Giovanna De Luca, Italian profesor. Photo courtesy CHARLIE Magazine

Giovanna De Luca, Italian professor. Photo credit: Mark Stetler

Italian Professor Giovanna De Luca is using Italian cinema to encourage artistic, social and cultural progress.

It’s why she’s one of CHARLIE Magazine’s 50 Most Progressive People of 2014. That means she’s one of the most forward-thinking people making a positive impact on the future of Charleston.

Q: Why do you think you were named 50 Most Progressive?

A: To me, progressive means forward thinking, eager to forge ahead and embrace new experiences with an open mind. When enough people do this, a community advances and improves. Eight years ago I organized the first Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival in an attempt to encourage artistic, social and cultural progress.

RELATED: The 2014 Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival will be held November 6 through 9, 2014.

Q: Why are you an innovator?

A: The film festival, which presents only recent Italian movies, is one way to learn about another country (and continent) and, by extension, learn something about yourself. Too often Italy is romanticized or viewed as a tourist destination. Not many know what is really going on there. The film festival’s purpose, therefore, is to offer an avenue for exploration to students, faculty and the wider Charleston community, and to present Italy—its beauty and its blemishes—in an honest way. In so doing, the festival can help dispel unhelpful cultural stereotypes and assumptions.

Q: As a professor, why is it important to be thinking of innovations and pushing the boundaries?

A: Intellectual boredom is the worst menace for the spirit of a young mind. It is an educator’s responsibility to introduce young people (and others) to new ideas, to challenge their biases and preconceptions, to shake up their world and, hopefully, inspire them to do great things.

RELATED: Learn more about the College’s Italian studies program.

Q: What is your big dream? How are you going to push the boundaries next?

A: My hope is that Charleston can continue to grow in a way that respects and celebrates all residents while becoming more diverse and international—a city where people are true citizens of the world. Perhaps the Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival can play a part in this, becoming a vibrant showcase not just of Italian culture, but of Charleston itself, an event that attracts students, local residents and visitors alike.