2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: SHOOTING THE MAFIA

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

SHOOTING THE MAFIA
Kim Longinotto profiles an acclaimed Sicilian photographer and her lifetime bravely bearing witness to the Mafia’s crimes.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Country:
Ireland/USA

Sundance Program Description:

In the streets of Sicily, beautiful, gutsy Letizia Battaglia pointed her camera straight into the heart of the Mafia that surrounded her and began to shoot. The striking, life-threatening photos she took documenting the rule of the Cosa Nostra define her career.

Battaglia was quite the catch. She married young and had children, yet her restless spirit refused to renounce her passions. Breaking with tradition, she devoted herself to photojournalism. Battaglia’s lens was defiant: though her life was in danger she fearlessly captured everyday Sicilian life – from weddings and funerals to the brutal murders of women and children – to tell the narrative of the community she loved that had been forced into silence.

In SHOOTING THE MAFIA, Sundance Film Festival alumna and master filmmaker Kim Longinotto breaks from her vérité past and stunningly weaves together Battaglia’s heart-wrenching black-and-white photographs, rare archival film, and candid conversations with Battaglia herself. This audacious documentary brings grit, texture, and critical new perspective to Battaglia’s work and dismantles the romantic narrative of the Sicilian Mafia from the perspective of someone who lived inside it.

Some Background:
Director:

  • Kim Longinotto
    Past Sundance docs:

    DREAMCATCHER (2015)
    SALMA (2013)
    ROUGH AUNTIES (2009)
    THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET (2003)

    Longinotto previously picked up the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize for ROUGH AUNTIES and the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award for DREAMCATCHER.

Producer:

  • Niamh Fagan

    This is the first Sundance credit for Lunar Pictures’ Fagan, an editor turned producer based in Ireland.

Executive Producers:

  • Impact Partners’ Dan Cogan and Jenny Raskin
    Combined recent past Sundance docs:

    BISBEE ’17 (2018)
    OF FATHERS AND SONS (2018)
    OUR NEW PRESIDENT (2018)
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR (2018)
    BENDING THE ARC (2017)
    DINA (2017)
    ICARUS (2017)
    STEP (2017)
    TROPHY (2017)
    UNREST (2017)

    Impact Films’ Co-Founder/Executive Director Cogan and VP Raskin hav regularly brought both documentary and fiction titles to the festival.

  • Geralyn White Dreyfous
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    306 HOLLYWOOD (2018)
    GENERATION WEALTH (2018)
    BISBEE ’17
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
    OUR NEW PRESIDENT
    OF FATHERS AND SONS
    STEP
    BENDING THE ARC

    The Oscar and Emmy-winning co-founder of both Impact Partners and Gamechanger Films also executive produced fellow 2019 Sundance title ALWAYS IN SEASON, in the US Documentary Competition and produced THE GREAT HACK in Documentary Premieres. She previously executive produced the 2018 VR experience THE SUN LADIES VR and has served as a creative advisor for Sundance’s Catalyst Forum.

  • Regina K Scully
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    306 HOLLYWOOD
    GENERATION WEALTH
    BISBEE ’17
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
    STEP
    UNREST
    DOLORES (2017)

    The Artemis Rising Foundation founder and CEO is an Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated social entrepreneur and philanthropist focused on transforming culture through media, education, and the arts. She also executive produced 2019 US Documentary Competition titles ALWAYS IN SEASON and KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE.

  • Elena Foster

    This is Foster’s first Sundance credit.

  • Lesley McKimm
    Past Sundance docs:

    IT’S NOT YET DARK (2017)

    McKimm is the project manager of the Irish Film Board.

Editor:

  • Ollie Huddleston
    Past Sundance docs:

    DREAMCATCHER
    SALMA
    KNUCKLE (2011)
    ROUGH AUNTIES
    THE LIBERACE OF BAGHDAD (2005)

Why You Should Watch:
Longinotto long ago established herself as a nonfiction auteur, making any new work a must-see. While she adapts from her typically strict observational approach to incorporate the rich archive of Battaglia’s photography, Longinotto retains her usual focus on a determined female protagonist, and her sense of storytelling remains as sharply perceptive as ever.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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