The first Atri Festival opens with events, meetings, workshops and openings, and continues until 18 August with photography exhibitions and installations.

Reportage. Pictures, words, stories promoted by the City of Atri in association with the Regione Abruzzo, is an international festival that will continue for two months. On the first four days, from 18 to 21 June 2009, exhibition openings, evenings, shows and meetings will focus on the subject of Reportage in its numerous aspects: from photography to TV journalism, from cinema to print media, from radio to new media.

The city of Atri and the Regione Abruzzo, struck by the tragic earthquake, wanted to keep this new cultural event on the calendar as a sign of vitality and recovery, as an initiative capable of maintaining attention on post-earthquake needs and an opportunity for supporting fundraising for reconstruction. The programme has been updated to give time and space to the collective human tragedies related to the earthquake. The final programme therefore includes exhibitions and meetings on the subject of the earthquake and on photo-journalism accounts of the disasters.

The theme of this first festival is ´The skin‘, or contact, but also contrast, suffering, identity, change.

The aim of the event is to highlight the need to maintain intensive and serious investigative journalism, in any of its forms, by comparing different national situations. Telling of what you have seen with your own eyes, experienced directly, with words and sounds, is of inestimable value. As well as having a central informative role in a strictly journalism sense, reportage contributes to communication, dialogue, knowledge and understanding.

Six big photography exhibitions will open on 18 June: three of them thematic and three on individual photographers. Skin, curated by Giovanni Calvenzi, Mario Peliti and Laura Serani, looks at the different meanings and expressions of the word ´skin‘ through the work of 18 photographers, from the mummies of Albert to the Miss Italys of Berengo Gardin, from Nelson‘s skin worked by plastic surgery to Schreyer‘s suffering skin of girls, Frégers‘ sumo wrestlers and Sidibé‘s black bathers. h 03.32, the earthquake in Abruzzo in the pictures of Italian photographers, curated by Renata Ferri, assembles photos on the rescues and solidarity in the days of the earthquake; the photographs in this exhibition will make up a collection that will be donated to the Regione Abruzzo. L‘Europeo, curated by Daniele Protti, is dedicated to the historic magazine for which Oriana Fallaci, Alberto Moravia and Giorgio Bocca have written, covering more than 60 years of Italy‘s history through reportage. The other three exhibitions are on individual photographers: Kathryn Cook presents The memory of trees, on the massacre of the Armenians, in which trees are the metaphor of this long photographic account on the memory of an entire people; Stanley Greene takes us through the terror and suffering of the Chechen people, accompanies us into secret Russia and takes us along the road to ruin of the opium producers in Afghanistan with the exhibition Wounds; Paolo Pellegrin tells of the Hindu Kush mountains in broad views of mountains, aerial views of the earth‘s skin, in his exhibition entitled Black mountains.

On the evening of Sunday 21 June, Atri will host a concert by Nicola Piovani, who composed the ´signature tune‘ especially for the Festival.

The Festival is directed by Toni Capuozzo, TG5 journalist and correspondent, with the assistance of a scientific committee consisting of Alberto Abruzzese (communications sociologist at IULM, Milan), Lao Petrilli (Radio Dimensione Suono and SKY journalist), Mario Peliti (publisher, photography and communications expert) and Giovanni Porzio (Panorama special correspondent).

The dense calendar of meetings, workshops and events on the four opening days will make Atri a place of exchange and comparison between young practitioners and experts in the various disciplines.

The Festival will work from its first year with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the biggest independent medical humanitarian organisation that provides aid to people in about 65 countries whose survival is threatened by war, epidemic or natural disaster. MSF will be present throughout the festival with its own space where informative material, videos and photographs on the organisation‘s work will be available.

This year the proceeds of the ticket sales on the first four days will be spent entirely on reconstruction. On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21, internationally renowned photographers, from Gianni Berengo Gardin to Paolo Pellegrin, will be in Atri to take portraits of anyone who wishes to participate, with a goal of 1000 portraits a day. The opportunity to have an artist‘s portrait taken requires only a minimum donation of 25 euro, which will also be spent on post-earthquake reconstruction.

On the four opening days, face to face meetings with experts from the various sectors (photography, print media, radio, TV, new media) are also planned for those working in this field, who will be able to present and discuss their own projects and papers. A winner, who will receive a cash scholarship to complete or advance the work presented, will be chosen by a jury from all those who take part in this free presentation of their work to the group of experts.
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