Chicago Film Fest spotlights Italy’s Oscar entry

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It was just announced that Italy’s entry for the Oscar race will be a small, independent film made in the south.

“A Ciambra,” directed by Jonas Carpignano with Martin Scorsese as one of the executive producers, takes place within a small community in Calabria. 14-year-old Pio Amato is in a hurry to grow up and follows his older brother Cosimo everywhere. Through him, he learns how to navigate the streets of their hometown. One night, Pio sets out to prove to his brother that he is as good or better than him but when things go wrong, a series of events will forever change the way he sees the world.

The film is the result of a partnership between the regions of Basilicata and Calabria. Lu.Ca., which stands for Lucania/Calabria, was officially launched last year at the 73rd Venice Film Festival with the announcement of the short film “The Millionaires,” which also served as the directorial debut for award-winning actor Claudio Santamaria with his longtime friend and collaborator Gabriele Mainetti at the helm as executive producer. The film recently premiered at the 74th Venice Film Festival and was shown shortly thereafter at the Rome Creative Contest. I spoke with Paride Leporace, the director of the Lucana Film Commission, about Lu.Ca.’s mission and future projects.

So far, there have been two films coming out of this collaboration between Basilicata and Calabria. Jonas Carpignano’s “A Ciambra” and Claudio Santamaria’s “The Millioniars.” Tell me about this project, Lu.Ca. and how it works.

Lu.Ca. is an agreement between the two regions to work synergistically with the film commissions of Basilicata and Calabria on shared works. The projects made in their own territories are financed by the expenses allocated according to their pertinence. This allows for the productions to operate smoothly with small investments. Now we are working on a new short and a feature film on the Albanian populations of the two regions.


Paride Leporace with Maratea Mayor Domenico Cipolla at the Giornate del Cinema Lucana in July


Was “A Ciambra” shot in both regions?

A small story prologue was shot in Basilicata around the Senise Dam. It’s great footage that should be included in the DVD version. The rest was shot in Gioia Tauro in Calabria.

Was there also a collaboration of regional actors and crew members?

Yes, a great location manager from Rotonda (in Basilicata) and a number of service providers in the area. Keep in mind that it’s a low-budget indie movie.

What’s in the future for Lu.Ca.?

An international TV series and various screenplay development projects to be shot between Basilicata and Calabria.

“A Ciambra” is one of five contemporary Italian films in the lineup of the Chicago Film Festival, which will take place October 12 – 26. Below is the complete list along with show times. For ticket information, visit the festival online at

The complete Lineup of Italian Films at the 2017 Chicago Film Festival


Dir. Andrea Pallaoro
When her husband is imprisoned, Hannah (Charlotte Rampling) is left alone with her thoughts as she tries to make sense of his crimes and cope with her newfound loneliness. Saddled with grief, she watches as the life she knew slowly slips from her grasp. Anchored by a quietly ferocious performance from the always captivating Rampling, Hannah is an intimate exploration of character and alienation in the face of family tragedy.
TUE 10/17 6:15 PM
WED 10/18 8:30 PM
THUR 10/19 2:30 PM


Italy | U.S. | France | Germany
Young Romani Pio lived at the margins of Carpignano’s acclaimed refugee drama Mediterranea—he’s now the focal point of the director’s powerful coming-of-age drama set in the slums of an Italian coastal town. Determined to live up to the outlaw reputation of the older brother he idolizes, the 14-year-old seeks to prove himself a full-grown hustler. An empathetic portrait of a boy, on the cusp of adulthood, who must decide what kind of man he wants to be. Italian with subtitles. 120 min.
SUN 10/15 5:15 PM
MON 10/16 8:45 PM

On the outskirts of Rome, a hairdresser with dreams of opening her own salon strikes
up an ill-advised affair with her daughter’s therapist. Jasmine Trinca won the acting prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section for her winning portrayal of a working-class single mother determined to live life on her own terms and who is unafraid to make mistakes. Italian with subtitles. 103 min
FRI 10/13 5:45 PM
SUN 10/15 2:45 PM
MON 10/16 1:00 PM


In a small Sicilian village on the edge of the forest, Giuseppe, a boy of 13, vanishes. Luna, a classmate who loves him, refuses to accept his disappearance. Rebelling against the code of silence and collusion that surrounds them, Luna plunges into the criminal underworld that has swallowed him up. Only their indestructible love can save them both. With its heady fusion of gothic fantasy and Mafia thriller, Sicilian Ghost Story is a unique, atmospheric fable of innocence lost. Italian with subtitles. 120 min.
SUN 10/15 7:30 PM
MON 10/16 5:30 PM
THUR 10/19 3:00 PM


More than 50 years after it became an international sensation, Italian master Antonioni’s English-language debut remains an enthralling mystery. David Hemmings
stars as a high-fashion photographer in ’60s London whose camera might have captured a murder during a shoot with an enigmatic beauty (Vanessa Redgrave). From its intoxicating color palette to its dazzling cinematography, Blow-Up remains an art cinema landmark and a sublime time capsule of its countercultural moment. With Vanessa Redgrave in person. 111 min.
TUE 10/17 5:30 PM

Italy | France | Brazil | U.S.
The new film by Guadagnino (I Am Love) is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love. It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa, flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). After Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar arrives, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire. English, Italian, French with subtitles. 130 min.
WED 10/25 8:00 PM


About Jeannine Guilyard

Jeannine Guilyard is a longtime correspondent for Fra Noi and the Italian-American community newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. She has also contributed to the Italian Tribune of New Jersey, Italian Tribune of Michigan and L'Italo Americano of Southern California. Jeannine wrote and directed the short film "Gelsomina," which was selected for the Screenings Program of the 59th Venice Film Festival, and she won Emmy and Peabody awards as an editor of ABC's "Special Report" following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Jeannine is also a writer and editor for Italian Cinema Today, a publication and blog she founded in 2005 to bridge culture between New York and Italy. Follow her on Instagram at Italianartcinema and on Twitter at @ItaloCinema2day.

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