The Sunday Guardian - - Profile -

Ital­ian film­maker Sal­va­tore Allocca was re­cently in In­dia to at­tend the 2nd Guwahati In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (GIFF), where his sec­ond fea­ture film,

was screened in the World Cin­ema sec­tion. Allocca’s short film

had won the Best Di­rec­tor and Best Cin­e­matog­ra­phy awards in the “Mi­grArti” sec­tion at the 2018 Venice In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, back in Septem­ber. In­ter­est­ingly, both th­ese films re­volve around the is­sue of im­mi­gra­tion. While

on the Road fo­cuses on the strug­gles of two Tu­nisian refugees who swim across the Mediter­ranean to Italy seek­ing asy­lum,

tells the story of a 14-year-old daugh­ter of an im­mi­grant fam­ily from Sene­gal liv­ing in Italy.

In this in­ter­view, Allocca talks about the re­sponse that his film on the Road got at the GIFF, his In­dian con­nec­tion, and his ap­proach to film­mak­ing.

Q. Your short film

won two awards at the 75th Venice In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val com­pet­ing in the “Mi­grArti” sec­tion. What kind of cin­ema does this sec­tion con­sider? A.

won the awards for the best di­rec­tor and the best cin­e­matog­ra­pher. The Venice In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val’s Mi­grArti sec­tion, in which the film won, is an ini­tia­tive by the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment to fi­nance cin­ema and en­ter­tain­ment projects ded­i­cated to the dif­fer­ent cul­tures present in Italy to­day, in par­tic­u­lar the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion young­sters from im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties set­tled in Italy.

Q. The is­sue of mi­gra­tion is a cen­tral theme of your works. What makes you feel so strongly about it? A.

In Italy we have a lot of refugees from coun­tries fac­ing war or war-like sit­u­a­tions. Also, a lot of peo­ple come from Africa, search­ing for work, in the hope of a bet­ter life, bet­ter fu­ture. You see, Italy is in the mid­dle of Mediter­ranean Sea and so it is of­ten not the fi­nal desina­tion for the refugees who pass though it in or­der to reach other Eu­ro­pean coun­tries. But since other borders have now been locked, they are forced to stay back in Italy. Ever since the time of the Arab Spring, the is­sue of im­mi­grants has grown in sig­nifi­ance for the peo­ple of Italy. As a film­maker I feel re­spon­si­ble to ad­dress the is­sue in a hu­man­is­tic man­ner. Just be­cause some­one is born on the other side of the Mediter­ranean, it doesn’t mean he or she does’t have the right to live a good life.

Q. Your film on

has been trav­el­ling all around the globe. How was the re­sponse to the film af­ter the re­cent screen­ing in Guwahati? A.

To tell you the truth, I was re­ally sur­prised to see the kind of re­sponse the film got. There was a nat­u­ral con­nect with the film’s sub­ject. Per­haps, it has to do with the fact that in In­dia in­ter­nal mi­gra­tion hap­pens all the time. Some of the view­ers present at the screen­ing even shared their own ex­pe­ri­ences of mi­grat­ing from one part of the coun­try to an­other in the hope of bet­ter prospects.

Q. Tell us about the kind of re­search that goes into the mak­ing of your films, es­pe­cially since they are are so closely in­flu­enced by re­alty. A.

For me the re­search be­gins with read­ing a lot of ar­ti­cles. Then I like to in­ter­view peo­ple and record their re­sponses. Back in 2011, dur­ing the Arab Spring, I talked to a lot of im­mi­grants who came to Italy from North Africa. The ex­pe­ri­ences they nar­rated helped me add real traits to my char­ac­ters in Taranta on the Road. It also helped me un­der­stand their sen­si­bil­ties and as­pi­ra­tions. Sim­i­larly, for I in­ter­viewed a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple across Italy. Many of them nar­rated their ex­pe­ri­ences and it oc­curred to me that many sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion young­sters from the im­mi­grant com­mu­nity are sub-

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