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Our Sicily Far From the Stereotypes

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We were recently featured in a newspaper article story by Mariella Caruso about the making of our film Inheritance, Italian Style, by the Italian newspaper, La Sicilia, which has a print circulation of 30,000, second largest in Sicily. An English translation by me is below, and you can read the Italian version here.

Article in La Sicilia on "Inheritance, Italian Style"
“Our Sicily Far from the Stereotypes”

Newspaper “La Sicilia,” Entertainment, Feb. 4, 2014. (2nd largest circulation newspaper in Sicily)
[headline] “Our Sicily Far From the Stereotypes: From Atlanta a film about ‘Inheritance, Italian Style’”

[sub-headline] “The return of an emigrant to Milazzo for the division of the family art and furniture.”
By Mariella Caruso (Milan) [photo caption] “The film was shot in Catania (sic) ‘It’s in the catalogue for the Berlin Film Festivale and we hope to be able to bring it to Taormina [film festival].’”

[text of article correctly states some footage was shot in Catania but that the bulk of it was in the villa of the producers in Atlanta]

Photo caption: Some images from the film “Inheritance, Italian Style” (Eredità in stile Italiano), whose original title was “Catania The Movie,” the first film of Doug Bremner. A disastrous reunion for the division of the family things when the members of the Vaccarino family get together in Milazzo, including Viola, age 55, who has lived for 20 years in Atlanta, and is married to Doug Bremner.

Troublesome was a reunion for the division of the family things. A reunion a few years ago that brought together the members of the Vaccarino family at the home of their parents in Milazzo (Sicily), who today are still alive and well, in order to organize the division of the family property. Amongst them was Viola, 55 years old, who for the past 20 years has lived in Atlanta where she heads the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University, with her husband, Doug, a psychiatrist who is also a filmmaker, and their children Sabina, 21, and Dylan, 16. It was this family reunion that inspired the screenplay for Inheritance, Italian Style or in Italian Eredità in stile italiano whose original title was Catania! that became a film that was the first work of Doug Bremner, and that could this summer embark on one of the many film festivals that punctuate the summer of Sicily.

“For us this was the realization of a dream,” related Viola Vaccarino via Skype from Atlanta, the executive producer of the family’s film that cost one million dollars to produce. “It was difficult as we had to use our savings and raise the rest of the money from crowd funding using a web site that specialized in films,” underlining the fact that the Bremner family did not want to invest too much in the film, “but it was fun because it involved our entire family. Doug wrote the screenplay and directed the movie, I was the executive producer, Sabina was the production designer, and Dylan was one of the actors.”

One would imagine that a low budget film would not be professionally done, but not this one, affirmed Viola Vaccarino. “We did all of the casting through a web site that specialized in casting actors, and chose actors that in many cases had had roles in other films and television shows, like Zoe Myers, who was the lead in Destiny Road, and Maggie Henry, who had parts on The Ex-List and Grey’s Anatomy. What surprised us was the large number of people who applied for roles in our film.”
Doug Bremner wanted to place the story, that was loosely based on real events, in Catania [Sicily]. “I would have never thought of placing the story in Catania, but Doug wanted it to be based there. For him it was a symbol of disorder and dysfunction, because of the intense traffic. The family in the story was also dysfunctional, with parents who were trying to divide up the family things amongst five children in a beautiful villa that inevitably degenerated into fighting.”

The villa of the story, however, really exists, and it is in Milazzo [province of Messina, Sicily]. The images of the movie taking place in Catania were created by film footage of the city taken from other sources. “We acquired footage from another web site.” The footage shot specifically for the film was taken from two sites in Atlanta. The first is the home of the Bremner family. “[The house] is very Sicilian and is full of things from the family.” What was not there was supplied by [Italian] friends. “The film is almost finished,” Viola said with satisfaction. “It needs a little more editing, of the sound and a few other things. Our distributor is House of Film. It was put in the catalogue for the Berlinale [film market]. We are waiting and hoping.”

There is a little bit of worry, still, following the realization that the parents and the brother and sister of Viola have not yet seen the film. “We hope that they will appreciate the irony and will not take it to be referring too much to real life,” said the Messinian with a smile. “It’s nice to have a story about Sicily that is not full of stereotypes, that is not about the mafia, and does not portray Sicily as backward. Inheritance, Italian Style is a comedy that tells the story of a Sicilian family with everyday people, modern and up to date,” emphasized Viola. “This is the Sicily that we love and that we would like people in the United States to get to know.”

But the Bremner family is not disappointed by the fact that also in Italy, especially in Sicily, the film could get a small distribution. “Our dream,” she concluded, “is to be able to see it in a film festival in Sicily. We sent a trailer to the TaoFilmFest [Taormina Film Festival] even though we know that it only screens important films.”

[Update July 5, 2017: You can now watch “Inheritance, Italian Style” (2016) on all Video On Demand platforms, including amazon, itunes, Youtube, Vimeo, Vudu, and Microsoft/Xbox. Links here.]