Rome, August 23 - A Roma community in the Calabrian coastal town of Gioia Tauro, amid crimes and deep family ties, is the focus of the latest film by Italo-American Jonas Carpignano. 'A Ciambra' is a fictionalized account of a reality that is often shrouded from the view of outsiders and centers on the 14-year-old Roma boy Pio. Pio Amato played the main character and the rest of his family acted alongside him. It is the second film by the 33-year-old, whose African-American mother is from New York but raised in the Barbados and whose father is from the Italian capital. After its debut at the Quinzaine des Realisateurs in Cannes, where it won the Europa Cinema Label, 40-50 copies of the film will be in cinemas starting on August 31, distributed by Academy Two. Co-producing the film was film legend Martin Scorsese, who chose the film to be granted support from a fund created with other producers to help emerging directors. Scorsese has called the film "beautiful and touching". In addition to having been sold in over 15 countries, the film has been selected as one of the 51 feature films in the running (the other Italian ones are 'Fortunata', 'Rosso Istanbul' and 'Indivisibili') at the European Film Academy. "Having Scorsese in the project was a dream," Carpignano said at a press conference. " When they told me that he was looking at the version for Cannes I was shocked and was afraid of making a bad impression. Instead, he helped me a great deal on the editing for the final version, to find a balance between the documentary aspect and the story itself." Carpignano made his first film in Gioia Tauro, 'Mediterranea', on African immigrants in Calabria. "I got to know the Roma community of 'A Ciambra' in 2011, when my car was stolen with all the film equipment inside and I went to them to get it back. I was immediately struck by that reality, with the children who smoke and drive and the tight bonds between the community - which is a strong point, but also a weak one. It was there that I met Pio for the first time, who was 11 at that time, in a leather jacket and cigarette always in hand. He followed me everywhere, and in some sense he was the one to choose me. It was through him that I met and was accepted by his family." In the film, Pio is a highly intelligent 14-year-old that does not know how to read ("and this is actually the case", noted Carpignano). He interacts freely with Italians and Africans - unlike most of his community - but in order to feel like an adult he wants to take part in his family's petty thieving of copper from cars. His overconfidence leads in the film to a serious mistake and his family ties will require him to make a very difficult choice. The screenplay "began with a documentary approach. I included scenes and experiences from their real life". The Amato family were not worried " about showing their activities like theft. Actually, they are proud of them and see it as a way to survive. They do not consider themselves thieves." Carpignano said that what is important as a filmmaker is to "respect and convey reality". To the question of whether Pio's life is still as seen in the film, the director said that "it would be nice to say that he now has other prospects, what this is his life. The film was only an experience."
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