Film by Professor Tibaldi, Alumnus Accepted to Sundance, Rotterdam

December 18, 2013 | City College

“Godka Cirka,” documentary short about Somali shepherdesses, already invited to 16 other exhibitions globally, including Cannes

Godka Cirka – A Hole in the Sky,” a 10-minute short co-directed by City College of New York film and video professor Antonio Tibaldi and alumnus Alex Lora, ’12, MFA media arts production, is an official selection for both the Sundance Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam next month.

The documentary, about the plight of Somali shepherdesses in a remote village, is one of 66 short films selected for the Sundance Film Festival, January 16 – 26, in Park City, Utah. In addition, “Godka Cirka” will be screened at Rotterdam, January 22 – February 2. Sundance ranks second only to Cannes on IndieWire’s list of leading film festivals; Rotterdam is also on this list of 50 top film events worldwide.

The invites to Sundance and Rotterdam follow a year in which the film has been an official selection at 16 festivals globally, including the Cannes Short Film Corner. It won Best Documentary awards at two of these exhibitions.

Professor Tibaldi said he was inspired to shoot “Godka Cirka” after an assignment with United Nations TV (UNTV) to cover a story in Somaliland on female shepherdesses. There, he met Amina Souleiman, a local activist trying to help improve the quality of the villagers’ lives without changing their way of life.

“I am interested in observing (with the camera) realities that I travel to, to try and represent angles on those realities with films (shorts and features),” said Professor Tibaldi. “I try to do that with an observational, non-journalistic approach. I try to refrain from judgment, simply observe; and let the audience do the thinking.”

“Godka Cirka,” shot entirely on location in Somaliland, is based on that technique. It is also a vehicle to raise awareness and funds for the crew to go back to Somaliland to shoot a feature-length documentary.

Mr. Lora, professor Tibaldi’s co-director, studied film at CCNY on a Fulbright scholarship. The Barcelona native was a finalist in the 2012 Student Academy Awards for a short that he produced in an MFA class exercise.

“Godka Cirka” won awards for best documentary at the Via Emilia Doc Fest in Italy and Festival de Cortometrajes Hayah in Panama.

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