Italy Reads

Italy Reads Student Video Contest

Students of participating Italy Reads teachers are encouraged to participate in the Italy Reads Student Video Contest. Students produce 3-minute videos that creatively represent the themes explored in the work of American literature being read this year and submit the videos for judging by a panel of experts. The class of the winning video will receive a prize of 500 euros. Second prize: 300 euros. Awards must be claimed by 15 June 2019. Read how to claim your award.

Italy Reads announces winners of the Student Video Contest

On April 2, 2019, JCU's Italy Reads John Cabot University welcomed participating students and teachers to the Student Video Contest Award Ceremony. 25, 3-minute videos inspired by American writer Flannery O'Connor and her work were submitted for the competition from students at 12 Italian high schools in Rome, Morlupo, Naples and Pomezia. The top 8 finalists were screened at this event.

Italy Reads Volunteer, JCU student Jade Burr and JCU Intern Francesco Collacciani joined JCU Adjunct Professor Andrew Rutt in welcoming guests. This ceremony is the culmination of a year of reading, analysis, group discussion with JCU student Italy Reads Volunteers and theatrical performances all centered around the work and life this author. Each year, nearly 200 teachers and their students from over 65 high schools participate in the Italy Reads program or one of the other Activities for High Schools offered by John Cabot University. Many students earn a significant number of Alternanza Scuola Lavoro (ASL) credit hours for their participation in Italy Reads.

1st prize (€ 500): The Lame Shall Enter First, by the students of Class IV A, Professor Gatti at IIS Leopoldo Pirelli.
2nd prize (€ 300): I Confess I Love, by the students of Class V B, Professor Guaia, Liceo Benedetto da Norcia.

Honorable Mention for Best Script: Interviewing Flannery O'Connor, by the students of Class IV A, Professor Scarnecchia at Liceo Statale Sperimentale Bertrand Russell.
Honorable Mention for Artistic Interpretation: A dance: an act of grace for Good Country People by the students of Class IV C, Professor Gatti, IIS Leopoldo Pirelli.
Honorable Mention for Best Setting: Alexander's Dream by the students of Class IV C, Professor Cessari at Liceo Scientifico "Francesco Sbordone", Napoli.
Honorable Mention for Best Atmosphere: Crossing Paths by students in Class V O of Professor Rizzo at Liceo Linguistico Niccolò Machiavelli.
Honorable Mention for Originality: The Lame Shall Enter First by the students in Class IV B of Professor Sterpetti at IIS Leopoldo Pirelli.
Honorable Mention for Outstanding Casting and use of the camera: Loss of Innocence by students of Class V E, Professor Ridolfi at Liceo Scientifico Giovanni Keplero.

Take a look at the photos of the winning classes!

Congratulations to all!
We remind you that next year, we'll be reading
Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass!

Learn more about Italy Reads.
Learn more about Activities for High Schools at JCU.
Learn more about studying English Language and Literature at JCU.


JCU makes available resources and a workshop with professionals to learn some of the key skills of video production needed. JCU students often meet with high school students to engage in discussions that help reach a greater understanding of the themes of the text and how to transfer that understanding into a video.
25 entries were received from the following 12 high schools. Awards of 1st Prize (€500), 2nd Prize (€300) or Honorable Mention will be announced at the Award Ceremony. Those schools who have one or more finalists among their groups of students have been noted below.

IIS. Croce Aleramo
IIS Leopoldo Pirelli - FINALISTS
IIS Margherita Hack
Liceo Benedetto da Norcia - FINALISTS
Liceo Classico e Linguistico Immanuel Kant
Liceo Classico Statale Ennio Quirino Visconti
Liceo Classico Sperimentale Statale Bertrand Russell - FINALISTS
Liceo Ginnasio Dante Alighieri
Liceo Scientifico Blaise Pascal
Liceo Scientifico e Classico "F. Sbordone" (Naples) - FINALISTS
Liceo Scientifico G. Keplero- FINALISTS
Liceo Statale Niccolò Machiavelli- FINALISTS

JCU's Italy Reads Team congratulates all students on the hard work and collaborative spirit they have shown in participating in this contest. 

Students are encouraged to produce videos that are inspired by the work of American literature. Recurring themes and motifs found in literature provide a wealth of inspiration for the creativity of high school students.

Be creative! These videos can include original music videos, a dramatized scene from one of the stories, a documentary considering the life and historical context of the author, or an impressionistic video in response to one of the themes are just a few ideas. For useful insight into making your video, take a look at this video produced for Italy Reads by JCU professor Brian Thomson "Ignite Your Adaptation".

There can be no violation of copyright in the videos. Be creative and innovative in the interpretation of one of the themes. Students are very strongly encouraged to consult the document Bound By Law ©2006 Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jones for more information on how to respect intellectual property rights.

Contest Rules

Video entries must be uploaded and made available to the general public to YouTube, Vimeo or other social media network and the link included in the mandatory Submission Form.

Participation in the Student Video Contest constitutes acceptance, also by parental authorities of participating minors, of the terms authorizing John Cabot University to use the video and photos taken at the events. Download the disclaimer.

Criteria - The panel of judges (JCU professors and qualified alumni) will select the winning video based on the following criteria:

Artistic interpretation of theme
Acting ability of those appearing in video (if the video includes actors)
Creativity in direction of the video.
Originality of interpretation
Costumes and make-up (if used in the video)
Lighting
Quality of video recording
Quality of audio

Two (2) awards, for the amount of 500 Euros and 300 Euros, will be given to the classes whose submissions have been determined to best satisfy the above-listed criteria. Honorable Mention will be given to other categories as deemed appropriate by the panel of judges.

Prize money must be spent on a project or activity chosen by the class as a group and approved by the Italy Reads participating teacher. The prize funds will be provided as reimbursement of receipts. Awarded funds must be claimed by 15 June 2019. How to claim your award.

In addition to online resources, the Italy Reads program offered Video Production Workshops to further support the educational value this project presents to students.

Past winners

Italy Reads 2017 Student Video Contest Award winners were:

1st Place Prize (€500): With Words Comes Freedom, by Professor Giuliana Lilli's students at Liceo Bertrand Russell.

2nd Place Prize (€200): for I'm Not Afraid to Know, by Professor Stefania Caprioli's students at Liceo Scientifico J.F.Kennedy.

Honorable Mention for Best Concept and Directing: for To See Her Is a Picture, Professor Lucioli's students at Liceo Aristofane.

Honorable Mention for Best Lighting: for Waves of Consciousness, by Professor Papacchini's students at Liceo Immanuel Kant.

Honorable Mention for Best Choreography: for Will There Really Be a Morning?, by Professor Zumbo's students at Liceo Bertrand Russell.

Honorable Mention for Best Composition, Audio (Vocal Track), and Editing: for Blossoming, by Professor Ciaffaroni's students at Liceo Augusto.

Honorable Mention for Best Mise-en-scene: for Silence Is Really Loud, by Professor Caprioli's students at Liceo J.F. Kennedy.

Honorable Mention for Best Acting: for Fantasies of Reality (this video is a tribute to Ezra Pound) by Professor Caronna's students at Liceo Dante Alighieri.

Honorable Mention for Best New Media Interpretation: for Same Day, Same Fades... Emily Dickinson, by Professor di Forenza's students at Liceo Vittoria Colonna.

Italy Reads 2016 Student Video Contest Award winners were:

1st prize (€ 500): The Glass Menagerie, by Professor Andrea Ridolfi's students in Class 5H, Liceo Scientifico Giovanni Keplero of Rome, awarded for originality of filmmaking technique.

2nd prize (€ 200): Chained, by the students of Professor Silvana Calvanese and Professor Angela Pastore in 5B and 5C, Liceo Scientifico Carlo Pisacane of Padula, awarded for the original adaptation of the play.

3rd prize (€ 100): Second Chance, by Professor Grazia Maria Bertini's students in Class 5M, Liceo Ginnasio Statale Virgilio, awarded for the original interpretation of one of the key themes of the play.

The judges also presented three Honorable Mentions:

No Need to Hide, by Professor Antonella Guaia's students in Class C, Liceo Classico Benedetto da Norcia, Rome

The Reunion, by Professor Marinella Putano Bisti's Class 4M, Liceo Classico Statale Sperimentale Bertrand Russell, Rome

The Glass Menagerie, by Professor Flaminia Micciolo's Class 4I, Liceo Classico Statale Sperimentale Bertrand Russell, Rome

Italy Reads 2015 Student Video Contest Award winners were:
First Place Award (€500) - The Bluest Eye Book Trailer by Professor Elisabetta Ranieri's 4F Class at Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni. Judges commented: "For its original, appropriate and playful use of computer gaming in recreating the novel's characters, setting and narrative. Its use of sound was accurate at replicating the novel's gloomy mood."
Second Place Award (€300) - shared by two classes: My Mute Shout by Professor Alessandra Tedeschini's 5AL Class at Liceo Immanuel Kant, Rome. Judges commented: "This is an interpretation of the novel through different original choices (black and white, the piano score, and a series of events that are turned backwards). There is great attention to detail, as in the young woman's makeup."
Second Place Award - The Bluest Eye by Professor Cinzia Cetraro's 5D Class, the "PSG9 Group", at Liceo Scientifico Isaac Newton, Rome. Judges commented: "This video made use of charming visuals, a moving soundtrack, and a vibrant voice-over."
Honorable Mention - The Bluest Eye  by Professor Rita Gatti's IV-L Class at Liceo Linguistico Leopoldo Pirelli di Roma. Judges commented:  "This entry is notable for its particular choice of using original drawings to tell Pecola's story in a concise way. The original artwork was simple but meaningful and essential. The voice-over also contributed to a smooth narration."
Honorable Mention - Goodbye Little Dumpling by Professor Antonella Nifosi's V-D Class at Liceo Keplero, Rome. Judges commented: "This video was produced with careful research of photographs and appropriate reading choices. The soundtrack and voice-over fit in nicely."
Honorable Mention -  An opposite world...how would it be? by Professor Claudia Caccio's 4-CL Class at Liceo Kant, Rome. Judges commented: "This is an interesting take on racism and its nature. The video employs many narrative tools from drawings to acting and interviews."
Honorable Mention - Shadows by Professor Cinzia Cetraro's 4-F Class at Liceo Scientfico Isaac Newton, Rome. Judges commented: "This video deserves mention for its contemporary approach that put the novel's major themes into today's social context to see how they relate to us and what kind of behavior they should prompt."

Italy Reads 2014 Student Video Contest Award winners were:
First Place Award
- €500, to be used by the class as they choose, goes to A Farewell To Arms, by students in Class IV–D, "The Chalkboard Group" (Professor Cinzia Cetraro), Liceo Isaac Newton, Rome. One of the judges commented: "In a word, this video is stunning . . . beautiful condensation of the complexities of the novel's story told in via the beautiful medium of animation. Truly a work of art. The students and teachers involved in making this video should be very proud of their work."
Second Place Award - €300, to be used by the class as they choose, goes to Curiosity increaseth knowledge - The enchantment of reading, by students of Class V-C, (Professor Maria Gabriella Gatti), Liceo Scientifico Archimede, Rome. One of the judges commented: "A beautiful video that not only champions the importance of reading but also depicts a significant aspect of Hemingway's novel. A first rate telling of a multi-layered story in a brilliantly concise way."
Honorable Mention - Acid rain, by students at The Swiss School of Rome (Professor Yvette Manigold). One of the judges commented: "Truly a great work of interpretive art. Innovative, avant garde and groundbreaking. A truly original and bold take on the novel. This video took artistic risks that paid off greatly. First rate."
Honorable Mention - Rain, by students of Class V, Liceo Scientifico S. Anna Falletti Di Barolo, Rome (Professor Francesca Minutello). One of the judges commented: "A very nice adaptation of the central themes of the novel into the present. This video makes Hemingway's novel clearly relevant to students of today."

Italy Reads 2013 Student Video Contest Award winners were:
First Place
(500 euro prize): The Namesake by students of Class 1 A, Liceo Classico at Liceo Immanuel Kant. Their teacher is Professor Alessandra Tedeschini.
Second Place (300 euro prize): Interview with Hyenas by students of Class 3 H, at Liceo Scientifico Statale “Innocenzo XII” in Anzio. Their teacher is Professor Fortuna Pappalardo.
Honorable Mention: Let Me Be by students of Class 3 C at Liceo Immanuel Kant, Rome. Their teacher is Professor Claudia Francesca Cacciò.
Honorable Mention for Best Acting: One Hand, Five Homes by students of Class 5E at Chris Cappell College, Anzio. Their teacher is Professor Ida Balzano.

Italy Reads 2012 Student Video Contest Award winners were:
For English language schools division, there was a tie between two classes. The 1st prize of 500 Euros was shared equally by:
The Great Gatsby, submitted by students of the 9th year and their teacher Anna Madden at St. George's British International School Rome, and Shadows of a Page, submitted by students of the 12th year and their teacher Anna Madden at St. George's British International School Rome.

For Italian Licei division, the 1st prize of 500 Euros was awarded to:
Two Sides of a Dream, submitted by students of the V-B and their teacher Fortuna Pappalardo at Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Innocenzo XII'.
Finalist in this category was awarded to The Great Gatsby, submitted by students of the IV-D and their teacher Cinzia Cetraro at Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Isaac Newton'.
Best Production Design: Dreaming of Gatsby, submitted by students of the III-E and their teacher Antonella Guaia at Liceo Classico 'Benedetto Da Norcia'.
Best Cinematography: Black and White Dream,submitted by students of the IV-D and their teacher Marialuisa Garruba at Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Marcello Malpighi'.
Best Direction and Best Editing: Stay moment, you're beautiful - The Great Gatsby, submitted by students of the III-D and their teacher Rossella Manni at Liceo Ginnasio Statale'E. Q.Visconti'.
Best Screenplay: Interview after Gatsby's Death, submitted by students of the V-CL and their teacher Claudia Cacciò at Liceo Ginnasio Statale 'Immanuel Kant'.
Best Actress, awarded to two students, one from each of the two divisions of the contest: Eleonor Carpigo from Shadows of a Page, St. George's British International School Rome, and Alessia Appignani, from Two Sides of a Dream, Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Innocenzo XII'.
Best Actor: Nikola Bialkov from Two Sides of a Dream, Liceo Scientifico Statale 'Innocenzo XII'.          
Best Supporting Actresses: 'The Yellow Girls' from Interview after Gatsby's Death, Liceo Ginnasio Statale 'Immanuel Kant'.
Best Scenery: Interview after Gatsby's Death, Liceo Ginnasio Statale 'Immanuel Kant'.

Past winners of this award have used these funds to defray the cost of class instructional visits in Italy and abroad, make a donation to their school library on behalf of the class or to subsidize an end-of-year dinner together.

Over the past 8 years, more than 350 JCU students have become qualified Italy Reads Volunteers. They engaged high school students in class discussions in English, at Italian and International high schools in Rome and surrounding cities.

Italy Reads has grown from 20 to 200 teachers of English, and from 17 to over 65 high schools in Rome and nearby cities. This means that approximately 4000 Italian high school students each year are joining together to read, discuss and share ideas about a selected work of American literature, all in English!    

John Cabot University's Italy Reads Program is proud to play a role in stimulating creativity and enthusiasm in students through the study of language and literature.

Italy Reads 2019

Italy Reads Student Video Contest winners 2019.