Milano Design Film Festival


When in 2013, founders and directors Antonella Dedini, a Milanese architect and interior designer, and Silvia Robertazzi, a journalist and design critic, embarked on the Milano Design Film Festival journey, they instantly introduced the city of Milan, and soon after the world, to the vitality of a project that spells energy and vision.

The etymology of the MDFF? An ever-growing entity, a cultural movement, a meeting place for confrontation, exchange and cultural dialogue, a virtual space, a traveling presence, a dynamic platform bound to the audiovisual language in its most expressive state, a hidden cinema (Cinema Nascosto), an alternative distribution channel, a real communication system, a hub for creativity and innovation as well as a forward-looking spirit.

The definition of the MDFF revolves around the world contained in the word “design”, with design and architecture being the primary linguistic codes in the process of decoding our contemporaneousness. Under the MDFF umbrella lies the communal aspects of design as well as the meaning of design and architecture for our contemporary existence, reviving the notion that everything that comprises our daily living habitat is bound to design. The MDFF yearly format entails biopics, short and feature stories concerning each and every one of us. From animation to fiction movies, from historical films and great classics to new productions, the MDFF’s cinematographic articulation has a traditional and an experimental outlook. Through a universal and compelling medium, the MDFF reveals poetics, utopias, and entrepreneurial strategies, while illuminating designers, architects, and great companies via new means of communication. The goals are multiple, with the common contact point being to provide audiences with the instruments needed to grasp all the nuances of the creative production journey. In 2019, for MDFF’s seventh edition, a significant addition joined the overalled concept: The launch of the Architecture Film Award (AFA) set up by the MDFF and the Foundation of Architects, PPC of the province of Milan, to encourage the production of cinematographic works dedicated to architecture and design, and to reinforce the use of audiovisual language as a communication tool for architects.

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Milano Design Film Festival World Tour Greece & Cyprus

Milano Design Film Festival World Tour Greece & Cyprus, directed by Annie Markitanis, is meant to establish an annual appointment with Cinema and Design in Athens, expanding MDFF’s successful concept and format through a series of future stopovers around Greece and Cyprus.

MDFF World Tour Greece & Cyprus explores and explains the different dimensions and expressions of such key themes as Architecture, Design, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, Urban Life, Biography, Art, and the Art of Thinking.
A festival that investigates our current reality and contemporary living in all its forms, presenting a variety of points of view and projects, and explaining what projecting our lives means in the near and distant future.

Design and cinema arrive in Athens, Greece, hand in hand, ready to introduce the city a novelty over a three-day event rich in premières, notable Greek and international guests, encounters, and discussions.

Thursday, November 5, 2020  
Opening Night Ceremony | Upon registration:
Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos St.

Friday, November 6 Sunday, November 8, 2020

Official program launching | Free Entrance

Greek Film Archive / Tainiothiki tis Ellados, 48 Iera Odos St. & 134–136 Megalou Alexandrou St.

The first edition of MDFF World Tour GreeceAthens 2020, titled “Lights On: Projecting Our Contemporary Future” offers to the public a wide range of films (Learning by Watching) of high value  Italian, international and Greek short or feature-length films, documentaries and biopics, along with a variety of talks, discussions, workshops, and parallel activities (Learning by Talking) that complement each other, demonstrate an innovative system of cultural communication and dissemination, with the polyphony of Design leading the way.

Light emerges as a compass to help us navigate the skin of an era surfing the newness

28+ Films, most of which have never been screened in Greece
20+ Greek + International Guests

From intimate biographical accounts of protagonists from the Italian design scene to a journey through the wide world of chairs.
From exploring the relationship between dance and architecture to diving into the power of the archive within the creative process.
From revisiting the notion of makes a home, home nowadays, to reflecting upon how we design something that is not there yet, to speculating on how robots and artificial intelligence will change our lives and relationships.
From projects that embrace the principles of social, economic, and ecologic sustainability, to the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport and to architecture providing temporary structures to mankind and for mankind from which to set off for future destinations.

GUEST CURATOR | Michael Anastassiades, with his dedicated section, titled “Arecibo Message.”

The internationally known and multi-awarded Cypriot-born, London-based designer Michael Anastassiades, is invited by MDFF Greece as a guest curator for the first edition in Athens, presenting a selection of films and talks conversing with “space and time.” How do we actually select a representation of the world we live in today, of our planet, and of humans? Exploring the role of design beyond standard definitions and summoning the power of film to engage audiences, Anastassiades sends his “Arecibo Message” as an ephemeral signal to negotiate our quest for evolution.

From the White Cube to the Black Box
If light is the condition that enables all vision, powering our experience of the living, the main challenge of the first edition of MDFF World Tour Athens, in its trajectory of “Projecting Our Contemporary Future” is two-fold.

Experiencing Light as a Particle
Travelling fast and entering uncharted territories, MDFF World Tour launches its first edition in Athens on Thursday, November 5, at the Benaki Museum, with a première screening, talks by special guests, and light dinner. The Festival invites us to re-imagine and re-design our future, not only by shedding light to the unexplored potentials of the moving image, but primarily by reflecting this light back to the social space. Exploring the surfaces and testing the boundaries of the white cube, MDFF World Tour Athens introduces a vibrant environment where design permeates and reconfigures controlled spaces, so as to leave room for thought, experiment, and interaction.

Experiencing Light as a Wave
A constellation of films, talks, and workshops wishes to refract design thinking into its different manifestations through theory and practice. At the same time, by addressing the specificity of the cinematic medium and its foundational interplay with areas of light and areas of darkness be they on a single photographic frame, over the pixels of a raster image, or in the physical space lying between the projection room and the screen MDFF World Tour Athens resists practices of black-boxing cultural objects. In light of this, the main festival programme will be held from Friday, November 6 to Sunday, November 8, at the Greek Film Archive, one of the biggest cultural institutions in Greece, home to the largest moving image archive in the country. As a host of MDFF World Tour Athens 2020 edition, GFA embraces design as a versatile notion triggering inquiry and change, hence research and innovation. Respectively, by empowering communal viewing and individual perception, the transformative energy of design unpacks the black box of the cinematheque’s dark theater and welcomes diverse audiences that do not fit standardized categories and “designed” taxonomies of focus groups. Thus, MDFF World Tour Athens allows design to enter the cinematic realm, projecting its incredible inventive force onto a familiar place and performing its universality and inherent ability to transcend the world of the already known, while speculating upon its role in the territories of our shared futures.

Following the notion “Learning by Watching”, the Event relies on the prominence and potential of the cinematic language in our digital era. The unique ability of cinema as the Seventh Art to inform, investigate, educate, entertain, engage, and bring together viewers from all walks of life (architects, curators, filmmakers, designers, journalists, entrepreneurs, critics, gallerists, professors, photographers, artists, students, civic visionaries, social innovators, cinema and design devotees, and the general public), turns screenings into opportunities for socialization and cultural exchange. An event addressed to a wide range of audiences, from specialized professionals to those who consider a festival a pleasant and unique opportunity to get to know the world of design through cinema or, vice versa, to discover cinema as a tool for describing architecture and design.

From the intersection of design and cinema comes MDFF World Tour Greece Athens’s commitment to carry on MDFF’s investment in seeing the future and designing our present, through a presentation of topics of disruption within our contemporary complexity, but also the suggestion of possible solutions. Alternative realities, lifestyles, philosophies, ambitions, dreams, languages, landscapes, cities, and biographies flow on the screen, legitimating difference, proposing working methods, and displaying changes. The event projects ways of building, inhabiting, and experiencing cities, as well as delves into the relationship between man and nature, where everything is design, study, research, and innovation.

The intention is to ‘free’ the potential of the audiovisual narrative at 360°, ensuring a direct impact on the social and cultural context. The goal is to address the audience with the idea that Design is not a profession, but rather an attitude; that everything around us, everything we use, and everything that concerns our lives is bound to Design.

The Festival is a great addition to the attractive cultural panorama of today’s Athens. Athens has been named the 2018 European Capital of Innovation for the resilient and adaptable nature that the city has demonstrated, and the innovative ways in which it has overcome extreme changes, next to social and economic challenges, turning them into new opportunities. In recent years, the city of Athens has provoked new sensations. It has presented new urban perspectives, projected new realities, and promising prospects, revealing itself as a City of rising arts and cultural renaissance.

The landing of the Milano Design Film Festival World Tour in Greece Athens calls the Greek creativity, experience, expertise, and vision on screen. It comprises an open invitation to interact through film titles and topics, that will in turn travel back to the mother country of Italy, for the key MDFF Milanese event in October.

The purpose of this first edition is to introduce to the Greek public a new, different way to read, perceive, and elaborate our present, and all that surrounds us. The goal is to instill the grain of curiosity in the audience, allowing this annual event to evolve organically.

MDFF World Tour Athens aspires to form a Greek MDFF community. The event provides a new context to erect a cultural bridge between Greece and Italy through a creative import and export, building new connections, and engaging the wider audience. Most importantly, MDFF World Tour Greece Athens aims to bring forth national and international companies who see Athens as a new place, suitable to share their stories.

Within the frame of MDFF World Tour Greece Athens 2020, the city of Athens will be welcoming an event of international prestige, carrying on the legacy of the Milanese Design and Architecture capital. The event sets the base of a broader project, a project that boosts creativity and culture, and does so with the timeless cinematic poetry. A project that has the desire to tell stories and, through them, to narrate our past, present, and future.

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