Visionaria Story
(1989 - 2001)

Visionaria Story is different from the one of many other similar events that, very often, group a certain number of people who are already interested in video making and in cinema, even if not truly experts in this compound, who as a sudden decide to give birth to a festival or to a great show.

Visionaria is born in the suburbs of Siena where in the headquarters of the Civic Centre still to be equipped, we decided to buy, also thanks to a good bargain, a video projector.

Roberto Dini, at that time responsible of the Cultural department of Circoscrizione 2, and Mauro Tozzi, photographer and fond of mute cinema, together they invent a contest called Premio Video Amateur (Prize Video Amateur). What aimed this action was enjoyment and the willingness of sounding that strange world belonging to those ones who instead of a camera use those huge cameras for film making used for TV purposes. It was 1989.


The first edition was held April 11 and 19, 1991 at the Centro Civico La Meridiana in San Miniato, a newly built quarter experiencing a lot of environmental and social problems.
Participating authors: 14, Audience: 50 people.
Maurizio Gioco wan the Prize of the Jury with
Modus Operandi and Francesco Cosci with Adventures in mountain bike got the Prize of the Audience.
Even if the numbers were not exciting it was a real success pushing eventually our heroes to proceed and to return the year after.

The Prize entered steadily the programme of the cultural activities of the Circoscrizione 2 and already at the 3rd edition was moved to a theatre, the one of the Parrish of the nearest quarter, Vico Alto, larger and better equipped. The festival had many changes but since the beginning it focused on the importance and the necessity of building a strict relationship with the audience, who invited to vote the videos though paper forms, was increasing in interest and in number.

With its 4th edition, held on the groove of the Village Voice, a small siennese temple of rock, situated in an “extreme” area of Siena, came out an evident crisis of growth.

Facing a winning formula and a more and more numerous participation of the authors and of the audience, versus a lack of adequate financial substances and a recognition from the council administration.

A long period of re thinking, when also some of the main components of the group abandoned the team, and at the end of the dark period decided to rejoin the crew again and to accept the challenge.

The Premio Video Amateur became then VISIONARIA, travel in the video imaginary, and also thanks to the good management of the new appointed to the Cultural Department of Siena Council, Omar Calabrese, in June 1996 the 5th edition took off.

It was not an easy game though: in the soaking soirées in the Fortezza Medicea, trobled by sudden and copious showers and by all kind of technical inconveniences, the only summer outdoor edition of VISIONARIA was over.

Besides all the difficulties and a success full of shades, the Staff of VISIONARIA decided to continue the challenge and continue with this adventure and, through a more aggressive management, it managed in the following years to find a more suitable headquarter to achieve its goals: the Santa Maria della Scala Museum, in the central Piazza del Duomo in Siena. Here starts the exponential growth of VISIONARIA: the festival becomes international, the Mediateca of the Short Film is being created, more prestigious guests and juries arrive, and we manage to access to a more suitable funding programme.

Even if since 1992 we have always tried to organize special editions outside Siena, in order to let the people know and appreciate the validity of the video as a mean of expression, only in 1996 the most ambitious projects of shows and exhibitions and the participation to other prestigious festivals take place.

It is the case of “Specchio”, mirror of my desires, a wide panoramic display of the Italian video production that within three editions (1996-1999) was still held in the Centro Civico la Meridiana and that recorded a flattering success.

A decennial full of difficulties and stressful affirmation above all in our town has led the people who in those years have dedicated their own spare time and their own aspirations, to create a great working group where friendships have been consolidated also collaborating with other festivals.

The old “founders” have merged with new members, who in 1998 have created the Associazione Culturale Visionaria that, as in its statute manages the activities of the Festival and the ones of the Mediateca del Cortometraggio (of the Short Film). We believe it is correct to honour them with a tribute by calling their names in this occasion: Anna Maria Arruffoli, Renzo Barbetti, Duccio Barlucchi, Simone Bogi, Alfredo Cavazzoni, Sabina Cesaroni, Roberto Dini, Alessandro Grazi, Remo Manganelli, Barbara Mottola, Claudio Santori, Mauro Tozzi, Tiziana Tarquini, and the last ones to join the crew Simona Bellaccini and Laura Pozzi. We cannot forget the great contribution in skill and sympathy of Maria de Fàtima Braga de Malos.

The recent story of Visionaria, pointed of numbers in great ascent and of a greater willingness in accepting more and more engaging challenges, sums up the one of a festival that tries to change from the previous to the following edition, trying to widen and experiment new formulas, willing to scan the world of the audio visual and of the new communication technologies. Here that shows and exhibitions take place, new categories for the authors are being created, the prizes increase in number and value.

To be Visionary means, above all to be willing to go on beyond outer shells, perceive scenarios that maybe will never become real, let the film of our imagination run free. Those are the imperatives of Visonaria modus operandi even if fatally will crash against the provincial and small ignorance of a small but great universal village such as Siena, living its own ambiguous destiny in a unrestrained insensitivity. Lazy, deaf and mute, but an extraordinary beautiful town, Siena does not question upon its own past whilst it incessantly pretends to keep on its lap its own future.

The deal between Siena and Visionaria continues and it is in this “location” that we will continue to perform once again the video festival.

The 2001 Edition will be the one of the Decennial.

Ten years of video tapes we hope are just the beginning of Visionaria new adventure.