Ribalta Experimental Film Festival is a new event completely dedicated to experimental cinema in Italy. The festival will take place in Vignola (MO), Emilia-Romagna at the headquarters of the Ribalta club, with the screenings at the Bristol Cinema in Savignano sul Panaro (MO). Its purpose is to give voice to a kind of cinema that doesn't have one. A cinema that is new, innovative and avant-gard.

RIBALTA (the Limelight)

Being in the limelight means to stand in the most exposed and visible part of the stage, and thus it can mean "to hold an important part of the scene" But in Italian "Ribalta" also refers to the verb Ribaltare: "To turn upside-down", or "to put in perspective". Ribalta Experimental Film Festival has the ambition to be a visible and relevant proscenium for the kind of cinema that changes our minds, defies our bon ton watching habits.


Experimental cinema is hard to define. A cinema that breaks the narrative, and most of all visual, bounds to wich we're used. A cinema that elaborates on film medium to its fullest, by including even the most extreme possibilities. John Cage said it well: an experimental action is one the outcome of which is not forseen; the cinema we're looking for is a cinema of the unpredictable.


Ribalta Experimental Film Festival is a contest for short-lenght experimental films. We chose to focus on short films in order to give voice to young, non-institutional, explorational cinema. The kind of cinema that silently prepares the future of the "seventh art", by experimenting upon new forms of expression.


The festival will take place in Vignola (MO) at the headquarters of the Ribalta with the screenings at the Bristol Cinema in Savignano sul Panaro (MO). It’s a newly-born event: a new festival of experimental cinema in Italy, the first in the area of Modena, in Vignola. The Ribalta club is a small no-profit association run by passionate amateurs that for the last 10 years has been differenciating itself for a cultural offer both, important and marginal, new and avant-guarde.

The Festival is composed of several sections. Only works produced in the last two years (2022-2023) under 40 minutes (under 20 minutes only for RIBALTA ANIMATA) in length will be taken into consideration. Films that were not made in 2022/2023 are also accepted only if they have never been screened before in Europe and/or Italy or, even, completely unreleased. Only for these works, not made in 2022/2023, are asked to guarantee a premiere at the Festival - in this case, it's necessary to write it down briefly in the cover letter.

Sections open to submissions:

- THE MAIN COMPETITION, open to experimental films, videos which innovate the artistic field of moving images.

- LIMINA, open to not quiet experimental films: peculiar, unclassifiable pictures; art films unafraid to dare.

- RIBALTA ANIMATA - SOUND BY FRAME, competitive section of the Festival, curated by Roberto Paganelli (OTTOmani Association), dedicated to animated short films characterized by a creative relationship between animated image and soundtrack.
Films with particular attention to the creative interaction between sound and animated image will be admitted to the selection, including both video clips as well as the most diverse experimental forms, more abstract or figurative, which propose an original and generative use of sound in combination with the image.

It is at the discretion of the selection committee whether to program the films in the Main Competition or in Limina. Also at the discretion of the selection committee, some films may be invited to participate in the Festival as SPECIAL SCREENINGS, out of competition.

The third edition of Ribalta Experimental Film Festival’s Main Competition will feature an outstanding jury, made of 7 passionate cinephiles and experts in the field.

The following awards are to be assigned:

- Golden Arrow for Best Film
- Arrow for Best Director
- Arrow for Best Script/concept
- "Freak" Arrow for Best Folly
- Honorable Mention/Special Arrow

The third edition of Ribalta Experimental Film Festival’s LIMINA section will feature a unique Jury, made of the young students that are going to attend REFF Academy course, completely dedicated to disclosure experimental cinema to the next generation.

The following awards are to be assigned:

- LIMINA Best Film
- LIMINA Best Performance
- LIMINA Honorable Mention

More information will be released in the coming months about the awards and jury for the new RIBALTA ANIMATA. SOUND BY FRAME section.

Since the Ribalta Experimental Film Festival is held by amateurs and passionate cinephiles, who believe in culture as a pluralistic and intangible value, the awards assigned by the jury are purely symbolic. The selected films are going to be judged by an exceptional jury, and seen by a vast audience of film lovers.

There's more! The winners will have the chance to participate in Nonantola Film Festival, between April and May.


- Applications will be open from July 1st to December 1st, 2023. The applications to Ribalta Experimental Film Festival are received and validated only via the FilmFreeway platform

- The act of applying implies the automatic and full agreement with the norms and conditions expressed in these regulations


- The selection will be conducted by artistic director Giovanni Sabattini and a selection committee made up of young cinephiles.

- The artistic director and the section committee of Ribalta Experimental Film Festival are the only authority on the selection process.

- The results will be made available on the official Ribalta Experimental Film Festival Facebook page.

- The producer/artist whose work is selected for the festival will be contacted via e-mail.

- The works which don’t respond to all the requirements of these regulations will be declined.

- There will be no kind of financial compensation for the selected artworks, even for the films invited out of competition. The cost of the fee is completely dedicated to the organization of the Festival. Three different deadlines are provided:

Earlybird Deadline: € 5,00/€ 2,00 for student project (July 1st to August 1st)
Regular Deadline: € 7,00/€ 5,00 for student project (August 2nd to November 10th)
Late Deadline: € 10,00/€ 7,00 for student project (November 11th to December 1st)

- The application form requires, among others, the following information:

1) Applicant General Information, such as full name, stage name, date of birth, place of birth, address, e-mail, and phone number

2) Producer or Representative Information, such as stage name, date of birth, place of birth, address, e-mail and phone number

3) Film information including title, summary, technical file, length of the work

4) Distribution Information such as official website and social media, if available

5) Film images, still and/or posters in high definition for marketing purposes

6) Film rating

7) All the movies have to be subtitled in English

The submissions which don’t correspond to all the requirements of these regulations will be declined.


- The artists/producers of the selected artworks must turn in the following documentation up to two weeks after being made aware of the successful application via e-mail:

a) a digital file of the audiovisual work in .H264 and/or DCP

b) the work’s dialogue list, in English or Italian, in .SRT or .DOC format, for the purposes of subtitling and closed-caption

c) summary of the work, technical sheet, cast, and filmography of the film director(s), in a .PDF file

d) the work’s promotional material for the purposes of marketing and press: at least three images of the artwork and one picture of the director, in .JPG or .PNG format with an image quality of at least 300dpi or 2MB properly identified and credited.


- Applicants must commit to the following:

a) To send all the material requested for the selected works

b) To concede to Ribalta Experimental Film Festival the right to use the images of the work and other materials for marketing purposes

Ribalta Experimental Film Festival commits to the following:

a) To post on the Facebook page the selection results

b) To publicize the selection to press organizations and on digital mediums

- The applicant with submitted work on Ribalta Experimental Film Festival, according to these regulations, must be the creator or co-creator of the artwork and/or possess the moral and material rights associated to it, committing to respect integrally the rights of intellectual property of others and responding fully and with exclusivity for any violation, losses and moral or material damage that may occur.

- For the purpose of disclosing the selection result, the applicant with work submitted to Ribalta Experimental Film Festival, authorizes the festival, without charge, exclusively, temporarily, irrevocably, and irreversibly, with no restriction in terms of territory, quantity of samples, number of mediums, number of emissions, transmission and retransmissions, to share and use their name and the one of their work exclusively for the festival’s marketing purposes.

- It will be the applicant's responsibility to attest the authorship of the artwork, freeing the festival of any responsibility concerning incoherencies on that matter.


- Doubts about these regulations can be sent to electronic address:

- Further information and insights can be found on Ribalta Experimental Film Festival’s official Facebook page

Overall Rating
  • Wonderful and young festival. This type of festival preserves the best form of experimental cinema, allowing actors and directors to meet and collaborate for days. See you next year!

    March 2023
  • Atsuhiko Watanabe

    I am very delighted that my short film THANATOS was seleted in the main competition of this esteemed festival. Thank you very much.

    March 2023
  • Ribalta Experimental Film Festival is a breath of fresh and poetic air. Giovanni Sabattini and the rest of the jury put together an amazing selection and welcoming atmosphere. I'm deeply grateful and honored my film Stabat Mater was awarded best script/concept. Thanks everyone and congratulations.

    March 2023
  • Gilles Daubeuf

    Many Thanks to Ribalta Experimental Film Festival for their kindness and professionalism. They take the time to discuss with the directors to ensure the best possible screening. And they offers critical feedback, allowing us to move forward. Very much appreciated. Grazie Mille. :o)

    March 2023
  • A fantastic and VERY generous festival - thank you!!!🌟🤗
    from OLOF

    March 2023