To Celebrate Special Edition of Journal She Edited, Flavia Laviosa, Senior Lecturer of Italian Studies, Met with Italy’s President at Gala Film Event

April 28, 2016
Senior Lecturer Flavia Laviosa is congratulated by Italian President Sergio Mattarella

Flavia Laviosa, founder and editor of the world’s only English-language journal on Italian cinema and media and senior lecturer in Italian Studies at Wellesley, was honored last week at the Italy's presidential palace in Rome. The event marked the 60th anniversary of the David di Donatello Awards, Italy's equivalent of the Oscars. Laviosa was recognized for the latest issue of the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, which was dedicated "to the historic and artistic celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the David di Donatello Awards (1956-2016) with testimonials, reflections, and interviews," according to an official press release from awards organization.

The David di Donatello Award has been presented by the Accademia del Cinema Italiano every year since 1956 to recognize the year’s best Italian and international films. The golden statuette, and the award itself, are named after the iconic Donatello's statue of David, created circa in 1440.

To recognize her contribution to the academic study of Italian film and media, Laviosa was invited to this year’s awards ceremony in Rome on April 18. She attended a “solemn ceremony” in the morning followed by an evening reception, both at the Quirinale Palace (the presidential palace), she reported via email from Rome. Here she met Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella.

"He congratulated me for promoting Italian cinema in the world with this academic publication," she said. "He expressed his admiration for the journal’s distinguished contribution to Italian culture and art." Laviosa explained in her email. She described the encounter with President Mattarella as "warm, cordial and inspiring," as were "his words of recognition for [her] work as the founder and principal editor of the journal."

Laviosa founded the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, a periodical that she now edits in collaboration with an international team that includes Wellesley students, in 2012. Two Wellesley students contributed to the issue commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Donatello Award: editorial assistant Gabrielle Van Tassel '16 and translator Alessandra Saluti '16.  The journal provides a platform for academics, filmmakers, and cinema and media professionals to dialogue and debate about the production, distribution, and reception of Italian films. It includes critical articles, book and film reviews, notes on Italian film festivals, and a special section on independent filmmakers. The journal is published by Intellect.

The event also led to another honor for Laviosa. During a conversation with the president of the Istituto Luce-Cinecittà she was asked to present the journal to artists, producers, film critics and the media at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival on May 18 as part of the Italian Cinema Section. Her work on the journal will also take her to Seoul, Korea, where there is "a dynamic community of Korean scholars working on Italian cinema," she said, adding, "I will lecture there and will also formally present the journal at the 8th edition of their Italian Film Festival in October." Such a global reach for the journal is, in fact, part of its mission, to articulate a "multifaceted definition of Italian cinema, transcending geo-ethnic land and sea borders and moving away from merely celebratory local cinematic experiences," Laviosa explained. She notes that the journal has published five issues on the intersections of Italian cinema with Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African, Latin American, and North American cinemas.

The publication of this special edition was made possible thanks to the collaboration with the Accademia del Cinema Italiano and the support of Wellesley College. Massimo Mascolo, of the Academy of Italian Cinema David di Donatello Awards, was integral in the realization of the special issue of the journal. He has guest lectured to Wellesley students both in Rome and on campus.

Helena McMonagle '16 contributed to this story.