Collegium 2009


Pordenone 2008

Application are being invited for the Collegium at this year’s Pordenone Silent Film Festival (aka Le Giornate del Cinema Muto), which takes place 3-10 October 2009. There are twelve places available for students aged under thirty and engaged in some form in the study of cinema. The idea is to involve them in a programme of activity over the week that takes full advantage of the expertise of archivists, musicians and film historians on hand at the world’s premiere silent film festival. Those attending are given free hotel accommodation and breakfast during the week, but are responsible for their own travel arrangements, meals, and all other expenses. Here is the call from the Giornate’s website:

The Collegium – whose sessions will be open to all guests of the festival and the general public – is an unconventional experiment in the technique of study. It is designed to utilise the unique conditions of the Giornate – a very concentrated one-week event; the possibility to see an extensive collection of rare archival films; the presence in one place and at one time of many (perhaps most) of the world’s best qualified experts in film history – scholars, historians, archivists, collectors, critics, academics and just plain enthusiasts.

The aim of the Collegium is to excite a new generation in the idea of cinema history and heritage, and to infiltrate these newcomers into the very special community that has evolved around the Giornate during its twenty-seven years. We want the participants in the Collegium to feel themselves members of that community, not to be awed and intimidated by the age, experience, authority or scholarship of the people they meet in Pordenone.

From past years’ experience we recognise that we derive the maximum advantage from the special conditions of this short week of concentrated activity by returning to a fundamental, classical concept of study, in which the impetus is the students’ curiosity and inquiry rather than the imposition of a formal teaching programme. Hence instead of formal lectures and panels, the daily sessions of the Collegium take the form of a series of “Dialogues”, in the Platonic sense, in which the collegians sit down with groups of experts in different aspects of the Giornate programme or in various fields of the study and techniques of film history and conservation.The object of these Dialogues is not only to elicit information and instruction, but to establish personal, social connection between collegians and Pordenone habitues, so that the former will have no inhibitions about approaching the latter, in the course of the week, for supplementary discussion. Naturally collegians are required to see as much of the festival programme as possible.

To focus their inquiry, the members of the Collegium are each required to write, retrospectively, a paper or essay on some theme emerging from or inspired by the experiences of the Giornate. This may be done in collaboration with one of the “mentors” – veterans of the previous year’s Collegium who return to support and assist the newcomers. The principal sources of information for the publication are likely to be interrogation of the appropriate experts present at the Giornate or study of particular aspects of the programme. THE OVERALL CRITERION FOR PAPERS IS THAT THEY COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AS A RESULT OF THE GIORNATE EXPERIENCE. There are no limits – beyond readable literacy – on the style and form of the essays. The aim is that these papers will not just be a student exercise, but will provide generally useful reading even for the experts from whose experience and advice they derive, who may discover insights which may not have struck them before.

The papers will normally be published in an annual collection. For practical reasons there have been delays in producing the 2006 and 2007 Collegium Papers, but it is planned to publish a cumulative edition for 2006-2008 in time for the 2009 edition of the Giornate del Cinema Muto.

The FriulAdria-Collegium Prize
From 2008, the Collegium Papers are eligible for the annual Premio Banca Popolare FriulAdria. The prize, of 500.00 euros, will go to the paper adjudged the best of its year, and is awarded by the Banca Popolare FriulAdria. This historical partner of the Giornate del Cinema Muto, the Banca Popolare Friuladria has a long-standing engagement with the training and development of young cinema talents, alike in the field of criticism, screen-writing and film-making. With this new prize it recognises the aim of the Collegium to stimulate the interest of new generations in the history and heritage of silent cinema, and to involve them in the distinctive scientific community which has developed in Pordenone in the past 27 years thanks to the work of the Giornate del Cinema Muto.

The novel form of the Collegium means that we do not look for formal academic or age qualifications in collegians. The qualities we look for in the twelve young people invited each year are enthusiasm, energy and above all curiosity.

Prospective applicants should in the first instance simply write a letter explaining (1) who they are, (2) what is their special interest in film history, (3) what is their experience of silent films and (4) why they feel they are suited to be members of the Collegium, which involves integrating socially with the other collegians and mentors, and making positive contacts with the Pordenone population of film history experts.

Collegians and mentors are given free hotel accommodation and breakfast during the week. They are responsible for their own travel arrangements, meals, and all other expenses.

Letters of application should be e-mailed to the Collegium secretary, Riccardo Costantini, at

The enthusiastic, the energetic and the curious have until 31 May 2009 to submit applications. Copies of papers from 2005 and 2006 can be found on the Film Intelligence site.

%d bloggers like this: