Giulio Vita: Do not treat your audience as idiots

The 13th Vilnius International Short Film Festival on the January 17th invites to the open and free Industry Day. The programme presents a creative workshop ‘Social Media Strategies For Cultural & Audiovisual Projects’ with Giulio Vita (Italy), one-on-one meetings with the expert and the panel discussion ‘Reflections on Contemporary European Short Film Industry: challenges and perspectives’.

 

Please meet Giulio Vita. 

We have heard a lot about your festival in the Southern part of Italy La Guarimba International Film Festival. Could you please tell us a little bit more about the vision of the festival? Have you presented any Lithuanian films at your program?

La Guarimba is a film festival and a cultural organisation situated in the southern Italian region of Calabria with the aim of bringing the cinema back to the people and the people back to the cinema.

We work with cinema and illustration using culture as a vehicle to promote our values of participatory democracy, integration and accessibility.

My purpose with this visit is to find more Lithuanian cinema, as we don’t have a lot of it in La Guarimba. However, Lithuanian Artist Egle Zvirblyte was part of our illustrator’s exhibition in the past. And I am a big fan of her memes on Instagram.

 

In the culture field everyone is talking about the audience development. How you are working with your festival’s audience? Are there any changes during the years in the public? Can you note any other good examples of the culture organizations (festivals, venues and etc.) who is doing a good job with the audience development?

When we organized the first edition we realized some challenges that we had to overcome in order to be successful: we found ourselves with a young local population that was not used to going to the cinema, and with the older one that used to go but not to see films in original language, let alone the short film format. There was a generation that grew up with viral videos on their phones and another that remembered Ben Hur without ever having heard Charlton Heston’s voice. But the biggest challenge was that of mistrust. The Calabrian society has a strong lack of trust towards others and even our greatest efforts of Venezuelan optimism have been in difficulty in these years. With time, however, we realized that many of these problems were located in the way we communicate. Improving our communication is one of our pillars for creating a better relationship with our audience.

We worked with the local audience, from explaining what a short film was, to creating a programme that reflects all our categories. All the films that are screened are subtitled in Italian and English. The festival offers contents for all audiences and all ages, with the aim of shedding light on current issues not only from a cultural but also a social point of view.

In truth, we haven’t invented anything new. We have only been more romantic than others: inspired by the stories of our parents and grandparents we wondered how it would be to recover the charm that they felt for something as simple as going to the movies. We like the idea of ​​cinema as a social act, as a meeting point. The idea of ​​going to the cinema not for the film itself but to be with friends and strangers in front of a giant screen with your head upwards and not downwards as the TV requires. Reclaim the cinema from the living rooms to give it to the people.

 Another important aspect to engage the public is the use of social media as a tool for virtual aggregation, documenting all our adventures and maintaining a conversation with those who follow us.

In Italy, the best example is I RAGAZZI DEL CINEMA AMERICA in Rome. These guys are taking over the city with cinema. Is incredible!

 

Can you please share a few key notes for a successful audience development?

Do not threat your audience as idiots. Don’t satisfy them nor take them for granted. Risk but be part of the world and do not live in your bubble of cultural superiority.

 

Social media is one of the main channels for the communications in many sectors, included culture field. Can you please share a few trends for 2020?

TikTok is taking over and Instagram has been very steady for everybody. I think Facebook is dying, at least for the younger audiences and Twitter is really depending on the country. Maybe the biggest community, outside porn, is in gaming. And we should engage that and understand how to have our own voice in all this noise.

 

Are there any universal tips for a successful communications campaign on the social media?

 Yes, like in life: Be honest and respect your values, do not compromise and remember: have fun with it!

 

Have you monitored how much time are you spending on the social media yourself? Who are you following?

 Yes. I use a lot of my day on social media, for work and for fun. I follow illustrators, artists, directores, organisations, and a lot of meme accounts. From this interview is obvious that I am not a very serious person. I am sorry.

 

We would like to warn you that here in Lithuania in January – it’s winter time. How are you preparing for the cold weather? Are you looking forward for the snow?

I am completely scared of the Lithuanian winter. For me, it would be a survivor experience that will test me.

But really, I am really grateful for this opportunity and I hope I can give to somebody a spark with this masterclass on social media. I am very excited to watch Lithuanian cinema and meet new people.