“Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” is Coming to NYC. Its mission: to change public perception of the mysterious Italian island.

NYC PosterA new feature-length documentary created to change public perception of Sicily will be shown in New York City for the first time when the Goddard Riverside Community Center presents “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” on Wednesday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m.

“But for crime, Sicily has gone unexplored,” said the film’s writer/producer/director Mark Spano. “The island’s association with the Mafia, so deeply entrenched in popular consciousness, has obscured more rounded and accurate depictions of its history and culture.”

Until now. Through “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife,” Spano is introducing audiences across the U.S. and in Canada to the many facets of the island nation that are relatively unknown to the public: the natural beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, historic sites, and philosophic influence.

Spano is the son of Sicilian immigrants (and holds dual citizenship). He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, in a vibrant Italian-American community. He held the U.S. premiere of the film in Kansas City in April, where it sold out the host theatre.

Since the 1980s, Spano has lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Yet for five years, he spent a huge chunk of his time in Sicily as he worked on the documentary. (Click here to view the trailer.) 

“The most invaded place on earth, Sicily rivals Greece and Egypt as a primary source for Western ideas,” he noted. “And fewer places on the planet compare to Sicily as a place of wonder and intrigue. Yet little has been produced about the cultural or historic relevance of Sicily.” He pauses and smiles. “I should’ve made this film decades ago.”

Angelo Coniglio of Buffalo, NY, where a special screening of the film sold out in advance, is a genealogist specializing in Sicilian heritage and the author of columns and books set in Sicily. “I’ve been interested in and I’ve supported this project since I first discovered Spano’s plans several years ago,” he said. “The customs, colors, and sounds of both ‘old’ and modern Sicily are vividly brought to life by this film. If you’ve never been to Sicily, the film will invite you to visit. If you have already been there, then ‘Land of Love & Strife’ will haunt you.”

Mark Spano will lead a panel discussion with Sicily aficionado Karen La Rosa and Sicilian-American author/scholar Gaetano Cipolla after the September 12th show.

The Goddard Riverside Community Center is located at 593 Columbus Avenue at 88th Street, New York, NY 10024 (212-799-9400). Tickets are $20 and can be ordered in advance at www.goddard.org or purchased at the center that evening.

For more information on “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” and filmmaker Mark Spano, visit markspano.wordpress.com. Those interested can also follow the film on Facebook.

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From “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife”

 

 

 

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New Film Proves Successful Fundraiser While Changing Public Perception of Mysterious Sicily

 

Sicily: Land of Love and Strife
This and images to follow were lifted from “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife”

When The Italian Cultural Center of Buffalo, New York (ICCB), the Federation of Italian-American Societies of Western New York (FASWNY), and the Per Niente Club of Buffalo sponsored a special screening of the new feature-length documentary “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife” as a fundraiser, they didn’t know what to expect in return.

Would a film devoted solely to Sicily be compelling to Buffalo’s Italian-American community?

Would the general public accept the contention that there’s more to the mysterious three-sided island than its much-publicized relationship to organized crime?

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When advance tickets sold out and the tally hit $11,000, the Buffalo sponsors knew they’d made the right decision.

So did Sicilia Canta, the Cinema Insieme film club, the Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF), and  Festitalia, all in Hamilton, Ontario, whose special screening also sold out and brought in $10,000.

In Kansas City, Missouri, where writer/producer/director Mark Spano held the U.S. premiere, the small theatre there also sold out.  A native of Kansas City whose parents were first-generation Sicilian immigrants, Spano was thrilled.

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“Holding the premiere in my hometown not only allowed me to see friends and family I hadn’t seen in years, but it also gave me the opportunity to present my film to a very diverse Middle-American audience,” he said. “Their responses were both informative and heartwarming. I could not have asked for more. The theater was sold out, and the crowd loved the film. I was truly humbled by their responses.”

Spano’s film celebrates the island nation’s natural beauty, its passionate people and epic human struggles, the depth and diversity of its culture, the philosophic insights that originated in Sicily, and its wealth of historic sites – all facets of Sicily that have been obscured by the mysterious country’s association with organized crime. He hopes the documentary he worked on for three years will change public perception of his family’s homeland.

Frank Cherrito, former president of UNICO’s Kansas City chapter (2009-2011), remembers when the enthusiastic filmmaker first told him about the documentary he wanted to make.

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“Mark came to us with an idea,” Cherrito recalled. “Although it wasn’t really clear to us, the vision he had for this wonderful film was crystal clear to him. And it proved to be an incredible fundraiser for our organization. Many people came out to support the film primarily, I think, because it highlights the Italian-American culture in a positive way.”

Sam Cino and Joe Baiardo of Sicilia Canta and Charles Criminisi of Cinema Insieme sent the filmmaker the following statement: “The film was beautifully created with breathtaking images and a captivating soundtrack. Diverse perspectives on the history, culture and norms of Sicilian life were presented by international scholars and authorities who introduced facts that were unknown to many about this beautiful three-sided island. Feedback from many of the 300 viewers was very favorable. Funds from the screening will be used to promote future community initiatives and events of particular interest to the local Sicilian community.”

To date, two more special screenings of “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife” are scheduled:

  • The New York City premiere will be held in the Bernie Wohl Center on Columbus Avenue on Wednesday, September 12.
  • The Triangle Sons and Daughters of Italy, Lodge 2817, in Cary, North Carolina, will present the film as a fundraiser on Sunday, November 11.

Also, Westdale Theater, a soon-to-open art house in Hamilton, and North Park Theatre in Buffalo are planning theatrical runs. No dates have been announced yet.

For more information on “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife” and filmmaker Mark Spano, visit https://markspano.wordpress.com/.


Communities interested in hosting special screenings should

contact Spano at mark@markspano.com.


 

THE KANSAS CITY STAR: “Chef Jasper Mirabile is celebrating Sicily on the big screen and in the kitchen”

April 09, 2018 02:56 PM

 

Architecture Movie Series To Present Documentary on 25 Frank Lloyd Wright Structures in California

For its first film in 2016, the MoHo Architecture Movie Series will screen MoviePromo“Romanza: The Structures of California Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright” on Thursday, January 7, in the James B. Hunt Library auditorium on NC State University’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh.


Directed by Michael Miner, “Romanza” features 25 buildings Wright designed along the West Coast, including Eddie’s House, a doghouse in keeping with the family’s home, the Robert Berger house, which he had designed previously. In 1973 the doghouse was thrown away. For a segment in “Romanza,” however, Berger’s sons Jim and Eric rebuilt Eddie’s House from the original plans. The doghouse remains the smallest structure Wright ever designed.

The film weaves details of the architect’s design principles and his life with the exploration of the 25 structures. Miner includes personal interviews with Wright experts, clients, and people who live in and work in these buildings. To see a trailer: http://bit.ly/1k3olTf

The Hunt Library is located at 1070 Partners Way. Raleigh, NC 27606. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Mod Squad members are admitted free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with IDs also get in free.  NCSU Friends of the Library receive 10 percent off tickets when they present their Friends of the Library cards.

Sarah Sonke of MoHo Realty is sponsoring the entire 2015-16 Architecture Movie Series. Other sponsors include VMZinc, The Kitchen Specialist, and Hill Country Woodworks of Chapel Hill.

For more information on NCMH and the entire MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series, go to http://ncmodernist.org/movies.

About NC Modernist Houses: 

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: www.ncmodernist.org.  Find NCMH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series Screens Another Double Feature: “Xmas Meier,” and “Gehry’s Vertigo”

This year’s MoHo Realty Architecture Movie series, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses and MoHo Realty, continues on Thursday, December 3, at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library Auditorium, NC State University Centennial Campus, in Raleigh with another double feature.

Xmas MeierThe first film, “Xmas Meier” (2013, 37 minutes) takes viewers, during the Christmas season, into the heart of a working-class neighborhood in the suburbs of Rome that a church built by Richard Meier lifted from obscurityControversy, caustic irony, and free speech are juxtaposed with the faithful’s devotion. L’espresso, an Italian news magazine, called the film, “Delightful, wonderful, cheeky, hilarious! Not to be missed!”

The second feature, “Gehry’s Vertigo” (2013, 45 minutes) offers a Gehry's Vertigorare trip onto the roofs of the world-famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. By following the climbing team in charge of cleaning the glass — their ascensions, their techniques, and their difficulties – the documentary observes the good and not-so-good complexity of Frank Gehry’s architecture.

Monthly through February 2016, the MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series screens hard-to-find architecture-related films in the Hunt Library Auditorium.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Mod Squad members get in free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with a student ID are admitted free of charge. NCSU Friends of the Library receive a 10 percent discount off tickets with a “Friends of the Library” card. The Hunt Library is located on Centennial Campus at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh. Free parking is available adjacent to the library.

Series sponsor MoHo Realty specializes in modern and unique architect-designed homes in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Other series sponsors include VMZinc and Hill Country Wood Works.

For more information on the series, the films, and to view trailers, go to www.ncmodernist.org/movies.

About NC Modernist Houses: 

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: www.ncmodernist.org.  Find NCMH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Modern Ruin:” Movie Series Presents Documentary on The World’s Fair Pavilion

PromoPosterFilmmaker Matt Silva will be on hand for Q&A session.

As an addition to its 2015-2016 Architecture Movie Series, North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) and series sponsor MoHo Realty present a special screening of the documentary “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion” on Saturday, November 14, 6:30 p.m., at King’s in downtown Raleigh.

Filmmaker Matt Silva will fly in from New York for a Q&A session after the screening. Dr. Marsha Gordon, Professor of Film Studies at NC State University, will introduce Silva.

“Modern Ruin” tells the story of the New York State Pavilion designed by Pavilion PhotoPhilip Johnson, the highlight of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York. It was saved from the fate of many of the venues in the World’s Fair, but it has only been used sporadically over the past 50 years and is now in ruins. In the 1990s, it was prominently featured in the film “Men in Black.”

In his documentary, Silva illuminates the steps architects and other staunch supporters have taken to protect and re-purpose the Pavilion.

“Silva packs this documentary with people who lived during that time and people who have taken a great interest in the preservation of the pavilion,” wrote Christopher Inoa for Untapped Cities.com after the premiere.

“I hope that the film helps people re-imagine the space and are inspired to dream for what it can be in the future,” Silva says.

Adam Carrington of Carrington Electric is co-hosting the event at King’s, 14 West Martin Street, Raleigh. Beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available for purchase. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10.

To see a trailer of “Modern Ruin,” go to https://vimeo.com/61415780.

For more information on NCMH and the entire MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series, go to http://ncmodernist.org/movies.

redchair smAbout NC Modernist Houses:

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: www.ncmodernist.org.  Find NCMH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

MoHo Architecture Movie Series Continues with Double Feature

movie-lustron

This year’s MoHo Realty Architecture Movie series, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses and MoHo Realty, continues on Thursday, November 5, at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library Auditorium in Raleigh with a double feature that focuses on small houses.

“Lustron: The House America’s Been Wait For” documents the rise and fall of engineering genius Carl Strandlund and his brainchild, the “Lustron,” a 1000-square-foot, post-war, pre-fab house. Made entirely of porcelain-enameled steel, the little Lustron was rot-proof, vermin-proof, and never needed painting. Averaging just $10,000, Lustrons could be erected on site in less than a week.

The Lustron’s ultimate failure was blamed on simple market forces. But in 1994, film producers Bill Kubota, Ed Moore, and Bill Ferehawk discovered a trail of newspaper clippings, Senate hearing transcripts, and internal Lustron Corporation documents suggesting that the collapse of the “General Motors of housing” was brought on by a government conspiracy that reached all the way to the Truman White House.

movie-doelgerThe second feature, “Little Boxes: The Legacy of Henry Doelger,” is a Monique Lombardelli documentary that celebrates the life and works of the San Francisco Bay Area pioneer of mid-century Modern design. In 1947, Doelger and his associates began building the Westlake district in Daly City. The district is one of the earliest examples of a large-tract suburban development and a manifestation of urban sprawl. Life magazine featured photographs of the numerous rows of houses in the 1950s, which were immortalized in Pete Seeger’s hit song “Little Boxes.”

Monthly now through February, the MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series will screen hard-to-find architecture-related films in the Hunt Library Auditorium at NC State University with one additional film in downtown Raleigh in November.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Mod Squad members get in free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with a student ID are admitted free of charge. NCSU Friends of the Library get 10 percent off tickets with a “Friends of the Library” card. The Hunt Library is located on Centennial Campus at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh. Free parking is available adjacent to the library.

Series sponsor MoHo Realty specializes in modern and unique architect-designed homes in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Other series sponsors include VMZinc and Hill Country Wood Works.  For more information on the series, the films, and to view trailers, go to www.ncmodernist.org/movies.

About NC Modernist Houses: 

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: www.ncmodernist.org.  Find NCMH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

NC Filmmaker Seeks Indiegogo Funding To Continue Holocaust Survivors’ Stories

Allen Weiss
Harry Weiss of Raleigh, NC, tells his story of survival in the first of a proposed series of documentaries.

Out of the six million people murdered by the Nazis during World War II, one 87-year-old survivor is the subject of the first film in a new documentary film series entitled “Six Million Minus One,” to be funded by an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign.

The man is Harry Weiss of Raleigh, NC, a diminutive grandfather with a shock of white hair and kind brown eyes that belie the dark memories behind them. The filmmaker is his son, Allen Weiss, who began the piece just to record his aging father’s personal story for posterity.

As the film proceeded, however, he realized he had something bigger than one man’s simple memoir. He had the first in a series of personal memoirs before the few survivors of the Holocaust living today disappear.

“Each year as I’ve attended the local Holocaust memorial ceremony with my father, I’ve noticed that the number of survivors in the crowd is dwindling,” Weiss said. “We’re losing them one by one. So I began with the idea of just getting my father’s story recorded for posterity. Now I want to record as many survivors’ personal stories as I can,” Weiss said.

The campaign kicks off today and will run through August 22 with a goal of raising $11,000 to fund media storage and DVD production for this documentary and future survivors’ stories, and to hire an audio engineer.

Harry Weiss began his life as an Orthodox Jew and the only son of a wealthy businessman in Romania, with all the comfort and privileges that entailed. By the time he was a teenager, however, he had to find the personal fortitude to survive Aushwitz, Dachau, and Landesburg, among other concentration camps, so that, one day, he might go on to live a full life in America as a husband and father.

Mr. Weiss never talked about his experiences while the filmmaker and his brother were growing up, and they never asked. “But I carried the unspoken knowledge of my father’s past with me all the time. I still do,” his son said. “Now that he’s older, and his grandchildren are old enough to hear it, his story needs to be told. Fortunately, he trusts me as a filmmaker, so when I approached him with the idea, he was ready to talk.”

Mr. Weiss’ tells his story as an intimate conversation – as if the viewer were sitting in his living room with him, or out on his deck, or in his little home office. It is a difficult, often extremely painful conversation as he shares memories and experiences that he has lived with for 71 years without telling a soul.

One of those memories, which he recounts in the documentary, places him in a train’s cattle car on the journey to Dachau. At first, the car was so crammed full of people that he couldn’t even sit, much less lie down to sleep. But by the time the car neared the Dachau, there was plenty of room to sit. “Because we were sitting on dead bodies,” he says matter-of-factly.

All but three of the 72 members of Harry Weiss’ family perished in death camps.

During the recording, Allen Weiss began to wonder what impact his father’s history had on the other members of his immediately family, especially his grandchildren. So they appear in the film – four young adult girls and one boy —  to talk about “Grandpa.” Most share memories they have of their grandfather, but the filmmaker’s youngest daughter looks away from the camera and says quietly, “I worry about his dreams.”

If the Indigogo campaign for “Six Million Minus One” is successful, Weiss said he will immediately seek out of survivors who, like his father, have kept their memories and pain to themselves to avoid, as Mr. Weiss said, “burdening my family with all that.” He doesn’t want their stories to go to the grave with them.

To support the Six Million Minus One campaign, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/six-million-minus-one/x/7030399#/story. 

Filmmaker Allen Weiss
Filmmaker Allen Weiss

About Allen Weiss:

Allen Weiss of Raleigh, NC, began his career as a still photographer, training under and assisting world-renowned portrait photographer Arnold Newman. His last exhibition, “North Carolina Artists,” was a critical success, with many images absorbed by private collectors and the Greenville (NC) Museum of Art. After turning to directing film 25 years ago, he has filmed works throughout the US and in Canada, Italy, Belgium and the UK. His work has been included in the New Directors Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival, and won “Best of Show” accolades in the Addy Awards advertising competition. Along with TV commercials, he has created (pro bono) a number of PSA’s for non-profits, such as Funds For Families, The Methodist Home For Children, Kids Voting NC, and the North Carolina Holocaust Memorial.