BERGAMO: THIS JUNE THE SIMPSONS DIRECTOR IS COMING TO TOWN!

Bergamo, 22nd of June – David Silverman, animator and director of The Simpsons, will be speaking live on stage at Bergamotoons festival: a cartoon marathon, a symposium on The Simpsons 30 years phenomenon and a keynote at the University of Bergamo.

From Thursday JUNE 22nd to Saturday 24th 2017, thanks to the BergamoTOONS Festival, the northern Italy charming city for three days will become the world’s capital of cartoons. The BergamoTOONS Festival is the first edition of a feast made of free symposiums, film-screenings and exhibitions dedicated to animated films.

The common theme of the event will be humour, through screenings of a variety of funny/feel-good animated films. This is a characteristic trait of the animations of Bruno Bozzetto, the acclaimed director, cartoonist and honorary president of the BergamoToons association. The keynote address will be delivered by Bozzetto’s Hollywood friend and colleague David Silverman. Silverman, 60, is a highly celebrated film director who, by bringing to life the drawings of Matt Groening, directed the very first episode of The Simpsons, born to light 30 years ago (19th of April, 1987). Silverman, today still active with its Simpsons directorial assignments, is a giant of the international animation scene: his most famous productions including the Pixar masterpiece Monster & Co (2001, co-directed with Pete Doctor) and The Simpsons Movie (2007). A spectacular outdoor screening of the latter animated feature film, projected onto the old Venetian walls surrounding Bergamo’s upper city, will be introduced by Silverman himself on Saturday 24th of June.

We could not hope for a better guest for the kick-off edition of BergamoTOONS” commented Federico Fiecconi, artistic director of the festival. “David Silverman embodies, like no other, the key aspects of animation that we want to celebrate at the BergamoTOONS: an unbridled charge of irreverent and transgressive spectacularity. David is a shining light both as an animator and as a renown musician, who loves to entertain with humour by playing his tuba”.

Not only will BergamoTOONS bring a festive atmosphere to the beautiful city through Silverman’s unique and exclusive presence, but it will also have a “serious” mission. The whole 3 days event hopes to inspire a younger generation of creatives by providing useful resources that will help kickstart their careers in the animation world through introductory sessions, seminars, workshops and masterclasses. These sessions will be focused upon script-writing, narrative themes and film making technology and explain the skills needed to combine these elements to create entertainment productions such as movies and Tv series, commercials and other forms of animated films.

The home and heart of BergamoTOONS, will be the complex of Sant’Agostino at the University of Bergamo in the upper city: the principle objective of the event is to cultivate interest in animation and increase awareness of a world where high levels of creativity and the spirit of enterprise can help to create a rich environment where different arts and crafts can flourish. The series of events will hopefully stimulate the development of new professional careers in the film-making industry, encouraging an interaction between aspiring young people and the protagonists of the world of animation.

This mission will be supported by the significant presence of Jean Thoren, publisher of Animation Magazine (celebrating 30 years as leading monthly animation magazine) and of its annual International Education and Career Guide, who will serve as the opening panelist. The festival will culminate in a keynote by David Silverman, scheduled for Saturday 24th of June in the prestigious Aula Magna.

In Bergamo, there is already a heightened level of excitement and expectation for the time when Simpsons-fever will take over the city. The second day of BergamoTOONS, on Friday 23rd of June, will be “Simpsons day”. In the morning, the University will host the The Phenomenon of The Simpsons debate with expert contributions from Silverman and the Bolognese animator Silvia Pompei, arriving especially for the occasion from The Simpsons’ Hollywood Studio, and other influential industry players and panelists. To follow, in the late morning, there will be the opening of the exhibition The Art Behind the Scenes of The Simpsons, which will reveal to the world the backstage work needed to create The Simpsons’ animations: on display dozens of original pieces of artwork used to produce the hugely popular Fox series since the late ‘80s.

The exhibition, set up in the former church of Santa Maria Maddalena in Sant’Alessandro Street, in the lower city, will mark a fascinating and ironic encounter between “the sacred and the profane”. Saints and cherubs, decorating the walls of the church, will look down upon screenings of the once contentious TV series, which first aired in Italy on Channel 5, (after the watershed) on 1st of October 1991. The Simpsons arrived in Italy thanks to the initiative of the then-new network director Giorgio Gori and today’s Mayor of Bergamo. At the time, Gori called in the current artistic director of BergamoTOONS, animation chronicler and historian Federico Fiecconi, to assist him in the unenviable, challenging task of introducing to the press the then-controversial American series. Also scheduled is The Simpsons Silverman’s Marathon, featuring episodes of the series, selected personally by director David Silverman.

Bergamo will not only be celebrating the Simpsons’ 30th anniversary, but also the works of recent artists and classic Masters. These will include the 70th anniversary of the famous Warner Brothers’ Daffy Duck, and the 50th anniversary of the clever and gentle Croatian animated scientist, Professor Balthazar.

BergamoTOONS has set many events in the lower city, where a magical link between culture, art and animated cinema will be created in the most prestigious city spaces. The Donizetti Theater will host an event celebrating the marriage of Rossini’s immortal work and signatory classical music with animation. In the late afternoon, the theater will host a presentation of the works of the genial Italian-Bavarian cartoonist Joshua Held, featuring original animations created for the comic opera The Barber of Seville and for The Journey to Reims theatrical representations. Next, in the evening, the spotlight will shift to fellow citizen Bruno Bozzetto, who will host the screening of a new, restored version of his masterpiece feature feature film Allegro non troppo (1976). Forty-one years after its original release, this spell-binding audio-visual spectacular, that expertly weaves together fantasy animation and classical music, is returning home. The Donizetti Theatre, where the original live action scenes were filmed, will play host to a screening of the film, attended also by the then-young actor playing the Artist role, the now famous director Maurizio Nichetti.

The Art District of Bergamo will also open its doors to BergamoTOONS on Thursday 22nd of June. The Modern Art Gallery GAMeC will host an afternoon dedicated to Bruno Bozzetto consisting of the opening day of the exhibition of original drawings, Allegro, it’s animated Art!, followed by a projection of the feature film Bozzetto non troppo (2016) by Marco Bonfanti in the presence of the filmmaker to whom it is dedicated. On the evening of Friday 23rd of June a special animated films program will be screened a few steps from the halls exhibiting paintings of Raffaello, Mantegna and local geniuses Moroni and Baschenis, at the Carrara Art Academy courtyard.

Throughout the event, Sant Agostino park in the upper city will be the venue for evening screenings of feature films. On the night of Saturday 24th of June the Festival will approach its conclusion with a screening of Silverman’s award-winning film The Simpsons The Movie (2007). Among other events designed for young audiences, there will be a Friday night Aperitoon at MAITE. Food, drinks and animation will also meet at the open-daily TOON Pub featuring live cartoonists and animators’ performances, book dedications and evening entertainment at the San Michele Cannons area in the old Venetian walls.

The grand finale is scheduled for Saturday 24th of June with the Cartoon Party in the cloister of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in the heart of the upper city. This event will be an evening open to all, but pre-booking is required as limited spaces are available.

BergamoTOONS will draw to a close with further animation projections and the presentation of awards, accompanied by live music and a many surprises. Look out for a magical musical performance from Silverman, joining in the band on the closing concert.

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