In June 2013 an informative two day workshop was held in which students from UCLan were visited by Antonio Santangelo from the University of Turin and were educated alongside UCLan’s lecturers in television on the topic of analysing and identifying quality programming.
Five students myself included were then offered the chance to attend the prestigious 65th Prix Italia, held in Turin, Italy as part of the first international students’ jury.
Between June and September we were then entrusted with the task of viewing and analysing a variety of entries for this years ‘Special prize students award’, from countries as diverse as North Korea, Germany and Sweden, staying in contact with our fellow jury members, students from the University of Turin over the summer. This was a great opportunity to observe cultural differences and exchange knowledge, in which we set up a Facebook page to not only discuss the programmes and get to know each other better, but recommend other shows and films we thought merited viewing.
When September 26th finally came, we flew out to Turin were we got to meet our fellow jurors in person and start official proceedings. This included the chance to attend a press conference, with all the other juries in attendance from all over the world. Were each of us were introduced by name and greeted by the general secretary of the Prix Italia, Giovanna Milella. The first day concluded with the opening ceremony, a concert by the acclaimed Rai orchestra.
Sunday 27th saw the start of a week-long series of informative events and lectures, one of the panels we attended was titled ‘News in the multimedia era’, with talks from Cilla Benko (General Director of SR) and Fran Unsworth (BBC’s Deputy Director, News and Current Affairs) who we were later lucky enough to talk to at one of the many lunches provided by the Prix. The day ended with a hosted dinner for all the jurors which gave us another opportunity to network.
Monday 28th also saw us attend a lecture on ‘Television series in Europe and in the world’, the panels consisting of Christian Wikander (Head of drama, SVT Sweden), Hans Rosenfeldt (Scriptwriter of The Bridge, Sweden) and Elwood Reid (Scriptwriter and producer of FX’s The Bridge), who we were also able to converse with, among others.
The week was punctuated with excursions around the Turin area, including the opportunity to visit the cinema museum and a lecture hosted at Turin’s famed Egyptian museum.
Tuesday 29th also saw us invited to a special event titled ‘France on Prix Italia’s stage, a screening of ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’.
Throughout the week we held meetings as a jury to further discuss the programme entries for our category and worked together to narrow down our choices to two shortlists and eventually two winners, which culminated in a public debate with the Prix Italia jury, which gave us a chance to compare our shortlists and reasoning. In which there was some crossover in that we agreed on most of the programme winners, yet there was also differences which the other jury noted was refreshing to see.
We were also invited to the book launch of the ‘Handbook for TV Quality assessment, A socio-semiotic approach for Prix Italia jurors’ authored by Antonio Santangelo and Giuseppe Tipaldo based on their experiences with the students jury over the years, which cemented the notion that we were a part of original research in the field of television studies.
The final day saw the closing ceremony and the announcement of all the winners, in which we were invited to stand up as a jury and given applause. We also got the chance to meet Pia Halverson the leading actress who collected the students award for ‘Real Humans’(SVT, Sweden), one of our chosen winners alongside HBO Europe’s ‘Burning Bush’.
Overall the week was a fantastic opportunity to network with television and media professionals, as well as experience jury proceedings first hand and is one I will never forget, creating long lasting contacts and friendships with our Italian counterparts at the University of Turin. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is given the opportunity, as it is the chance to participate in a burgeoning area of television studies as well as experience a unique part of Italian culture.
Katie McGivney, BA Film and Media