What happens when three million tourists jeopardize the environmental balance, cultural heritage, and historical preservation of the most remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site in Italy?
What happens when centuries-old, family-owned homes and businesses - and the sustainable solutions put in place to preserve them - are threatened?
What happens when a political power struggle forces the citizens of an ancient territory to choose between the history they've known for a thousand years and an uncertain future before them?
These things are happening right now in the Cinque Terre of Italy.
You may have heard about the Cinque Terre and its five, picturesque, tiny coastal villages. You may have been there and hiked the trails that connect them. Maybe you've heard about, or even tasted, the rare, unique dessert wine made there called Sciacchetrà.
But what you might not know is that the ancient wine and the history that comes with it is about to vanish as hoards of tourists descend upon this tiny region and potentially change the landscape in ways that no one could have ever anticipated. Face it - you can't have an upscale hotel in the same spot as a thousand year-old vineyard terrace. There's only so much room. And something's got to give.
Initially, our film detailed the decade-long measures that had been established with the intention of balancing the challenge of tradition and progress with the preservation of the Cinque Terre's rich history - a history that may be vanishing amid a staggering tourist onslaught.
That was the story - the first story. And now politics, corruption, and greed seem to be threatening the landscape of this beautiful Mediterranean coastline. We started with a story about efforts for sustainable ecology, environmental preservation, and eco-tourism.
We ended up with a story questioning its future.
That's the story we need your help to share.
It's not too late. Not yet.
How We Began
We set out in 2008 to find out what was really happening in the Cinque Terre. We thought we were going over to capture the dying vineyards before they were lost forever. We knew that the population there was aging and that the younger generation wasn't sticking around to keep up the vineyards or the family homes. We knew the Cinque Terre had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and that the Cinque Terre National Park had been instituted, but we really weren't sure exactly what that meant.
We wanted to find out.
What we found were some extraordinary things that were being done to revive and restore not only the winemaking tradition of the area, but also sustainable solutions to preserve the area. These solutions were being implemented and taught to the younger generations, bringing back a sense of pride and community as they moved forward with determination to save their dying heritage.
How Things Have Changed
We came back from our last shoot in September of 2010 with some amazing stuff. We thought we had wrapped production and started editing. But less than two weeks after our return, a key player in our film - the then president of Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, Franco Bonanini, along with 24 others - was arrested for misappropriation of funds, among a slew of other charges that make up a 900 page document that was published in the media immediately after the arrest.
Bonanini was immediately removed from office and is still awaiting trial for all of these charges. As a result, the park is under temporary management and there is talk of closing it permanently. Most, if not all, of the park's programs to restore the area, as we originally observed, have been suspended or cancelled. We've been told that many hiking trails are closed, and that local businesses are in jeopardy. There has been talk of closing down the nursery school which provided child care to all parents.
Everything has changed. But we don't know exactly how.
We need to find out.
What We Need To Do Now
We need to go back and get the rest of the story. This is where you come in. We've paid for this project ourselves thus-far, and our talented crew has worked for little or nothing, volunteering countless hours of time and talent because they believed in this story.
Now we need your help to finish this film, and hopefully to help these people save their culture.
Your donations will help pay for getting us back over there, transportation once we get there, accommodations, equipment rentals, and translators. And after we return, your donations will help us get the film finished, distributed, and in front of the people who need to see it - again, hopefully helping to help these communities find the environmental balance and sustainable tourism they seek.
How Does Kickstarter Work?
Kickstarter gives independent filmmakers and other creative projects a launch pad to get their projects made. Here's how it works:
- Donate to our project
- Help us reach our goal and finish our film
- Get cool rewards!
But in order for our project to be funded, we MUST HIT OUR GOAL BY NOVEMBER 12TH!
IT'S ALL OR NOTHING: if we don't hit our goal, Kickstarter won't charge your card -- and no one gets rewards.
Donations start at just a buck, but the bigger the donation, the bigger the reward!
And -- it's okay to EXCEED our goal, but it's NOT OKAY to come in under our goal (even by a penny).
So please help us hit our goal! We need you!
**A note about the "Est. Delivery" date underneath all of the rewards - Kickstarter requires that you put the latest expected delivery date for ALL rewards listed in each package - since we are including a DVD of the film in most of the packages, we can't promise delivery of that until we finish the film and get it shown at a premiere! But most of the other rewards are things that can be sent out relatively quickly after the Kickstarter campaign ends.
Please check out all of the rewards we are offering on the sidebar to your right, but here are a couple of the things we have up for grabs:
This gorgeous, hardcover book with stunning photography on anchovy fishing in the Cinque Terre:
Or how about an amazing Tuscan getaway package at Ortaglia, the Biscardo Family Bed & Breakfast in stunning Montepulciano, Italy, featured here in this short video:
Thank you so much for helping us finish our film!
~ The Vendemmia Team