Italian American Country: the tour
“We made it”! Made what? The Italian American Country Tour: a 35-day trip in the United States, over 6 thousand miles at the wheel, 16 towns visited and 25 States crossed from the East to the West Coast, 130 hours of driving and 130 of sleep, 6 planes, 105 people interviewed whose families came from 19 Italian regions, 60 hours of video footage and more than 8,000 photographs.
We are three Italian reporters – Paolo Battaglia, Daniela Garutti and Giulia Frigieri – who left Italy with the idea of meeting people of Italian descent living in small communities scattered across the country. We traveled, one hundred fifty years later, following the footsteps of millions of immigrants going to America seeking for new life opportunities for themselves and for those who would come later. We wanted to meet with their descendants, the Italian Americans of today, ask them to share their memories with us and do the same with ours. We wanted to understand them and understand each other better, to see how much Italy has remained in these communities and – why not – how much America there is in us. We were welcomed with open arms and and all the people we met shared their memories, took from their drawers the family black and white photographs and made us sit at their table, proud that their story of survival has turned into a success story. “They made it”!
Today they are halfway between spaghetti and Budweiser, football and bocce, anarchy and prayer before dinner, Ferraris in the garage and pick-up trucks in the company parking-lot, Sangiovese and Coke Zero, fathers who started as miners and children who are now state senators. Today being introduced in public with an Italian last name gives an interesting character: gone are the days when a name ending with a vowel was an obstacle to success.
In their faces, in their hands and in their words we found the courage we, the people living in the Old Country, are sometimes missing to regain confidence in the future and its opportunities.
For this reason, right after getting back and still in the throes of jet lag, we set to work to produce a book and a documentary that will tell their stories.
What’s Next? A photo-book and a documentary
he whole tour is fully funded by us, but we need your help to produce a coffee table photo-book and a documentary that will see the light in the spring of 2015. By putting together the book – which is the core business of our crew – and the film, we’ll be able to reach the perfect cross-media results and to document all aspects of the trip and every single history of the people and places we visited.
Your contributions will go into:
– Post-production of the documentary to bring the film to broadcast quality (final editing, sound and title design) and to clear the rights for music, and archival photos.
– Design and production of the coffee-table book
– Translations as the book and documentary will be produced both in English and Italian
– Production of a DVD with a customized case and a booklet with the roadbook of our tour and extra images.
Most of the funds will go into the post-production stage of the documentary and in case we will not reach our funding goal, we will have to decrease the length of the documentary – ideally a 1h30′ film – and make it available only as a downloadable file. We might also be forced to slim down the book – ideally a 200 page-coffee-table book.
Paolo Battaglia, photo historian, author and publisher, spent most part of the last 4 years working, researching and speaking of Italian Americans. His latest book is “Explorers Emigrants Citizens”, an illustrated history of the Italian American experience through the collections of the Library of Congress.
Daniela Garutti, a social media reporter who will bring our tour on the web in real time, through her writing and her camerawork.
Giulia Frigieri, a young photo-reporter who loves to travel and capture the portraits of the people and places she meets with her film roll cameras.
And what if you’re not of Italian American origins?
We feel that this project might be for you too, for many reasons:
– First of all because Italy is Italy Our history, our art, our monuments, even our food are something that people from all origins cherish. And “Italian American Country” is a way to remember and honor the many good things that were brought to America from our emigrants, from pizza to opera!
– Crowdfunding is about creating and participating in communities. And the strength of Italian communities all over the world has always been known. And if you love Italy and its culture, by participating in our campaign, you’d become a member of a new kind of Italian community.
Other Ways You Can Help
In trying to re-connect Italians on both sides of the ocean, your contributions are very important, but you can also help us in reaching out to all the people with Italian heritage and let them know abot the project. You can send our campaign link to friends, colleagues, and relatives. Post it to your network, on Social Media, and in other online communities. Help spread the word about the campaign so it goes viral!
Anything helps and we are greatly appreciative of any type of support.