After two years of pandemic and a successful edition in 2022 again in full swing, Lucca Comics & Games – the largest geek meeting in Europe, second largest worldwide only after Comiket in Tokyo – will unfold again in the picturesque Tuscan city from November 1 to 5. In the tumultuous times of the SAG-AFTRA strike, the gathering will offer its 80,000 visitors each day a host of movies, series, comics, games, video games, concerts and live events.
“We are the only festival in the world that has a red carpet and a large cinema-focused component that is not primarily a film festival. Luca is a great hybrid event,” says Luca boss Emanuele Viettina Diversity before the start of the event.
The big star on Day One will be Michel Gondry, who will attend the opening ceremony and host a masterclass covering his work, including his latest The Book of Decisions.
Giovanni Cova, head of entertainment marketing company QMI, which is in charge of the film and TV section, admits there will be fewer stars in town, but adds: “However, we have been hit [by the strike] less than others. Luca is not so focused on the red carpet and the actors. It’s a festival that attracts an “educated” audience who may find it more interesting [meeting with] directors and screenwriters’.
Other film and TV highlights from this year’s edition include Frank Miller’s 30th anniversary of Zack Snyder’s epic 300, Sean Levy’s new Netflix series All the Light We Cannot See, the slasher Thanksgiving ‘ by Eli Roth, Hayao Miyazaki’s many films awaited ‘The Boy and the Heron’, the Blumhouse-produced horror ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ (based on the titular video game series) and a special fan screening of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’.
“In the last few years we have benefited from the rise of Italian genre cinema. And every year there are more and more Italian films that suit our target audience,” says Cova as he introduces the rich local lineup. Some of the most hyped titles are Manetti Bros. “Devil 3”; Amazon Prime comedy “Elf Me,” starring popular comedian Lilo; Maccio Capatonda’s surreal Il migliore dei mondi; Netflix crime series “Suburræterna”; Enzo D’Alò’s Irish animation A Greyhound of a Girl, based on Roddy Doyle’s novel of the same name; and RAI’s fantasy teen drama “Noi siamo leggenda,” directed by Carmine D’Elia of “The Sea Beyond.” Other famous Italian guests included Franco Nero, Giancarlo Giannini and the musical duo Oliver Onions, best known for scores for the films of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill.
The theme of this year’s edition is “Together”. The focus is on “small communities that love a [given] part of the content and enjoy it on their own in their daily lives.” “But when they come to Luca, they meet each other and can interact with the creators of this [piece of] content,” says Cova. Together with Vietina, he explains how the program will be a godsend for fans of many popular franchises.
A “Jurassic Park” themed installation in honor of the saga’s 30th anniversary, “Barbie” and “One Piece” themed parades, exhibitions in honor of pop icons such as “Doctor Who”, “Harry Potter” and the universe of J. RR Tolkien and Batman – themed pavilion Gotham Shadows are just some of the gems ready to delight the crowds filling the streets of Lucca. In addition, attendees will enjoy the unveiling of two brand new spaces: an 1,800-seat eSports stadium sponsored by Riot Games (the studio behind gaming hits like “League of Legends” and “Valorant”), and the Isybank Community Village, a set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Lucca Games by hosting live events, web creators and cosplay enthusiasts, among others.
“This will be a special edition for another reason,” Viettina adds. “This year Lucca will host nine mangaki; it’s almost like a wave. Unlike San Diego and New York [Comic-Cons]which are driven by North American productions, Angoulême is tied to Franco-Belgian, and Comiket, driven by Japan’s domestic market, Lucca is the only center in the world dedicated to comics that manages to “speak” to everyone, from the West to the East .” Japanese manga artists heading to Italy include Hiro Mashima, Naoki Urasawa, Keigo Shinzo, Kan Takahama and Shintaro Kago.