The 63rd annual Prix Italia kicks off September 18-23 in Turin, Italy. Sponsored by state-owned Italian public broadcaster RAI, the event aims to showcase “superior” television, web and radio content, and brings together representatives from 90 different international companies from 48 countries. The theme of this year’s Prix Italia is “History On Show,” showcasing the best of the past and present,

The Prix Italia rotates venue cities every few years, but has called Turin in the Piedmont Region its home since 2009. This year Turin has a particular significance for the Prix Italia’s tribute to the 150-year anniversary of the Unity of Italy that originated in the region. In addition to a competition in which prizes are awarded in a host of categories, the Prix also features previews, screenings, conferences and workshops aimed at professionals in the audiovisual sector. VideoAge spoke to RAI’s Giovanna Milella, the event’s secretary general, about what to expect at this year’s Prix.

VideoAge International: How many attendees are you expecting this year?
Giovanna Milella:
We expect that over 10,000 people will be participating. The “professionals in the field,” however, will number 500, including:
– Delegates representing the 90 radio and television broadcasters from the 48 countries that form the Community of the Prize
– International jurors (split into six categories for radio, six categories for TV, two for Web and five for the Special Prizes)
– Radio and television journalists and Italian and foreign press
– Professors and students of Turin University, of the Politecnico (applied science faculties) and the National Summer School
– Film directors, authors, writers, actors, musicians, producers, managers, content scholars and technology experts, professors and research workers from all over the globe.
VideoAge International:
How will the Prix Italia celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Unity of Italy?
Giovanna Milella:
The 2011 edition has been specially set up to celebrate the city of Turin, Italy’s original capital, but also to present the restored Archive of the Prix Italia, entitled “History on Show.”

The opening day, on September 18, will be entirely devoted to the protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento (or Resurgence). TV host Giovanni Minoli’s three documentaries will be dedicated to: King Vittorio Emanuele II, Count Camillo Benso of Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

In the evening, RAI’s National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Juraj Valcuha, will play arias of the most famous and loved operas of the Italian melodrama for the international public, such as the Intermezzo from the Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni.
VAI:
What are other highlights of the schedule?
Giovanna Milella:
During the week, the Festival will be packed with special events. There will be 10 international debates on the innovations and evolution of programming and technology, in collaboration with the University of Turin. Additionally, six days will be dedicated to the screening of masterpieces, in collaboration with Turin’s Cinema Museum. There will also be six evening events, including the exhibition “Fare gli Italiani” (Making the Italians); the concert “Pli selon pli” with French composer Pierre Boulez and his Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the show Octopus, choreographed by Philippe Decouflè. The Closing Evening will be held at the Toscanini Auditorium, and broadcast on RAI-1.
VAI:
Could you anticipate some of the special events of this year’s Festival?
Giovanna Milella:
After Peter Greenaway’s extraordinary performance at the 2010 edition, this year, the Prix will have the pleasure of welcoming the French theatre, television and cinema star Fanny Ardant, who will perform for our a reading of Navire Night at the historical Gobetti Theatre on Monday, September 19. The text, written by Margherite Duras, narrates the Parisian nights and relationship between two lonely people. The cello player Sonia Wieder-Atherton will accompany the actress. The evening has been staged in collaboration with the Cinema Museum.
VAI:
Will there be any new Special Prizes?
Giovanna Milella: In addition to the well established prizes, this year the Prix Italia has set up a special competition with a new prize devoted to multi-media pages of quality produced by the press and other agencies. Prix Italia, which has been awarding media excellence in radio, television and the web for over sixty years, now will also honor innovation and creativity in the new media sector. The Faculty of Communication Sciences of Turin University, with two juries composed of its students and co-ordinated by their professors, will examine the categories of TV Drama and Documentary and will thus assign two awards each.
VAI: What business-oriented conferences will be going on?
Giovanna Milella: Monday, September 19, the workshop on Living 3D will take a journey into the fascinating world of the third dimension. The first session will be basically scientific, entitled Global Perspective. In collaboration with RAI Research Center, the workshop will analyse the status of 3D in the U.S. with DirectTV, in the U.K. with BskyB, and in Italy with RAI. The second session, The Missing Dimension, will offer a historical and comparative view among photography, cinema and stereoscopic television. Additionally, on Tuesday a meeting will take place with Piero Gaffuri, director of RAI New Media and Federico Casalegno, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mobile Experience Lab, to talk about the “Natives of Web Land,” i.e., the inhabitants of the Internet.