Italy Reads Announces Winners of Student Video Contest

On March 21, JCU’s Italy Reads announced the winners of the annual Student Video Contest. Since 2009, this event has been the culmination of months of teacher training, meetings with international subject matter experts, in-class discussions, and skill-specific student projects in JCU’s English language reading and cultural exchange program. Students read and study the work of American literature that is selected each year as the focus of the program and they create 3-minute videos inspired by the literary themes, the author, and the social/historical context. This year’s work was Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.

This year, Italy Reads had the unique opportunity of hosting a very special multimedia event, Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology – The Italian Perspective, a celebration of the impact on Italian culture of this book. The book was first translated into Italian in 1943 by writer Fernanda Pivano. In addition, in 1970, Italian singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrè read it and adapted 9 poems from the collection into songs. This event helped students appreciate the cultural exchange and creativity sparked by literature and the study of languages.

Spoon River Anthology, translated by Fernanda Pivano
Spoon River Anthology, translated by Fernanda Pivano

26 videos were submitted by 250 students at 11 schools in Rome, Terni, Civitavecchia, Santa Marinella/Civitavecchia, and Sora. During the award ceremony, the top six videos were viewed and awarded Honorable Mention, 3rd Prize (100 Euro), 2nd Prize (300 Euro), or 1st Prize (500 Euro).

Judges for the Video Competition were JCU Professor Jenn Lindsay, sociologist, filmmaker, and instructor for the professional development course for this year, and Alessandro Ceschi, JCU Class of 2015, filmmaker, author, and former Italy Reads volunteer. Award-winning professionals in their fields, the judges were all impressed by the quality of the work produced and the creativity and skill demonstrated by the students.

Videos were judged for their artistic interpretation of the book’s themes, acting ability, creativity in direction, originality, costumes and make-up, lighting, and quality of recording and audio.

1st Place (500 Euro): Women in Spoon River by students in Class 5D, IIS Vincenzo Simoncelli, Sora, (Prof. Venditti) 

2nd Place (300 Euro): Rosie Roberts by students in Class 4N, Liceo Linguistico, Liceo Statale Niccolò Machiavelli, Rome, (Prof. Rizzo). 

3rd Place (100 Euro): The Laundress by students in Class 4D at IIS Vincenzo Simoncelli, Sora, (Prof. Venditti and Prof. La Frate).

Honorable Mention for Best Costumes and Makeup: Grace’s Dream by students in Class 4C at IIS Vincenzo Simoncelli, Sora, (Prof. Venditti and Prof. Facchini).

Honorable Mention for Best Camera Movement and Best Music: The Hill by students in Class 3N at Liceo Scientifico Statale “Isacco Newton”, Rome, (Prof. Lovaglio). 

Honorable Mention for Best Production Design: Dippold the Optician by students in Class XXX at Liceo Scientifico Statale “Giovanni Keplero”, Rome, (Prof. Ridolfi). 

Prizes must be claimed no later than 15 June 2024. Congratulations to all participants!

Italy Reads 2024-2025 will be focused on Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

All five Programs for High Schools are offered by John Cabot University in English and free of charge. The majority of activities in these programs are online making them available to high school students across Italy. Thanks to an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Instruction and Merit, students can earn credit hours for Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l’Orientamento (PCTO) with all JCU’s Programs for High Schools and teachers can take part in Professional Development Courses and Workshops. These programs enjoy the patronage of the Embassy of the United States of America in Italy.

Learn more about the Programs for High Schools /Programmi per le Scuole.