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

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

 Theater marquee

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.
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Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series Concludes with “Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio”

March 3, 2011 (Cary, NC) – Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) will conclude this winter’s Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series with a special screening of “Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio” on Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m., at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary.

 

“Citizen Architect” is a documentary that celebrates the legacy of the late architect, artist, and educator Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and the design-build Rural Studio he co-founded with Auburn University in Hale County, Alabama, to provide sustainable shelter for those who cannot afford it. Hale County is home to some of the most impoverished communities in America. Mockbee dedicated his life and the Rural Studio to creating architecture that not only elevated the living standards of the rural poor but also provided “shelter for the soul.”

 

Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary, directed by Sam Wainwright Douglas, is guided by passionate, frank, and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself. Douglas supplements Mockbee’s words and the students’ experiences with perspectives from other architects and designers who share praise and criticism of the Rural Studio, including Peter Eisenman, Michael Rotondi, Cameron Sinclair, Steve Badanes and Hank Louis. Their dialogue infuses the film with a larger discussion of architecture’s role in issues of poverty, class, race, education, social change and citizenship.

 

Citizen Architect aims to inspire, and does so with one basic idea: Architecture is for the people dwelling within it,” wrote the Grand Rapids Press after the documentary was broadcast on PBS in August of 2010.

 

Mike Spinello, a Raleigh architect and graduate of Auburn University who studied at the Rural Studio, will introduce the film.

 

This special TMH screening of “Citizen Architect” is sponsored by Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture, Blueplate PR, Foundation Bar & Lounge, Kontek, Blok, and Center Studio Architecture. Tickets are $7.95 in advance or $9 at the door. To reserve advance tickets, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/register.htm.

 

The Galaxy Cinema is located at 770 Cary Towne Boulevard, Cary, NC 27513; 919-463-9989. For more information: www.mygalaxycinema.com

 

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

 

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restoring and growing modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.