"The Soul of Sicily"

Directed by Margie Raimondo

“The Soul of Sicily” - Best Documentary Short Film
Directed by Margie Raimondo

Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your work have on the world?

Films are important in society to express, explore and examine different ideals, our lives, and other people’s lives with differing perspectives. The viewer is transported to a different world where they can get lost or become enchanted with a new idea or place.  Making films is an intensely-personal form of art. You are capable of infusing the stories you tell with a greater sense of purpose.

What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on and why?

I enjoy making non-fiction movies in the form of documentaries.  My documentary film mode tends to be participatory because my films inspire interaction between me and my crew and the people being interviewed. This style allows me to capture real emotional responses and truths from my subjects.  

What made you decide to make this film?

I wanted to give voice to the lives of these beautiful souls –  the farmers, food producers and tourism operators that are working every day to preserve both family and cultural traditions in the face of many hardships and an uncertain world.

Let us more about your experience in this project?

My heritage roots trace back to Sicily and Campania. After spending a year living in Italy on farms, I decided to tell the stories of the farmers and food producers I met in Sicily. Their stories remind us that this is a  global problem. And that real change will occur with strong governance at multiple levels, combining top-down and bottom-up policies — without leaving anyone behind.

What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?

I come from a family of farmers and producers.  From Sicily and Campania to Southern Los Angeles and now in Little Rock, Arkansas. My immigrant grandparents planted the front and backyards of our small, urban house in east Los Angeles.  We never knew we were poor because we always had food we grew on the table. 

After I returned from living for over a year on farms in Italy and Spain, my partner and I built a small, urban farmstead in Little Rock. I offer cooking and canning classes on my farm to keep our cultural traditions of farming and food alive. I am honored to use storytelling as a tool of inspiration.

Do you recommend film schools or does making a film teach you more?

Although I have not had formal training from a film school, I imagine the benefit of applied theory you get in a classroom setting.  On the other hand, nothing replaces the importance of passion, grit and pure hard-work required to create a film, with or without formal training.

Do you have any advice for onewcomers?

Be flexible. Your story and idea can’t be set in stone because as the storyline and characters develop, you adapt your original script. Believe! Trust the process. It just works out and makes the BEST film.

Margie Raimondo