Simone Massi

Simone Massi was Born in Pergola (Pesaro-Urbino, Italy) on May 1970. Ex-worker, of peasants origin, he studied Film Animation at the Art School of Urbino. Independent animator, from 20 years he is trying -in a clean way- to make his passion for drawing become a job.

Simone Massi is internationally recognized as one of the most important authors of animation cinema. Throughout his career, he has gathered a total of 887 awards, including a David di Donatello, three Silver Ribbons, and a Flaiano Prize.

He was the author of the poster and opening title sequence from the 69th to the 73rd International Film Festival of the Venice Biennale, a festival that honored him in 2012 with a special screening of all his works. In 2023, he made his debut with his first feature film: Invelle.

Massi’s cinema is unlike anyone else’s. His main inspirations are his stories (and his dreams) and the socio-cultural background he expresses. Before animation cinema, his declared inspirations are mainly literary (Pavese, Rigoni-Stern, Dolci, or even the infinite vertigo of Borges), then pictorial (from the early short films of Magritte to, for example, Fattori and Paolo Uccello), and finally from live-action cinema (mainly Tarkovsky, then Fellini, Sokurov, Eisenstein, Angelopoulos, etc.).

The highly complex scratch technique – “discovered” by himself during the production of La memoria dei cani – characterizes his production. It is a process of subtracting material and color to obtain, as if they were discovered in themselves, the powerful chiaroscuros that distinguish him. Perhaps it is the only drawing technique in which the hand must remove to create. One could say that Massi digs into the black to reach the white: the white is a goal.

He creates his films by drawing each individual frame in his studio, in a house immersed in the countryside around Pergola where he currently lives with his wife Jiulia Gromskaya (also an animator and illustrator) and their 3 beautiful children.

The deep bond with his roots, his homeland, is reflected in his artistic work, imbued with a strong sense of justice. Simone narrates his land, his ancestors, the vanished peasant civilization, the memories of the elders who experienced war and Resistance firsthand. These are the forgotten stories of history.

The short films that made him famous (but always away from the spotlight, in total solitude and independence): Nuvole e mani, Tengo la posizione, La memoria dei cani, Animo resistente, speak of beauty and memory. They depict the pain of those who have lived in the darkest poverty. They evoke nostalgia for a time when the values of labor, humility, and honesty were the daily bread.

In the film “Dell’ammazzare il maiale” which won the David Prize in 2012, Simone also clearly expresses love for animals and anger at the suffering they must endure.

In his latest works, such as A Guerra Finita, In quanto a noi, and in the new extraordinary feature film Invelle his poetic style returns, weaving together the lives of the small and humble with the grand dramas of History. Massi’s activism, though filtered through the lens of poetry, persists in the fight against injustices.