By Sharon Katz
I Castelli Animati takes place about an hours drive from Rome, in the large and bustling ancient Roman town of Genzano on Lake Nemi. Narrow cobbled streets, ancient stucco buildings with red tile roofs, black iron gates, shuttered windows... in other words the original Mediterannean (sic?) style. This area has been a busy center since before the birth of Jesus.
But there is a vibrant modern overlay to the town... banks, schools, chic shopping, all housed in ancient buildings but the goods and services as current as the cutting edge. (Well, almost ... the hotel has no wireless internet support for Apple laptops.)
The festival screenings take place in the Cinema Modernissmo, with red velvet carpets, plush seats, thick black curtains, and a wonderful feeling of living cinema that means more to the people here than just entertainment. Cinema here is an art form, as respected as the magnificent paintings that fill the churches, as necessary as food.
Sharon Katz is a visual artist working in still and animated imagery. Her award winning animations screen at art and film festivals around the world, and her drawings and paintings are held in art collections in Canada and abroad. You can visit her website at www.sharonkatz.net/about  and reach her by email at email@example.com .