More than 50 years ago, over two hundred thousand Italians boarded the glorious transatlantic Saturnia embarking on a journey to American in search for a better future. The documentary Saturnia explores the lives of four of those immigrants. We follow the story of Michelle, an Italian-Canadian author from Toronto, writing a book about her father who left Sicily on the Saturnia. He died when she was sixteen and Michelle sets on a journey into the past to understand who he was by discovering where he came from. By following her research and creative process, we will enter the lives of three of Saturnia`s passengers: Rosa in Montreal, Silvano in Vancouver, and Antonio in Edmonton. Everyday people whose extraordinary stories move and inspire us.They will help us to reconstruct the immigration experience and the challenges that Italians faced during their trip across the ocean, and the ones that followed when they finally arrived in America. Step by step the movie recalls and reconstructs the transatlantic journey between Italy and Canada, but also the memories of small villages in post WWII Italy and the first years of adjustment in the new world.
Immigration is a complex and multilayered and making of a film about it mirrors the experience itself. In order to capture the essence of the Italian-Canadian immigration story, the documentary Saturnia relied on the collaboration of several key institutions and individuals. . The commissioning of the film and the commercial support, indispensable for its realization, was completed in association with OMNI Television. The academic research and scholarly perspective,crucial for the historical narrative ,was enabled by the Mariano A.Elia Chair at York University. Access to rare archival footage and still photographs which resurrected forgotten moments from a distant past was enabled by the Pier 21 Museum in Halifax and the Fondazione Ansaldo in Italy. The Genova-Liguria Film Commission and DocLab Productions Roma, allowed the shooting and production of Saturnia on Italian soil.
Ferdinando Dell’Omo is an Italian-Canadian documentary filmmaker and journalist. He has worked in the past on a series on ship travel and memory, entitled Navi della Memoria. His work has been broadcast both in Italy and Canada.
Lilia Topouzova is a historian and a documentary film-maker. A Ph.D. candidate at the History Department at the University of Toronto, her work explores the visual and textual representation of violence and its remembrance. She is the recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant of Canada. She is the co-author of the award-winning documentary feature, The Mosquito Problem & Other Stories (dir. A. Paounov) which premiered at Cannes and TIFF in 2007 and won the human-rights award at the Sarajevo Film Festival.
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