One of three films selected to contend for the 2015 prestigious LUX Film Prize is “Mediterranea” by Jonas Carpignano, his debut feature (the LUX Prize was established in 2007 as a symbol of the European Parliament’s commitment to the European film industry and its endeavors, casting an annual spotlight on films that “explore and question European shared values… and address cross-border concerns such as immigration, justice, solidarity, public freedoms and fundamentals rights”).
I expected that the film’s securing an American distributor would be a challenge, but it Sundance Selects has stepped up and secured North American rights from WME Global to the topical immigration drama that made its world premiere at the La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics’ Week) – a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival that focuses on discovering new talents – earlier this year. The timely film follows a young Burkinabe man who leaves his native Burkina Faso in search of a better life, making the perilous journey to Italy, only to find he’s unprepared for the intolerance facing immigrants in that country.
Carpignano’s film assesses the very fragile and topical issue of Mediterranean crossings by immigrants seeking freedom and safety.
The 30-year-old filmmaker, with a mother originally from Barbados and an Italian father, Carpignano has spent his life between New York and Italy. He broached familiar territory in his multiple award winning short film entitled “A Chjàna,” 3 years ago. His latest short film, “A Ciambra,” also won the Discovery Award at the 53rd Critics’ Week at Cannes. Carpignano also participated in the Sundance Writers & Directors Lab in 2012 and was awarded the Mahindra / Sundance GFA Award.
He’s definitely a filmmaker you should know, as I expect his name will be mentioned often on this blog in coming months and years.
A first trailer for “Mediterranea” is embedded below. It’s for the film’s French release this month, so it’s not English-subtitled. But there’s so very little dialogue in it (a word here and there) that it shouldn’t interfere with your understanding of what you see, based on the above synopsis. Underneath the trailer, you will find a clip from the film, which does have English subtitles.
Sundance Selects has yet to set a release date for the film. I expect that once that happens, they will cut a trailer for its USA release. In the meantime…
Watch a clip from “Mediterranea” below: