“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.


 

Hamilton, Ontario’s Festitalia Welcomes Mark Spano’s Film “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife”

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A new documentary celebrating the island and its people.

Sicilia Canta, in cooperation with Cinema Insieme film club, the Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF), and  Festitalia, will present the Canadian premier of the new feature-length documentary by Mark Spano, “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife,” on Wednesday, June 20, beginning at 7 p.m.

The premiere will be held in the Bishop Ryan Theatre Auditorium in Hamilton, 1824 Rymal Road. East Hamilton, ON. A Q&A session with the filmmaker and a reception including Sicilian music will follow the film.

ICFF logo croppedSpano had scheduled the one-time-only Hamilton screening on another date until Charles Criminisi, Hamilton Coordinator for ICFF, suggested he hold the premiere during Festitalia, the annual festival that shares the “tastes, sounds, and passion” of Canadian-Italian culture and heritage with the Hamilton community-at-large.

“We’re excited and honored to show the premiere of this entertaining and informative documentary, ‘Sicily: Land of Love & Strife,’” Criminisi said. “It promises to be a very entertaining evening with writer, director, and producer Mark Spano.”

Spano is the son of Sicilian immigrants (he holds dual citizenship). He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For five years, he worked diligently on his documentary of his family’s homeland because “little has been produced about the cultural or historic relevance of Sicily,” he explained.

“The most invaded place on earth, the three-sided island rivals Greece and Egypt as a primary source for Western ideas. Yet fewer places on the planet compare to Sicily as a place of wonder and intrigue.

“But for crime, Sicily has gone unexplored,” he continued. “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. Spano hopes his film will begin to change the public’s perception of Sicily and Sicilian people. Click here to view the documentary’s trailer.

Tickets to the premiere are $20 per person. To order advance tickets, call Joe Baiardo (289-880-1561), Sam Cino (905-388-2199), or click here to order online.

For more information on “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” and filmmaker Mark Spano, go to markspano.wordpress.com.

New Film Celebrating Sicily Sells Out U.S. Premiere in Kansas City

Feature-length documentary by Mark Spano finds appreciative audience in Middle America.

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Independent filmmaker Mark Spano, along with celebrated Kansas City Chef Jasper Mirabile Jr., are pleased to report that the U.S. premiere of Spano’s new documentary “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” sold out the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City, MO., last week.

The event was co-sponsored by the Kansas City chapters of the American Sons of Columbus and UNICO, the largest Italian-American non-profit service organization in the United States.

Mark with Family and Friends in Lobby
NC Filmmaker Mark Spano (center, back row) with family and friends in the theater’s lobby after sell-out screening in Kansas City, his hometown.

Although Spano lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he chose Kansas City — the city where he was born and raised — for the U.S. premiere of the film that celebrates his family’s land of origin.

“Holding the premiere in Kansas City not only allowed me to see friends and family I had not seen in years, but it also gave me the opportunity to present my film to a very diverse Middle-America audience,” said Spano, a Sicilian by heritage who holds dual citizenship. “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.”

By design, the feature-length documentary invites viewers to discover the Sicily that movies and television largely ignore. “But for crime, Sicily has gone largely unexplored,” said Spano. “Yet Sicily is more fascinating and diverse than other Italian regions and few places compare to Sicily for a story of spectacular beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights and historic sites.”

Chef Mirabile, the emcee for the sold-out event, also feels the film is a loving tribute to his land of origin. “Personally, the film evokes wonderful memories of the many trips I’ve made to my family’s homeland. I’m was honored to help showcase this remarkable region of Italy.”

Explaining his choice of emcee for the film’s U.S. premiere, Spano smiled. “I knew Jasper would be the right guy to emcee this event. Members of the Kansas City community have taken this man into their hearts. And, why shouldn’t they? He’s the best chef. He’s a tireless champion of Kansas City food, and he stands as one of the finest representatives of the success stories that Sicilian immigrants and their descendants have had all over the globe.”

From now through November, “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” will be presented in various cities across the U.S. and Canada as part of a promotional opportunity called “Bring Sicily to Your Town.”  Two upcoming screenings include Hamilton, a suburb of Toronto, on June 20, then Buffalo, New York, on June 25th.

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

(Click here for more information on “Bring Sicily to Your Town.”)

Mark on Stage
Mark on stage for the Q&A session as the credits roll.

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

April 09, 2018 02:56 PM

 

Continuing Ed from OLLI: Filmmaker Mark Spano To Teach “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife”

Spectacular beauty, epic human struggle, the depth and diversity of culture – these are Mark for OLLIamong the many facets of the island of Sicily that students will discover during a continuing educating course conducted by filmmaker Mark Spano. Based largely on Spano’s new feature-length documentary film “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife,” the course is being offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at NC State University, Duke University, and UNC-Wilmington in February and March.

“But for crime, Sicily has gone largely unexplored,” said Spano, whose family heritage is Sicilian. (He holds dual citizenship.) “Yet Sicily is more fascinating and diverse than other Italian regions and few places compare to Sicily for a story of spectacular beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights and historic sites.”

The island’s great natural abundance and its strategic location in the Mediterranean, at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia, have made it “the most invaded place on the planet,” said Spano, who spent months in Sicily during the making of his film. “So ownership of this rugged and fertile terrain has been contested for millennia. Few people realize that Sicily rivals Greece and Egypt as a primary source for Western ideas.”

Along with screening his film, Spano will lecture on his family homeland and facilitate class discussions. His recommended reading for the course is Peter Robb’s Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra (ISBN: 978-0312426842).

At NC State University, the course is entitled Re-imagining Sicily: Land of Love and Strife (page 10). It will be held on Fridays, February 9, 16, and 23, from 9 to, 10:30 a.m., in the McKimmon Center, 1101 Gorman Street in Raleigh. The course fee is $35.

At Duke,  Reimagining Sicily: Land of Love & Strife will be held on Thursdays, March 1, 8, and 15, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 West Cornwallis Road, Durham. The fee is $30.

At UNC-Wilmington, Film and Discussion –  Sicily: Land of Love and Strife  (page 6) will be held as one session on Friday, March 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the OLLI center at 620 S College Rd, Wilmington. The fee is $30.

About the instructor: Mark Spano is a writer and filmmaker. Among several others, his films include “The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell.” He is also the author of five works of fiction and a memoir. His critically acclaimed novel Midland Club is available on Amazon. His next novel, Kidding The Moon, is due out in 2018. He lives in rural Orange County, NC. For more information, visit https://markspano.wordpress.com/.

About OLLI: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is a university-led and member-supported organization that provides lifelong learning opportunities for adults aged 50 and older in the southeastern North Carolina region. Through educational and experiential programming, OLLI connects the adult and university communities. Founded by philanthropist Bernard Osher in 1997, OLLI is offered at 120 institutes, including Duke, NCSU, and UNC-W. For more information: http://www.osherfoundation.org/.

 

NCMH Concludes 2015-16 MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series with Double Feature, Special Exhibit

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) will conclude its 2015-2016 MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series with a double feature on Thursday, February 4, in the James B. Hunt Library auditorium, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The first film will be the 30-minute, multi-award-winning movie-archidocumentary “Archiculture,” a thoughtful yet critical look at the architectural studio. Directed by Ian Harris and David Krantz, the film offers a revealing glimpse into the world of studio-based design education through the eyes of a group of students finishing their final design projects. Interviews with leading professionals, historians, and educators help create crucial dialogue around the key issues faced by this unique teaching methodology as well as the built environment these future architects will create. (View the trailer here.)


ny_logo_mikrofilmThe second film is an animated short by Torill Kove entitled “Me and My Moulton.” In this witty film set in 1960s Norway, a seven-year-old girl asks her hopelessly out-of-touch Modernist parents for a bicycle, but the unconventional ways of this architect couple soon produce comical embarrassment and anxiety. It was nominated for a 2015 Academy Award. (View the trailer here.)

A Special Treat: NCMH suggests movie-goers arrive early the see a rare exhibit provided by the Special Collections Research Center at the NC State University Libraries: a collection of Modernist architectural drawings created by noted North Carolina modernists John Latimer, George Matsumoto, and James Fitzgibbon.

Doors open at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door. NCMH’s Mod Squad members are admitted free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with their student IDs will also get in free. NCSU Friends of the Library members receive 10 percent off tickets with their Friends of the Library cards.

Sarah Sonke of MoHo Realty has sponsored the entire 2015-16 series. Other sponsors include VMZinc, The Kitchen Specialist, and Hill Country Woodworks of Chapel Hill.

The James B. Hunt Jr. Library Auditorium is located on NC State University’s Centennial Campus at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh. Free parking is available.

For more information on NCMH and the MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series, visit www.ncmodernist.org.

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.

 

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.