Getting to Know Prix Italia

Prix Italia is an international competition, organised by RAI, for top quality Radio, TV and Internet programmes. The Festival offers an opportunity for meetings and discussion among top professionals about the quality of the programmes. The competition is divided into 7 categories: 3 for Radio programmes, 3 for TV programmes and 1 for Web projects, as well as a Special Prize of the President of the Italian Republic. Among international festivals and prizes, it stands out as quite unique in the world in its structure and decision-taking. Its General Assembly, made up of its international members, decides and resolves the editorial outline and elects the President. RAI is responsible for organising the Festival and the Secretariat is based in Rome. Prix Italia is an annual event held in September in an Italian town or city of art and culture in cooperation with the local authorities and organisations. Moreover, it provides the perfect stage for networking, cooperation and agreements to be made among top professionals in a particularly conducive atmosphere. The Prix’s community this year comprises 47 public and private radio and television organisations, representing 31 countries from the five continents.

The very first Festival, held on the island of Capri in 1948, was only open to radio entries before also embracing television programmes in 1957. It then went on to be organised in several important Italian towns and cities of art and culture so that it soon gained international fame, quickly becoming one of the most important international Festivals of its kind.
The idea of awarding a top international radio prize was first put forward in the spring of 1948 during a meeting between the General Director of RAI Salvino Sernesi, Programme Director Giulio Razzi as well as the Head of Drama and the Revue Sector Sergio Pugliese. The 13th September of that same year was the date set so as to convene in Capri the delegations of 14 radio broadcasters, representing Austria, the Vatican State, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Principality of Monaco, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and Trieste, at that time a free territory. An invitation to join the community was then extended to the United States, UNESCO and a number of culture bodies, such as the Italian Centre for Radio Studies, attending as observers. The Prix’s Rules and Regulations were there and then drawn up as was also a prize of international standing established. One of Prix Italia’s distinguishing features, still in existence today, inscribed in its present Statute, was that the sum of money to be awarded to the winners would derive from the fee which each broadcaster would have to pay every Festival to the Prix’s Secretariat, a body created right from the outset.  It was and indeed has been a democratic mechanism permitting member organisations to themselves be responsible for their own decision-making and work.

People and Prizes
Over the years, a wide range of top international artists, leaders in their own respective fields, have presented their works at the Festivals; outstandingly gifted artists, writers like Berthold Brecht, Riccardo Bacchelli, Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, Eduardo De Filippo, Françoise Sagan; film directors such as Ermanno Olmi, Francesco Rosi, Krzysztof Zanussi, Sidney Pollack, Roberto Rossellini and composers like Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, Flavio Emilio Scogna, Lorenzo Ferrero and  Krzysztof Penderecki to name but a few.   
Furthermore, the long list of Prix’s celebrated winners includes such prestigious international names as Ingmar Bergman, Harold Pinter, Daisy Lumini, Eugène Ionesco, Federico Fellini, Samuel Beckett, René Clair, Werner Herzog and indeed several others.