THE SOUL OF SICILY, 34min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Margie Raimondo
The food we eat connects us to a vast web --from farmers to producers - involved in getting food from farm to fork. We probably don’t pause to think about it while eating an apple or cheese, but this global food system is central to some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Farmers are our most fragile link in this food chain.
Sicily’s history is known for its beautiful sea, flora, and lush agriculture. Excessively high temperatures and fires are threatening important industries and creating food shortages. L’anima della Sicilia (The Soul of Sicily) tells the story of its people, the Soul of Sicily, that are adapting to their lives to save the land and preserve their traditions. Farmers, tour guides and restaurateurs tell how they are individually addressing the issue and make a call for a universal solution.
This is a global problem. We must Think Globally but Act Locally! Real change will occur with strong governance at multiple levels, combining top-down and bottom-up policies to move toward a low-carbon economy without leaving anyone behind.
I am proud to give voice to the concerns of these people, The Soul of Sicily.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I wanted to give voice to the lives of these beautiful souls – the farmers, food producers and tourism operators that are working every day to preserve both family and cultural traditions in the face of many hardships and an uncertain world.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
In 2014 and 15, I worked on farms in Italy to train as a farmer and chef. I lived with farming families. I was so inspired by their commitment to keep the farming and cultural traditions going.. I told myself then I would someday return to capture their stories.
I took two videographers with me to Sicily in 2021. We spent 17 days filming. This was October 2021. I released the film in September 2022.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Of course, budget! I self-funded this film so I was over budget from beginning to the end. I aimed to make a great film so I hired the best cinematographers and editor I could afford. I am very proud of the work my small crew produced.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It literally brought tears to my eyes to hear their reactions.
I felt grateful to my crew, Chris, the farmers, food producers, and the tour operators for helping me make this dream come to reality. I am also grateful for each and every person at the festivals who have watched the film.
I felt proud to elevate the discussion of climate change and our uncertain world in a positive and non-political way by sharing the struggles of these souls of Sicily, which represent each and every one of us because this IS A GLOBAL PROBLEM.
I reflected on my Sicilian ancestors (and current family). How they taught me values and the importance of tradition and culture. I feel blessed to use this film to instill and inspire the duality of protecting our environment and also preserving our traditions.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
While I was living abroad on farms in Italy - 2014 and 2015. In 2020, I read books and watched videos on how to make a documentary.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The Lord of the Ring - trilogy.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
First of all, your festival stands-out as one of the BEST because of the feedback from viewers. Bravo! I really like that aspect you offer. I think the missing piece for me is more information or workshops on distribution and promotions. It is a vague topic for indies.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
So easy. Great platform. Love that you go to one place and conduct your business.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I am a Chef so people worry about cooking for me. I always tell people that the best meal is one that someone else cooks for you - even toast. Cooking for someone is an expression of love to me.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I just published my first cookbook, Mangiamo, this month. (www.urbanafarmstead.net)
But I am also writing for a new film series called, Undiscovered Sicily by Margie Raimondo, as we speak. You can expect to see more on the screen next year.