It is always fascinating to think that while being a relatively small country - 2.2 times smaller than Texas - Italy has given birth to a staggering number of genius artists. Italian artists have shaped our realities, their names are the first to come to our minds when we think of powerful words such as "renaissance".
In the summer of 2023, we visited Treviso, a charming city in the iconic Veneto region of Italy, for a chance to meet the Manfio brothers, two Italians who have used their wildly creative brilliance to explore the cross-section of education and entertainment. The Manfio brothers are the founders of Alcuni group, a production studio that creates 360-degree storytelling content (also known as Transmedia) to fully capture the imagination of their audiences. Through decades in the business, the Alcuni team has polished multiple techniques - including 2d & 3d animation, narrative content, books, periodicals, theater, and interactive media creation - to make storytelling into a full-encompassing experience.
While the impeccable work of Alcuni speaks for itself, one of the aspects that inspired us to tell this story was the unique relationship that exists between the two Manfio brothers. We all know how hard it is to work with family; yet somehow Sergio and Francesco found a way to overcome their differences and develop an impressive body of work.
The Manfio Brothers' endless passion for what they do is also electrifying: Despite the fact that Alcuni is now an established studio that sells content to dozens of countries around the world, the Manfio brothers still perform in front of an audience regularly. They don't have to perform, they want to do it! Could you think of any accomplished studio executive in America doing that? There's no doubt in our minds that these two passionate and lovable geniuses embody everything that makes Italy an incredibly magical place.
Watch the story below and follow the links to learn more about Alcuni.
"Developing an educational strategy without taking into account all other forms of media that also intrude in the learner's educational process, is like fighting an armoured tank with an arrow"
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We are adding a few links to research on Entertainment Education (EE), an area in the field of communications that provides an interesting theoretical framework for discussing the effectiveness of crafting entertainment media for the purpose of learning. Although EE is a rather specific strategy, typically connected to the Sabido methodology, there are many strategies and processes that I believe the Manfio brothers may be employing naturally and organically through the content they produce and distribute through multiple media.
Lutkenhaus, Jansz and the legendary Martine Bouman (2019). explore the idea of Spreadable Entertainment Education; a mashup of Entertainment Education and Henry Jenkins' seminal research on transmedia and spreadable content,
PEOPLE FEATURED IN THIS STORY
Sergio is a co-founder and the President and Creative Director of Italian animation studio Gruppo Alcuni Srl. He is one of the most accomplished and prolific Italian authors and directors in the animation domain, both for television and cinema. He has also written, acted in and directed over 100 theatrical shows for children and adults. Sergio is a guest lecturer at the Education Department of the University of Padua.
Francesco Manfio is a co-founder and the General Manager of Italian animation studio Gruppo Alcuni Srl. As well as executive producing all Gruppo Alcuni productions, he is part of the screenwriting team behind the group’s numerous television series and animated feature films, which have been distributed in 137 countries worldwide. Francesco heads the animation section of APA (the Italian Audiovisual Producers’ Association) and is a Past President of Cartoon Italia.
ABOUT THE HOST OF THIS STORY
Sergio is an artist, songwriter, storyteller and researcher exploring the intersection of Education and Communications. He is the founder of Education is Boring and the creative director of www.italchannel.tv. He is a doctoral student in the program of Adult, Professional and Community Education at Texas State University, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Sergio runs the boutique communications shop Tiburon Transmedia in Austin Texas and has directed, written and edited hundreds of video stories for multiple purposes and clients.
This video story is a non-profit educational effort; all media sampled and used conforms with fair use licensing (education). Several videos used are also in the public domain or licensed through Creative Commons attribution.