14 Pisa Ursula Ferrara

With a career dating back over more than 20 years in her specific field, Ursula Ferrara today holds a leading place in the world of artistic animated films; her filmography, comprising fifteen titles lasting the space of a bare twenty-five minute shoot overall, can be summed up in a brief but highly concentrated time frame that succeeds in mirroring her interior world in full.  This, because her shorts are the result of an enormously long and painstaking preparation process in which each frame is first drawn or painted by hand, then filmed using the stop-motion technique.

The resolute and ironic black felt-tip pen stroke in Lucidi Folli, her first work which dates back to 1986, gives way in her subsequent shorts to the slimmer, stringier and more nervous mark of black lead on paper - a tangle of constantly changing lines imparting substance to the sensuality and dreamlike quality of her imagined world.  In these works, the features of her female figures, the true pivot around which the pictures develop, betray her fondness for the art of Picasso and of the historical avant-garde movements, to which she remained strongly attached even when her expressive vocabulary took on an individual stylistic character of its own with her move to colour in 1997. In experimenting with thick, pasty oil-based colours, Ursula Ferrara imparts a "painting in motion" quality to her work that succeeds in portraying with poetic freedom and intensity the broad spectrum of feelings and moods captured in the course of a lifetime.  Simple daily acts, such as drinking a cup of coffee or wandering around the house, revive memories and feelings which build up on the film surface in thick layers of colour.

Ursula Ferrara was born in 1961 in Pisa, where she still works today. After studying graphic art and photography at Florence's Istituto d'Arte di Porta Romana, she embarked on a self-taught career as a cartoon animator and produced her first animated short in black and white, Lucidi Folli [Lucid Lunatics], in 1986.  It won her an award at the Bellaria festival and immediate recognition in the artistic animated cinema world in Italy.  With Quasi Niente [Almost Nothing] in 1997, Ursula Ferrara launched her personal style of animation based on the use of oil painting.  In her constantly developing artistic research she has recently explored the technique of collage, combining colour with newspaper fragments and other materials. Her films, which have won prizes and important awards, have been presented at numerous festivals both in Italy and abroad, including: Torino Film Festival; Annecy Film Festival; Cannes Film Festival - Shorts Competition; The Toronto Worlwide Short Film Festival; Taormina arte Cinema; Festival de cinema independent de Barcelona, Berlinale - Shorts Competition; London International Animation Film Festival; International Film Festival – San Francisco; Sao Paulo Film Festival. The numerous retrospectives and personal exhibitions devoted to her work include: Fano Film Festival, 2000; Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema di Pesaro, 2006; 60°Festival di Locarno, 2007; Ondavideo, Pisa, 2008; Montevideo, Uruguay, 2009. 

Address: Piazza Carrara, 13

How to get there: Take green LAM bus nos. 4 or 13 from Pisa central train station; alight at the first stop on the Lungarno Pacinotti