; Chaîne, a series of living
portraits exploring the experiences of African immigrants in Europe,
inspired by Guinean author Saïdou Bokoum’s novel and a selection
of trailers of the most important long feature films coproduced by
Fabrica Cinema, awarded at the major international film festivals.
The retrospective closes with the screening of the documentary I
Am Jesus, the tale of the return of three messiahs, among others,
the Siberian Vissarion, in the modern world.

You can write to Andy Kozlov on a.kozlov@steppesinsync.com

Strelka Institute in December 2009. © Sergei Leontiev
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