Sabrina Baracetti, who is the face of the Udine Far East Film Fest, certainly reps an anomaly in Italy where big egos are the norm and cults of personality run rampant.
“We work as a group, and this is one of the things that make the Far East Festival special” is the first thing she points out about her job as fest co-topper with Thomas Bertacche.
The fest’s effective artistic direction reflects the collective efforts of a group of consultants, she is quick to explain. Among others, this group includes Variety’s Darcy Paquet for Korean cinema and Mark Schilling for pics from Japan, along with former Hong Kong Intl. Film Fest topper Roger Garcia.
Baracetti joined Udine’s Centro Espressioni Cinematografiche (CEC) in the early 1990s. In 1995 she was appointed prexy of this ambitious film forum in this northeastern Italo city.
“Our real drive has been a total passion for cinema,” she says.
On the one hand, being in the provinces, far removed from the levers of political power, has been a drawback, but on the other it has given Udine at least one benefit.
“The advantage of being in a small city is we have developed a faithful flock of close followers, which might have been more difficult in a big metropolis,” she says. The disadvantage is that “we had to work twice as hard to build an international reputation.
“It’s one thing to ask a big Tokyo star to make the trek to Rome, another to ask them to travel to Udine,” she explains.
As for Baracetti’s take on where the Far East Fest is going, now that the big international fests have followed its lead and upped the competish for Asian crowdpleasers, she thinks one area where Udine can continue to grow is by delving deep into Asian cinema history, as evidenced by this year’s focus on the late Shin Sang-ok, known as South Korea’s Orson Welles.
She is very proud of last year’s complete retro of Hong Kong 1980s New Wave helmer Patrick Tam, including his made-for-TV movies, parts of which subsequently circulated at the San Francisco Film Festival and the Asian American Intl. Film Festival in New York.
Besides this year’s rich lineup of international and European preems, Baracetti is also pleased that Udine’s 10th edition will spotlight the work of hot young Japanese helmer Satoshi Miki, who will be on hand.