The Corto e Fieno film festival was founded in 2010 in pursuit of a dream: to combine a passion for cinema with our love for the history of our agricultural communities. After all, almost all of us are the children or grandchildren of farmers. Back in 1951, at the end of the great neorealist wave in cinema and literature, almost half the Italian population was employed in agriculture. Today the land cultivated in areas unsuited to the mechanization of labour have mostly been abandoned. The efforts of those working their own land have a high value that is not recognized by urban society. The mountains are being abandoned and river forests besieged and transformed into immense areas of pastureland.
Over the years, our group has interpreted cinema as an ethical choice. We promote the cultural work of those who choose daring and lonely paths, preserving the memory of exhausting toil and transmitting images of a planet deserving love: now is the time to get your hands dirty and fight openly.
Every year we are lucky enough to experience the world through many micro-stories that light up cinema halls like the starry sky above a farmyard. The festival has grown slowly, like plants in a garden, and has been bearing excellent fruit for some years now. We started our adventure in a church youth cinema hall that had been unused since the war, pursuing an imaginary journey around the Earth from which we have not yet returned. Meanwhile, the venues and meetings have increased. As well as enlivening villages and farmhouses around Lake Orta, we have expanded our proposition by also projecting at the historic Social Cinema of Omegna, and this year we have strengthened our collaborations with other rural and urban areas in Italy, from Cascina Cuccagna in Milan to the Community of Valcamonica and Val d’Ossola.
The directors and volunteers who help us host the event, friends from near and far, come to us for the pleasure of spending time together, as does our audience, whether village-based or city-dwelling; this is our real success, which we slowly savour while we await the future.