Mother Tongues Connections
Meet Elena Cristofanon
This series of blog posts help us to connect during this time of forced isolation. We hope to create a space for you to find out a little bit more about the lives of Mother Tongues Festival’s team, artists and friends. In this first post you will meet Elena Cristofanon, a festival manager with a passion for cinema and photography!
How would you describe your last year in a nutshell?
My last year has been extremely busy. I am a photo editor, graphic and web designer and last year I felt I was finally establishing myself and my career. As a freelancer, you never feel completely safe, but I thought I was in a good position and felt my adventure in Ireland was finally making sense.
Being the Manager of the Mother Tongues Festival is one of my greatest joys and achievements and the third edition, in February 2020, was a success.
I was also very happy to have been able to afford a couple of incredible trips in 2019, one of them with my parents and partner, for my mum’s 70th birthday. I have been very lucky in my life because I had the chance to travel a lot around Europe since I was 18. My parents, though, never had this opportunity, so I was delighted to be able to invite them to a 10 days road trip to stunning Croatia. It was one of my fav trips ever.
What attracted you to Mother Tongues and how did you get involved?
I found out about Mother Tongues in the summer of 2017, when the organisation was only a few months old. At that time, I was very far from being satisfied with my job.
Personally, I was facing one of the toughest moments of my life in Ireland and was definitely looking for something to give my daily life a scope. Through Facebook, I discovered Mother Tongues and I thought it would have been awesome to work for an organisation who wanted to promote awareness about the challenges and opportunities of bilingualism. Speaking three languages myself, I thought I could be useful somehow. Little I knew that the email I sent to the Director of the organisation, Francesca La Morgia, would change my life quite a lot. Since then, I’ve learnt so much, I stepped so many times out of my comfort zone and met a lot of interesting people and artists. Basically, a dream come true!
What projects are you working on right now?
With so much unrequested free time and the increasing anxiety brought by Covid-19, I felt I needed to occupy my days with some sort of creative activity.
So, besides documenting each day with a few photographs of my own house and partner, I also started a project called Isolation Portraits. I took the idea from a few photographers who are doing this around the globe, but gave it a personal twist. Basically I take portraits of my friends through video calls. I then ask them to answer three questions, to give a more complete portrait of the person. I have been enjoying this so much and it gave me a good excuse to connect with my friends during this challenging time.
How did Covid-19 affect your work and your lifestyle?
Like all the freelancers who usually work at home, I was very well trained on how to quarantine. I’ve been working from my desk, beside my bed, for the last 5 years, so my personal daily routine hasn’t changed a bit.
I can actually be one of the few people who stopped being alone and started having a kind of coworker, as my partner started smart-working.
From the business side of things, as the biggest part of my work is related to the wedding industry, I’ve basically lost my job at the moment. And this will go on like that, until people will be allowed to gather again. This is very scary and pushes me to question everything at the moment.
Do you think the current pandemic has changed you? If so, in what way?
I think the pandemic will change everyone, sooner or later.
Personally, more than ever, I am aware that you can just plan so much. Life can always change what you thought your tomorrow was and erase all your certainties. It’s up to us, though, turn this into an opportunity rather than a dark hole to stare at.
what is the biggest challenge for the creative sector right now?
Creatives are, unfortunately, used to struggle to have their work recognised and valued.
So I’m afraid that there is no new challenge, just the same old one but brought to the extreme. This is dreadful, especially considering that what is helping people carry on in this unprecedented situation is the Arts. All of us from our homes are maintaining our mental health thanks to films, songs, novels, photography, poetry, videos.
A life without Arts and creativity is not worth living.
My dream is that this is recognised on a political level, so that creators do not need to have a second job to make a living, as it happens so often.
What do you look forward to the most right now?
To see the streets of the world busy again
To travel to Italy and hug my parents
To go to the cinema!
To have one full conversation without naming Covid-19
To see how (if?) people will be changed for the better
Share your story or events with us!
If you’ve got some good news, a fun event or workshop people can enjoy or support artists or ways people can help their community, let us know by emailing us the details and an image