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Folco Quilici was born in Ferrara in 1930, the son of Nello Quilici, historian and journalist, and the painter Mimi Buzzacchi.

For many years, Folco Quilici's name has been connected with the relationship between man and the sea, with films like Blue Continent (Venice Film Festival Special Award 1954), Last Paradise (Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear 1956), Tikoyo and the Shark (Unesco Award for Culture 1961), The Voyage of Tanai ( Taormina Festival Special Award 1971, David Donatello Award 1972) and Brother Sea (First Prize at the International Sea Cinema Festival, Cartaghena,1974), Danger Adrift, (Umbria Fiction Prize, 1992).


Also worthy of mention are his medium-length cultural films, presented as non-competing works at the Venice Film Festival; Gauguin (1957) and The Angel and the Mermaid (1980). Highly successful: La Primavera del Botticelli, 1982. In 1970, he edited three films, I Mille giorni di Firenze, on the flood of 1967 and the endeavours to save the city's cultural heritage. Folco Quilici received an Oscar nomination in 1971 for Tuscany, one of the sixteen films of the Italy from the Sky series, which saw the cooperation of some of the great names of contemporary Italian literature, such as Calvino, Sciascia, Silone, Praz, Piovene and Comisso. In 2000, for Arté, the feature films Kolossal (2002) and Il Mondo di Pinocchio (2003). In 2004, for the Luce, the feature film L'Impero di Marmo (Which took an award at the International Festival of archaeological films, Greece, 2006).


Folco Quilici has also been actively engaged in cultural programmes produced for Italian and foreign TV Companies: from Tre volti del deserto ('57), In Search of Africa (1964/65), Malimba (1966), India (1966/67), Islam (1968/69), The Dawn of Man (1970/75), The Mediterranean (1971/76), I mari dell'Uomo ('71/'74), European Man (1976/80), Festa Barocca (1980/1982), La Grande Epoque (1983/1985), Risk and Obedience (1990/92), The Archives of Time (1988/93), Adventure and Discovery (1990/93), Journey into History (1992/93), Archipelagos (1993/95), Italia Infinita (1996/2002), Alpi (1998/2004), Di Isola in Isola (2004/2005)..
For the thirteen films of the Mediterranean series and the eight of European Man, Quilici was assisted by one of the leading historians of our time, Fernand Braudel and the anthropologist, Lèvi-Strauss. The archaeologist, Sabatino Moscati assisted Quilici in the series dedicated to underwater archaeology (Mare Museo 1988-92, Phoenecians Splendour and Collapse 1987-88). Together with the archaeologist George Vallet, he made I Greci d'Occidente.


Between 1992 and 1999, he directed L'Italia del XX secolo, 65 films based on the writings of historians De Felice, Castronovo and Scoppola.


Between 1971 and 1989, Folco Quilici edited the TV programme GEO RAI Network 3.

Since 2002, he has worked for major SKY TV programmes (Marco Polo) which resulted in his being appointed "personality of the year" in 2006.


International awards have acknowledged his commitment towards cultural TV programmes. From the French Critics' Award for the direction of the Mediterranée Series to the Italian Critics' Award for India (1966), The Dawn of Man (1975) and Baroque (1983). His most recent award is the European Gold Plaque (1995) for his commitment in the field of historical-cultural films. In 1976, he received a prize at the "Festival dei Popoli" for his work on the primitive world.


Alongside his endeavours as a filmmaker, since 1954 he has also published numerous non-fiction works - Mala Kebir (1955), Mille Fuochi (1964), Sesto Continente (1965), Gli ultimi primitivi (1972), Magia (1977), Il Riflesso dell'Islam (1983), L'Uomo Europeo (1983), India (1990), I Mari del Sud (1991), Il Mio Mediterraneo (1992), Le Americhe (1993), La mia Africa (1992), Tobruk 1940 (2004). Between 1976 and 1979, he edited The Great Encyclopaedia of the Sea. In 1974/75, he co-authored the two volumes La Mediterranée, along with Fernand Braudel. Together with his wife Anna, he has published two "adventure biographies": Amundsen (1998) and Jack London (2000), Premio Chianciano and Premio Castiglioncello. Since 2002, he has been working on a series of books together with Luca Tamagnini (Published by Phoatlante), dedicated to the protected marine areas of Italy.

He has also written several novels, published both in Italy and abroad - Cacciatori di Navi (1985), translated in the U.S.A., Cielo Verde (1997), which immediately became a best-seller in Italy, and Naufraghi (1998). In 1999, his novel Alta Profondità began the narrative sequel consisting of L'Abisso di Hatutu (2001), Mare Rosso (2002) (which took the Scanno Prize for Literature in 2003), I Serpenti di Melqart (2003) and La Fenice del Bajkal (2005).


In 1955, the Marzotto Prize for literature with Sesto Continente (translated in the USA, republished in 2000), in 1981 the Malta Prize with Mediterraneo, in 1985 the Fregene Prize with Cacciatori di Navi, in 1993 the Estense Prize with Africa and the Scanno Prize for literature with Mare Rosso. In 1997, the "Premio Internazionale Cultura del Mare", and in 2000 the "Tridente d'Oro alla Carriera", from the Underwater Science Arts Academy.In 2002, the NEOS Prize from the Travel Journalists' Association and, together with Corrado Ruggeri (in 2006), the non-fiction work Sì, viaggiare.

Since 1954, Quilici has contributed to the Italian and international press - Life, Epoca, Panorama, Europeo and the daily newspapers La Stampa, Il Corriere della Sera and Il Giornale. In this field, he won the 1969 "Premio Italia" prize for journalism and the 1990 "European Journalism Award". In 1994, he was awarded the "Penna d'Oro" for his articles on Latin America. In 1997, he won the "Marforio-Campidoglio Award to the Career, for cultural works", and in 1999, the "San Giorgio Prize" for his works as a whole. In 1983, he was awarded the "Gold Medal" for cultural merits by Italian President Pertini.


He has held courses on the history of cultural films at Bologna University (1966/67), at Berlin University (1991), at the Experimental Film Centre (1995) at the Catholic University of Milan (1998), at Rome's Third University (2001-2002) and at Padua University (2004-2005). Between 1985 and 1989 he taught at the ORAO, (Cultural Image Training Centre), with courses continued through 1997 and into 1998.


Between February 2003 and June 2006, he was President of ICRAM, Central Institute for Applied Marine Research, and was editor of the Institute's monthly journals. Previously, between 1995 and 1996, he had been editor of the monthly "Mondo Sommerso".

He is one of the founder-members of the H.D.S. (Historical Diving Society) and of the MAREVIVO Environmentalist Association. Since 2001 he has been a member of the ITALIAN GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY.


He has been a photographer since 1949, and has put together a photographic library comprising over one million colour and black and white images. In 1998, he was proclaimed "Great Master for creative excellence" by the International Photo Contest.


In 2006, thanks to his books on the environment and culture, FORBES magazine included Folco Quilici among the one hundred most influential writers in the world.


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