FISM 2015 – A DREAM COME TRUE by Deana Murray

FISM 2015 - Domenico Dante

FISM 2015 – Deana Murray, Domenico Dante (President of FISM), and his wife, Cristiana.

Over 2700 magicians and traveling companions including me and my good friend, country singer, Lynn Anderson magically appeared at the Italian Riviera for the 26th FISM contests and performances for what can only be described as the Olympics of Magic.  FISM [Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques] is held once – every three years in a different country.  The competition for venue rivals the magic itself.  This year, from July 6th to the 11th, this amazing group of people from around the world assembled at the PALA CONGRESSI Event Center in RIMINI, ITALY, “land of ancient secrets and endless emotions”.

FISM 2015 Italy

Deana Murray says hello to Domenico Dante at FISM 2015, FISM hasn’t even started yet, but Domenico is already celebrating!

It was a major accomplishment for DOMENICO DANTE (International FISM President) and WALTER ROLFO (FISM President and Event Producer) to fetch, facilitate and totally fascinate this group from morning until past midnight each and every day. Let me start by thanking them for making the IMPOSSIBLE – POSSIBLE.

There were 2 categories, 8 Specialties, 150 Competitors, and 1 DREAM for which magicians competed…  And a special event for an historical Guinness World Book Challenge.   This season, for the second time, contestants had to “pre-qualify” in a FISM sanctioned event throughout the world to even get to this level of performance.  There were THREE Specialties which had NO, repeat NO, 1st place winner.  Because of the high standards set by the judges – every Specialties winner was set to compete not only with their peers from this year, but with the winners of FISM since its origin in 1946.  Presidents  of Clubs from every county, like Shawn Farquhar (current IBM President, USA) and John Pye (International President 2012-2013, England) were there.  To judge, there were celebrities and past winners like Julianna Chen (China) and SOMA (Hungary) to insure authenticity of the highest standard.

Harold Voit - FISM 2015

Our Good Friends 2nd from left, Harold Voit and Deana Murray & Angelika Voit of Zauberzentrale Munich.

As with any event of this magnitude, there were major highlights even apart from the magic.  For me, it was the “White Gala”.  Everyone was asked to wear something white to a sit down dinner, served family style, under the stars.  Several courses of Italian cuisine with delicate balances of meats and cheeses and pasta were served, which I could not pronounce, but I totally enjoyed.  I did learn that “Tiramisu” means “Bring me up!”   Which it did!  And the evening ended with a surprise FIREWORKS show in the gardens.

There were a few snafus and challenges.  Unforeseen technical delays and issues like the main curtain refusing (temporarily) to close.  And taxing waits for taxis.  But the sun shined.  Although the weather was hot, the open air restaurants were refreshing and wonderful.  The language barriers were not walls.  And the historical environment gave way to new friendships and innovative magic, performed and sold.

Deana Murray is the creative energy behind

The most amazing advances in magic were the forward movement and thinking applied to older concepts….  The use of a “glass elevator” that disappearred the magician into an invisible second floor, only to return with his beautiful assistant from the same unknown.   There were cards produced from bubbles.  And smoke filled bubbles which became doves.  My personal favorite was a routine that went “swimmingly” and incorporated the RIMINI beach theme.  {Jakob Matias and his two assistants took 3rd place in the Grand Illusion Specialty Section.}  There were productions of beach furniture, and quick changes into swim suits and back.  Levitations over an extended 20’ panel of blue fabric representing the water, creating the illusion of swimming from one end to the other.  The act ended in Jakob taking a water shower (atop scaffolding) out in the audience after disappearing from the stage.  WOW!!!

Before determining the BEST OF FISM in the 2 Catagories (Stage and Close-up), the first place winners in each Specialty Section were announced.  Each winner for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places were presented awards from the hands of Domenico Dante and Walter Rolfo.  *The following 1st place winners were then asked to perform once more to determine the top honors.

THE “FISM CHAMPIONS” and “Special Award Winners” in the SPECIALTIES SECTION

GENERAL MAGIC – STAGE:    *KIM YOUNG-MIN  (Republic of China)

GENERAL MAGIC – TABLE      *HORRET WU  (Taiwan) and *SHIN LIM (Canada)  {tied for 1st}.

COMEDY   * NO 1ST,   Special Award – Most Original- YANN FRISCH  (France)

MENTALISM  *THOMMY TEN and AMELIE MARC   (Note:  This honor hasn’t been given in 9 years)

GRAND ILLUSION                          *NO 1ST

MANIPULATION                            *HECTOR MANCHA  (Spain)

MICRO/CLOSE-UP                         *NO 1ST Special Award – Most Original – DK  (Korea)

PARLOUR MAGIC                          *PIERRIC  (Switzerland)

Special Award – Innovation – ANTONIO ROMERO  (Spain)

Special Award – Invention – SEMBA  (Argentina)


In the words of Walter Rolfo, “Magic is a wonderful art that brings us together and has united many of us since we were children.”

FISM 2015

SILVAN and Deana Murray Close Out FISM 2015

The heat, the distance, and the difficulties will soon fade.  The magical points of interest, the friendships, and all things new and historical, made this trip to Italy entirely unforgettable.  In Italian, they say “RECORDA”… The memory will remain a favorite of mine forever.

P.S.  FISM – 2018  will be held in South Korea.

P.P.S.  By the way, I was among the 130 magicians who met the challenge to be in the Guinness World  Book of Records for ‘The Most Magicians Performing Continuously On A Single Stage.”  What a moment!!!  For now, I get to sleep and dream again the DREAM of RIMINI.  Caio.

That re-connect with friends from around the world was everything.  Some of my friends and heroes were there.  Milt and Arlene Larsen from the Magic Castle.  Irene and Erica Larsen were also ‘in the house.’  Harold Voit and Angelika from Germany.  Eugene Burger.  Max Maven.  Finn Jon.  Kevin James.  David Stone.  SILVAN.  Trigg Watson.  There were even some who grew up in the ranks of the Teen Competition at the Desert Magic and World Magic Seminars who performed here:  The Reed Sisters, Dan Sperry and Reuben Moreland.  It was easy to make new friends, Like Brijit and the comedy team Disguido and the new “IT” kid Moritz Muller.