Nuova Orfeo

Nuova Orfeo is a not-for-profit and artist-run experimental film, performance and music initiative with a focus on site-specific programming, founded by Beatrice Gibson, Flora Pitrolo, Pietro Airoldi and Stella Sideli in 2021.

It takes its name from Palermo's last porn cinema as a symbol of rebirth of the city's cultural life, this time in a feminist, polyphonic and radically inclusive key: flipping the idea of porn, in which there is an object of the gaze, and focusing instead on work in which the authorial gaze belongs to those who tend to be in the position of objects – art made by and about women, non-binary, trans and queer people, migrants and people of color. From object to subject, from fetish to agent, from looked-at to looking.

Our approach to site responds to one of Palermo’s main social and aesthetic facts: an abundance of majestic but abandoned, unfinished, unused or underused spaces, from cinemas to gardens, from decaying palazzi to the new ruins of the unfinished*. Nuova Orfeo’s site-specific imperative is to use these spaces, reactivating lost spaces and reimagining old ones so they can be experienced in a completely new light.

We are an artist-run organisation whose work is supported by our own labour and by donations and collaborations. If you can, please consider helping us.



Feb. 3, 2023

La lotta non è finita

Italian feminisms and experimental cinema in the 1970’s

A programme of films curated by Hila Peleg and Erika Balsom, co-curators of No Master Territories, Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image.

Introduced in person by Erika Balsom.
Produced by Nuova Orfeo and Goethe-Institut Palermo

This programme traces a range of audiovisual perspectives from the Italian feminist movements of the 1970's through the presentation of three short films – La lotta non è finita (Collettivo Femminista di Cinema Roma, 1973), Rony (Annabella Miscuglio, 1973-76), and Paola (Annabella Miscuglio, 1973-76) – alongside an excerpt from Processo per Stupro (A Trial for Rape, 1979), a documentary made by a collective of six women, including Miscuglio.

The screening will be followed by  a short in conversation between Balsom and director Beatrice Gibson, co-founder of Nuova Orfeo

The exhibition No Master Territories, Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image, was produced by HKW, Berlin.


Oct. 4, 2022

Nuova Orfeo: New Arab Cinema | Vol. I

18.00-20.00, Cinema Rouge et Noir, Palermo

Supported by Istituto Svizzero and TBA21-Academy

Nuova Orfeo presents New Arab Cinema, an experimental film and artist moving image programme that explores and expands on Palermo’s connection to the Arab world by centring Middle Eastern and North African artists and/or subject matter. Vol. I focuses on the work of Basma Alsharif and Jumana Manna, who are joined in conversation by Barbara Casavecchia at the end of the screening.

Basma Alsharif (1983). Working nomadically between the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and currently based in Berlin, Basma Alsharif—an artist and filmmaker of Palestinian heritage—explores cyclical political histories and conflicts. In films and installations that move backward and forward in history, between place and nonplace, she confronts the legacy of colonialism and the experience of displacement with satire, doubt, and hope.

Jumana Manna (1987) is a visual artist and filmmaker raised in Jerusalem and based in Berlin. Her work explores how power is articulated, focusing on the body, land and materiality in relation to colonial inheritances and histories of place. Through sculpture, filmmaking, and occasional writing, Manna deals with the paradoxes of preservation practices, particularly within the fields of archaeology, agriculture and law.


Basma Alsharif, We Began By Measuring Distance, 19', 2009

Long still frames, text, language, and sound are weaved together to unfold the narrative of an anonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, examining how image and sound communicate history. We Began by Measuring Distance explores an ultimate disenchantment with facts when the visual fails to communicate the tragic.

Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle, The Goodness Regime, 21 min HD video, 2013

An experimental documentary exploring the myths and images that have enabled an understanding of Norway as a nation of peace and benevolence. The binding element is a series of enactments by children that recount the myths, historical events and cultural personas that have propelled the image of Norway as a peace nation. These are weaved together with archival footage, political speeches and voiceovers from Hollywood films. In a satirical deconstruction of the Goodness Regime that permeates Norwegian society, Manna and Storihle explore the moral dilemmas embedded within the history of one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

Basma Alsharif, The Story of Milk and Honey, 10 min, 2011

Narrated by an anonymous voice, the details of attempting to write a love story in Beirut, Lebanon are told through a delicate weaving of fact and fiction. A tale of defeat transforms into a multi-layered journey exploring how we collect information, perceive facts and recreate history to serve our own desires.

Jumana Manna, Blessed Blessed Oblivion, 21 min HD Video, 2010

A portrait of masculine performativity in East Jerusalem, as manifested in gyms, body shops and hair dressing parlors. Inspired by Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1963), the video uses visual collage and the musical soundtrack as ironic commentary. Simultaneously psychologizing the characters and seduced by them, Manna finds herself in a double bind similar to the conflicted desire that animates her protagonist as he drifts from abject rants to declamations of heroic poetry or unashamed self-praise.


May 31, 2022

Nuova Orfeo x Sicilia Queer

Nuova Orfeo and Sicilia Queer present:

The Human Surge (2016) Dir. Eduardo Williams

+ The Canyon (2021) Dir. Zachary Epcar
Cinema De Seta
Palermo, Sicily

Nuova Orfeo are totally delighted to present two fabulous films in the context of the wondrous Sicilia Queer exploring youth, alienation and the sublime.

In Epcar’s The Canyon we travel through an urban residential development until it slips into oblivion. The boxy architecture and cordoned greenery of a luxury housing developments gives way to an architecture of dreams, which it depicts through a sequence of precise frames, stock gestures, and pre-programmed phrases, drifting into entropy.

Winner of the Golden Leopard at Locarno, Eduardo Williams' debut feature, The Human Surge, is a mesmerising, sinuous and queer exploration of millennials, technology and the disorientating, fractious nature of the present. The paths of four listless interconnected protagonists -pressed for cash and inseparably attached to their laptops and phones - entwine, across continents and landscapes, via bodies, chat rooms and ants.

The screening will be followed by an in-person conversation between Eduardo Williams, Dennis Lim, director of the New York Film Festival and Beatrice Gibson.

The screening begins at 6.30pm


Sept. 29, 2021

Variety (Dir. Bette Gordon, 1983)

+ Beirut Outtakes (Dir. Peggy Ahwesh, 2007)

Sept. 28, 2021

Grotta Profunda: les humeurs du gouffre (2011–2017) + Explosion Ma Baby (2016) + Fat to Ashes (2021)

Dir. Pauline Curnier Jardin

Sept. 22, 2021

Atlantiques (Dir. Mati Diop, 2019)


Sept. 21, 2021

Queen of Diamonds (Dir. Nina Menkes, 1991)

+ Deep Sleep (Dir. Basma Alsharif, 2014)

Sept. 13, 2021

৺ ෴ ර ∇ ❃﹌﹌ e Nomadica: Architetture di Autocoscienza

Programma della serata:

- Follia come Poesia (Dir. Le Nemesiache, 1977)
- Il piacere del testo (Dir. Adriana Monti, 1977)
- Serie di brevi ritratti in Super 8 delle collaboratrici al collettivo di cinema femminista di Roma: Maitreya, Rony, Paola, Anna’s Textures (Dir. Annabella Miscuglio del Collettivo di cinema Femminista di Roma, 1973-1976)
- Narciso, film esperienza (Dir. Marinella Pirelli, 1966-67)
- Medusa and the Abyss (Dir. Felicity Palma, 2019)

Sept. 7, 2021

Wanda (1970)
Dir. Barbara Loden

+ Dear Barbara, Bette, Nina (2020)
Dir. Beatrice Gibson

** Prima visione **

Sept. 6, 2021

Nuova Orfeo and Meno present Orfeo on the Beach

September 2021

Arena La Sirenetta, Via Azalea, Mondello

Palermo, Sicily

In collaboration with Sicilia Queer, Institut français, and Nomadica, Nuova Orfeo and MeNO present Orfeo on the Beach, a season of radical, feminist, cult film, experimental cinema and artist's moving image at the historic open air cinema La Sirenetta.

The programme features cult feminist classics such as Barbara Loden's Wanda and Atlantiques by Mati Diop, which won the 2019 Jury Prize at Cannes and was the first ever film by a black female director to enter the competition. We also present an evening with the artist Pauline Curnier Jardin, the Italian premiere of Gibson's Dear Barbara, Bette, Nina and a curatorial collaboration with the collectives Nomadica and ৺ ෴ ර ∇ ❃﹌﹌ on film, feminism and the Italian South.

Programmed by Beatrice Gibson. Co-ordinated by Stella Sideli.

Orfeo on the Beach is supported by Società italo-belga, Institut Français Palermo, and Sinergie Group

Project Partners:


Sicilia Queer

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