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Italian filmmaker Marina Spada headlines lecture series

April 09, 2013

Renowned Italian independent filmmaker Marina Spada will present the capstone lecture in Arizona State University’s School of International Letters and Cultures’ International Artists Lecture Series from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, April 15, in G. Homer Durham Language and Literature building room 2 on the Tempe campus.

A screening of Spada’s film “Il mio domani (My Tomorrow),” a question-and-answer session, and a discussion on the role of women in the Italian film industry will follow the lecture.

The International Artists Lecture Series was conceived by Juliann Vitullo, associate director of the school, to provide ASU students with an insight into art, literature and life across the globe.

“At the School of International Letters and Cultures, we emphasize the importance of learning about various cultures because that helps us better understand our place in the world,” Vitullo says. “The International Artists Lecture Series reinforces our goal by introducing and urging our students to seek different perspectives.”

Since its inception in 2012, the series has featured lectures by Japanese novelist Hirano Keiichiro, Austrian author Josef Haslinger, Mexican essayist Óscar de la Borbolla, Italian theatre artist Gabriella Ghermandi, American multi-media artist Sandow Birk, Egyptian novelist Miral al-Tahawy, and Brazilian activist and writer Regina Rheda.

Spada, the upcoming lecturer in the series, was born and raised in Milan, Italy, where she still resides. She got her start at an Italian television company before turning her attention to advertising production, becoming one of the few female advertisement directors in Italy.

In 1984, noted Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni of “Life is Beautiful” fame hired Spada to assist on his upcoming film “Non ci resta che piangere.” Disillusioned by her experience in commercial filmmaking, she became a professor of cinema in Milan before branching out as an independent filmmaker.

Enrico Minardi, a lecturer in Italian at the school, notes that Spada’s films are mostly based in the cosmopolis of Milan, and focus on the struggles and inner turmoil of native and immigrant women in Italy.

“Unlike mainstream filmmakers, Spada lets her characters, especially women, exist in an ambiguous, grey world – a world all of us are familiar with,” Minardi says. “She also takes great pains to draw out her characters; the subtle details play an important role in her films.”

Minardi says Spada’s films are a study in human interaction with space.

“Spada’s way of looking at spaces and cities is very rooted in the Italian culture,” Minardi says. “Her perspective on the codependency between a city and its people is hypnotizing. Cities and their forgotten stories come alive in her films.”

“Il mio domani (My Tomorrow),” Spada’s fourth film, stars acclaimed Italian actress Claudia Gerini and portrays the daily life of a woman in urban Milan. The film has been recognized at the International Film Festival of Rome and the Lincoln Center’s Italian Film Festival “Open Roads” in New York City.

The event is co-sponsored by the School of International Letters and Cultures and the Department of English. More information can be found at