The “Da Vinci” institute in Milazzo is the first school in Italy to make a film financed by the Ministries of Culture and Education


By John

It had never happened before that a Sicilian educational institution made a feature film in the professional ways of mainstream cinema for the theater with the funds made available by the Ministry of Education and Merit and the Ministry of Culture – Cinema Directorate within the scope of the national plan “Cinema and images for schools”.

The contribution assigned to the ITET “Leonardo da Vinci” of Milazzo, winner of the 2022 call for CIPS Cinema for School projectsallowed the creation of a feature film lasting 90 minutes, directed by Luciangela Gattobased on the novel “The nuns’ olive grove” by Nunzio Primavera (ed. Pendragon).

The creation of the work was possible thanks to the activity of professionals from the audiovisual and entertainment world, supported by students and teachers, included in every sector of the production chain. The project relating to the “Visioni futuro” call, focused on the emancipation of women in agricultural entrepreneurship, was created by the ITET “Leonardo da Vinci”, directed by Stefania Scolaroin collaboration with the Agrario IPSAA “Leonti” of Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, and was rewarded with the assignment of an economic contribution by the Ministry of Education and Merit and the Ministry of Culture, aimed at the diffusion of culture cinematographic and audiovisual in school.

The first national screening of the film took place in Rome in the historic Farnese cinema in Campo de’ Fiori, in the presence of personalities from the world of culture and entertainment who welcomed the screening of the work with expressions of consensus and appreciation. The young actors who, together with some entertainment professionals, offered their faces to the characters of the novel set in the area between Milazzo and Messina, between sea and mountains, in a landscape linked to myths and rich in history and economic and social ferment. The feature film, made with the screenplay by director Luciangela Gatto, starting from the adaptation of the novel of the same name by Nunzio Primavera, tells of a group of students preparing to make their career choices.

The film based on “The Nuns’ Olive Grove” is a simple story full of positive ideas. It’s the end of May, fifth year students are thinking about their final exams. Tindara known as Susy who attends a private school in Rome, in the Ursuline boarding school, has returned home to Sicily, to the villa on the sea in Messina, to study for the exam; her best friend Francesca joins her from Rome. Their days are intertwined with those of their cousins ​​Multari, Ciccio and Carmelo, also high school graduates, embroiled in the dispute over a large olive grove belonging to the Madonnella del Monte monastery where their aunt, the former Mother Superior Arcangela, is located who, together to the new mother superior, Mother Angela Maria, has been trying for some time to keep at bay the claims of a local small-time boss entrepreneur, Don Pasqualino La Torre, who would like to transform the monastery and olive grove into a large luxury resort for foreign guests. But mother Angela Maria, who arrived in the convent from the outside world and from a life of prestige, making use of her experience, will give a new course to events, determining a different awareness in Tindara / Susy.

Superior Angela Maria and Tindara/Susy are in fact the example of how women are always the first to grasp the changes and make decisive even if painful choices to start the new course, in the name of what is good for everyone, of legality and of strong bond with one’s land that accompanies wherever one goes. The life experiences and thoughts of these young people, who are confronted with the world of adults, give the opportunity to reflect on the activities generating virtuousness that the territory in which they live can offer, such as the valorisation of agricultural work and the management of great beauty of the Sicilian territory in which they live carelessly, indicating the right path in women and in the strength of female entrepreneurship, in particular that proposed by Coldiretti which, through its technicians, follows the birth of the company step by step.

In addition to the young students/actors Giada Giordano (Tindara known as Susy), Francesco Iarrera (Carmelo), Giovanni Giuffrè (Ciccio), Aurora Grasso (Francesca) and Salvo Cappellano (Turi), the professional actors Chiara stand out for their talented performances Barbagallo (mother Angela Maria), Domenico Barba (Pasquale Latorre), Giuseppe Pollicina (Mimì), Mariadele Martinez (mother Arcangela), Giada Vadalà (Carla Latorre) who have put their experience at the service of young people, allowing the creation of a product of great value. Prestigious and of great effect for the success of the film is the contribution of the original musical score created specifically by the students of the “Music for film” Masterclass of the “Luigi Cherubini” Conservatory of Florence, coordinated by Maestro Giovanni del Vecchio, held by Maestro Dario Marianelli (winner of the Oscar and Golden Globe for the soundtrack of Atonement 2008). A positive example of collaboration between schools that led to a result of great value.

The main didactic objective of the school that won the tender was to stimulate a conscious use of audiovisual language, not as a tool for entertainment but as a tool for critical analysis of the present and of its own territory, through the path and the production process of creating a audiovisual work, in this case a film that tells a story set in the places where the young people themselves live, who played the different roles and collaborated in the different technical phases of the work’s production. The ITET “Leonardo da Vinci” educational institution of Milazzo together with the partner institute IPSAA “Leonti” of Barcellona PG contributed with its human, instrumental and logistical resources for each specific sector of intervention, supporting the activity of Professional external experts in the audiovisual sector. The making of the film accompanied the teaching activity of the entire 2022/2023 school year, becoming an example of a permanent school-laboratory through the extraordinary opportunity to make a film with the criteria and tools of mainstream professional activity. The project engaged students and teachers, side by side, in a new experience for both, which transformed the one-way and frontal school dialogue into an unrepeatable synergy of circular and equal exchange of knowledge and skills. A result supported by the passion of its participants and the entire school community which strengthened its identity unity alongside the head teacher Stefania Scolaro.