Here are two short trailers for you to enjoy plus the award winning short film Nati.
Alessio is in his early eighties and lives on his own since his wife died about 10 years ago. He is a very knowledgeable farmer who spent time educating himself and working all his life on his extensive farm land. At times he did contract work by pruning trees for others including the trees lining the avenues in Albenga. He has always been a very agile man and continues to be even now into his eighties. Alessio's only son lives with his family in a town by the coast about 1 hour away from Aracá, and can only visit once a week to see his father.
In his early nineties, Nati, who is a head strong character, has lived all his adult life as an optimistic single man and always worked very hard. He, like most people in the Aracá hamlet, has never had an extended holiday. In the years gone by he cared for his hundreds of olive trees as well as keeping livestock, and growing wheat, chestnuts, cherries and vegetables. Now-a-days he spends his time on his olives, vegetable garden and his passion for flowers which he keeps in pots alongside the patio of his house. When he was young, he looked after his sick mother for several years before she died.
Luca, is a university graduate in his late thirties, with two young children, who decided to change direction and enter farming. He grows olives and grapes on his grandparents' land and a few years ago started a small wine-making enterprise. He also sells extra virgin olive oil and is the president of the oil producing cooperative in the village of Ranzo to which the hamlet of Aracà belongs.
Ivano is seventy years old and lives alone in a large house in Aracà from where he manages his olive groves. Before retiring he was a concrete finisher, and in this capacity worked all over Italy, and even spent some time in the Middle East. His wife lives with their two adult children about an hour away near the coast where she is dedicated to caring for her old and sick parents. She comes to Aracà on weekends to help Ivano with the household.
VANDA and AUGUSTO
Vanda and Augusto are in their mid seventies and both are kind, generous people, and very hard working (which is the ethos for Aracà residents). In their early years they both worked for the Post Office in the morning, and then spent the rest of the day, and evening, cultivating their land. Now, after retirement, they help their only daughter Wilma with her agricultural enterprise. They own several olive groves the produce of which goes to Wilma's company. They also have extensive vineyards and vegetable gardens and sell vegetables to the market.
Wilma is Vanda and Augusto's daughter, is married to Ezio, a lecturer at a technical college in Albenga, who helps Wilma in his lecture-free time. They produce organic extra virgin olive oil and they press the olives in their own mill. They have two small children.
Fanny is in her late eighties and a widow. She used to help her husband grow olives, grapes and vegetables as well as breed livestock. Now she keeps her own vegetable garden and looks after her handful of chickens. During the time of pruning and harvesting she gives a hand to her son and daughter who care for the lands as best they can, after finishing their own work.
Pier-Luigi is both an entrepreneur and visionary, now in his early sixties. He belongs neither to the older generation in Aracà, nor to the young set, and has adapted well to the massive change that has hit the farming community in this area of Liguria. He successfully ran several businesses before retiring, and then returned to his family lands to start another successful career as a vintner and producer of extra virgin olive oil. Igi has two children who live and work in a town by the sea, although his son spends a lot of time working in his father's wine production.
As generations come and go
Their arts, their customs, ebb and flow;
Fate, fortune, sweep strong powers away,
And feeble, of themselves, decay.
William Wordsworth, Memorials of a tour in Scotland 1831, XV The Highland Broach.
For centuries Aracà has been a multi-generational hamlet bustling with life and full of energy. However during recent decades their farming became less profitable as globalisation created new suppliers and the younger generations moved to towns and cities while the older generations dwindled as time took its toll.
Its inhabitants now are composed half of an aging and diminishing Italian community and half of a growing number of foreigners from Germany, Holland and UK who have holiday homes.
Notwithstanding these existential challenges to themselves and their identity, Aracà's inhabitants meet the daily struggle with dignity and a bravely positive outlook. Some members of the younger generation are exploring ways to reform their agricultural practices to meet the new challenges of life in the countryside in this transformed world, but the outcome of their experiment is far from certain.
"Ciao Aracà" tells the thoughtful and moving confrontation with time, change, loss and hope related by the members of this small community struggling to adapt to increasing loneliness and to changing economic conditions caused by globalisation and rural flight. Contemplating the past, and witnessing the present, we are inextricably drawn towards the future and what that might hold.
This is a wonderful experience for lovers of Italy, those drawn to the rural life, those who enjoy beautiful landscape and engaging character-portrays and those interested in seeing how people grapple with the forces of change in modern society.
Aracà is a small sunlit hamlet in Liguria, northern Italy, nestling in the picturesque hills of the Arroscia valley amongst olive groves and vineyards, on the slopes of the Maritime Alps. The hamlet is situated about halfway between Genoa and Monaco, almost equidistant to Albenga, an ancient Roman city, and Imperia, the provincial capital, both of which are on the Mediterranean coast.
Ciao Aracà is a charming depiction of life as I knew it with my grandparents in my own village in Lunigiana!
CLARA CALEO GREENFounder & Chairperson of CinemaItaliaUK
I enjoyed very much listening to the dialect and accent that reminded me of my relatives, as well as their determination and drive.
BARBARA KLEINPresident of the Italian Film Festival USA
In the melancholy confrontation with time, change and loss, however, hope also finds a place and opens up new perspectives.
KLARA JÖRGArchitektur Aktuell
The sum of the individual fates and life choices paints a picture, the validity of which extends far beyond this village.
JOACHIM MANZINBlack Box Cinema, Düsseldorf
The film documents the thoughtful and emotional confrontation with time, change, loss and hope of the members of this small community in the idyllic Ligurian landscape.
Daniel Chisholm is a bilingual German/English filmmaker with broad international experience, having successfully lived, worked and integrated into countries as diverse as Russia, India, Kenya, South Africa, Germany and the United Kingdom.
He has a BA first in International Business Studies from Manchester University and trained in filmmaking at Ealing Film Studios in London. He worked successfully in project management and direction of complex yet creative online media solutions for global corporations such as The Times and is now an established film director and lecturer at Met Film School and Schnitt-Akademie in Berlin.
Daniel is dedicated to incisive and creative story-telling to inspire and fascinate audiences worldwide and is a winner of prestigious prizes including DepicT! Audience Award, DepicT! British Special Mention Award, California Film Awards Diamond Award, Newport International Film Festival Best Music Video Award, Angeles Film Festival of Hollywood Best Music Video Award.
Because the area is very picturesque and the people such interesting characters, I decided to film a few cameos of some of the people and their seasonal activities. Then one day I filmed 92-year old Nati, the oldest member of the hamlet, cutting off a branch of an olive tree and planting it, while commenting that this tree could be there for the next 100 years. I found this so touching that I made it into a short film and entered it into the "DepicT!" 2014 short film competition and won 2 prizes – the British Special Mention Award and the Shooting People Audience Award.
Three things affected me during this time, one was the positive resonance that came from people who had seen the film, another was the realisation that Nati and the other small-scale farmers in the community were very interested in sustainability and organic cultivation, and the third was the recognition that these interests were in direct contrast to the forces of globalisation and rural flight. Most of the younger generation have moved away from the rural hamlets and villages to the towns and cities to seek a better life. However, interestingly enough, there are still young people who choose to stay, or actually return, to the countryside and I wanted to hear and record their point of view.
I saw that something was changing in the hamlet, and in the area as a whole - in Aracà there are fewer and fewer Italians. Traditional agricultural techniques are becoming obsolete due to modernisation and an increasing number of foreigners (especially Germans) have moved in.
When things change, even if they change for the better, something is lost. Part of the reason I made the film was to capture what is going to be lost in the tides of change - to capture it and to consciously explore this process of change.
I wanted to show the impact of global developments on individuals. Although the film is purely from the point of view of the people of Aracà, my hope is that their experiences will shed light on the human impact of globalisation, modernisation and rural depopulation.
I felt that their way of living and uncomplainingly getting on with life, even when in so much flux, had important messages for our materialistic, ageist society focussed on immediate reward. It dawned on me that there actually was a bigger story to tell and that I was privileged enough to be in the position to be able to tell it.
For the post production phase I did most of the editing but I had the good fortune to work with Karin Lönneker a well experienced and professional editor as dramaturgical consultant and with James Harding and Raoul Brand for the colour and sound corrections.
When it came to additional work in the post-production process including colour and sound correction I took a loan to fund the necessary additional expenses.
I am always delighted to hear opinions and suggestions about my films so should you wish to get in touch please don't hesitate to drop me a line.
+49 (0)152 5852 0905