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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Chapel Hill Author/Filmmaker To Serve As Judge for 2017 Film Festival

NC Author, lNC Filmmaker
Author Mark Spano

Mark Spano joins the jury for “OUT at the Movies Int’l LGBT Film Fest” 

March 30, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Mark Spano, author of the critically acclaimed mystery novel Midland Club and producer/director of the new documentary “Reimagining Sicily,” will serve as a judge for OUT at the Movies Int’l l LGBT Film Fest ‘17 presented by BB&T.

The festival will take place in Winston-Salem, NC, October 5 – 8, 2017, in the Aperture Cinema, 311 W. Fourth St.; Wake Forest University Welcome Center, 1834 Wake Forest Road; and the UNC School of the Arts ACE Film Complex, 1533 S. Main Street.

“Being asked to be a judge for the OUT at The Movies Festival is such an honor,” Spano said “There is so much going on in film and the arts in general across North Carolina. I’m always pleased to contribute in any way I can.”

From the films submitted and screened, the invited jury will award Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Fest Short, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Mark Spano, owner/operator of Mark Spano Communications Inc. and Thunderfoot Press, has spent decades working in both film and television. He has produced numerous television series and programs, including “Models of Teaching,” a national television series on excellence in education funded by The Kenan Alliance for Partnerships in Education, and “Carolina Countryside,” a weekly public television series, among many others.

As a filmmaker, Spano’s work includes “The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell.” In homage to his Sicilian heritage, he recently completed the definitive documentary “Reimagining Sicily.”

A resident of Orange County, NC, near Chapel Hill, Spano met key people involved with OUT at the Movies during a book reading/signing event for his new novel Midland Club hosted by the North Star LGBTQ Community Center in Winston-Salem. After the event, he was invited to be a judge at the 2017 Film Fest.

About “OUT at the Movies Int’l LGBT Film Fest” —  Rex Welton and Lee Mecum founded Winston-Salem’s OUT at the Movies LGBT Film Series in 2004, screening films monthly. The Film Fest began as a way to celebrate 10 years of making quality LGBT movies available to the Winston-Salem community. Filmmakers, documentary subjects, and actors travel from as far away as California to introduce their films and participate in Q&A and meet-and-greet sessions. For more information, go to outatthemovieswinstonsalem.org.

For more information on Mark Spano, visit blog.markspano.com.