Innovation award for earthquake film

  • Date

    Thu 15 Apr 21

A view of the old town of Senerchia with a film camera in the foreground

A research film, which gave voice to an Italian community torn apart by an earthquake, has won a British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) award for innovation.

Italia Terremotata, which was described as “compelling” and “very moving” by the judges, tells the story of Senerchia, a town in southern Italy which was destroyed by the Irpinia earthquake in 1980.

It won the Innovation Award in the Best Research Practice category of the BAFTSS awards.

Italia Terremotata was co-produced by Dr Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco of the School of Philosophy and Art History, and Fabrizio Galeazzi of StoryLab at Anglia Ruskin University.

Speaking about the award, Dr Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco said: “Our film has already been well received by the public but receiving this award from fellow filmmakers and academics at the BAFTSS is a rewarding honour.”

The film was launched at a Facebook live event, with members of the Senerchia community, in November 2020, on the 40th anniversary of the Irpinia earthquake. It features interviews with those who experienced the earthquake and were left homeless alongside a 3D reconstruction of the ruins that still haunt the community.

The BAFTSS judges described it as “a conceptually exciting representation of space as a repository of material environment, the project uses a mix of oral history, LiDAR 3D laser scanning technology and an immersive VR environment to map a multi-stranded narrative of a ruined town and its reconstruction."

They added that it was “a very moving application of the technology, using it in service of compelling documentary storytelling that really captured a sense of place.”

Dr Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco said: “The launch event was instrumental to lay the foundations for a long-lasting collaboration with the community and the municipality of Senerchia. This joint effort is leading to the design and creation of a Museum of Resilience that will serve different local communities in the Irpinia region. The VR immersive application and film created during this project will become an integral part of the museum exhibition promoting future collaborations and works with other Italian communities impacted by more recent earthquakes.

“Natural catastrophes are occurring at an increasing rate. Building and promoting resilience, that is increasing people’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from shocks, is essential to empower vulnerable communities, especially in areas where these catastrophes are recurrent.”

Dr Diana Bullen Presciutti, Head of the School of Philosophy and Art History (SPAH) added: “We in SPAH are thrilled that Paola’s innovative and impactful research, exemplified in the creation of the Italia Terramota film, has been recognised by the BAFTSS with this great honour. Paola’s award-winning, practice-based research on community resilience in the face of natural disaster reflects a shared ethos in our School—a deep commitment to disseminating our interdisciplinary research in new and compelling ways.”