Amaro: the bitter tastes of Sicilian food and culture
Amaro is a film that brings to life the narrative of Sicilian food and culture through the exploration of a single taste: bitter.
Amaro is the story of the complexity of food culture in Sicily. The film delves into the island’s gastronomic history, highlights present day culinary traditions, and follows the hands and hearts of a people who have embraced the most remote, least valued, and often disregarded taste: bitterness. The film talks of the foraging traditions of an agricultural state, where gathering bitter greens was a last resort, a symbol of need. It follows the Good Friday ceremony, an event in the small town of Caltanissetta where local foragers, representatives of the bitter taste, transform from marginalized to celebrated as they lead the town’s celebratory procession. Amaro also talks of its namesake, the Italian digestivo that is truly an expression of place, with coveted recipes that vary drastically by the available wild bitter herbs in each community.
Finally the film takes us from the streets and fields into the homes of Sicilian locals. In the kitchen, bitterness plays a leading role in food alchemy, transforming what could easily be discarded into delectable dishes and products with unique flavors and mythical traditions. From honeys to cheeses, and sautéed cardoons with anchovies to risotto with wild asparagus, bitterness serves to elevate the other tastes we sometimes take for granted and brings us back to our roots: of the land, of the culture, and of tradition. From field to fork, Amaro follows a flavor that has helped shape the Sicilian food identity.
Fabrizia Lanza is the director of the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School and travels around the world to produce events focusing on Sicilian cuisine in renowned restaurants. These have included Alice Water’s Chez Panisse and Mario Batali's restaurants Lupa and Il Posto, to mention only the most famous. Fabrizia is the author of Olive, A Global History and the cookbook Coming Home to Sicily: Seasonal Harvests and Cooking at Case Vecchie.
She shares her vision and abundance of knowledge about the Sicilian food landscape as the creative designer of the project. As the face of the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, she promotes the film and its mission both locally and abroad.
Leandro Picarella was born in Agrigento in 1984. After high school, he started his Bachelor at University of Palermo, graduating in Literature and Philosophy. In 2006 he moved to Florence to complete a Master in Movie Studies and Italian Theatre Literature. Between 2010 and 2012 he created his first short movies: Cattedrale, Desnudez, Ritirata Notturna for the 75th Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. His short movie Scolpire il tempo participated at 66th Locarno Film Festival. The biographical movie Dio delle zecche: storia di Danilo Dolci in Sicilia traveled all over Italy in various festivals. Triokala (2016) is his first full length movie. With this film he received the Special Jury Mention Regard Neuf in Visions Du Réel 2016 and other prizes in different European countries. Since the summer of 2014 he has been organizing a yearly a movie festival in the Valley of the Temples, set in Agrigento, Sicily.
I Fratelli Mancuso are Sicilian artists at their very core. Brothers Enzo and Lorenzo Mancuso are musicians born in Sutera (close by the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School) whose music embodies the soul of Sicily and provides the musical backdrop for Amaro.
Henna Garrison has an avid interest in cultural communication around food. Born and raised in Nantucket, Massachusetts, she has been a lover of Italy since she first visited at the age of 12. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences with a Masters in Food Culture and Communication. As the newest member to the Anna Tasca Lanza team, she’s looking forward to engaging an international audience with the vast narrative surrounding the Sicilian food landscape. Henna is managing the Kickstarter campaign and is go-to girl to reach out to should you have any questions. She will also support Fabrizia in the logistics and content creation for the film.
In 2013 and 2014 Fabrizia and the team successfully completed two Kickstarter campaigns to produce Amuri, a story of the slow food traditions in Sicily. The film, which was shown in over ten locations across the US and awarded a Bronze Award in the Spotlight Short Film Awards, introduced us to an incredible network of passionate and creative people willing to support our mission. We’re excited to return to Kickstarter to once again connect with a close-knit group interested in promoting Sicilian food and culture worldwide.
In addition, we think the all or nothing approach to Kickstarter is important. Our funding goal is higher this time around because we want to continue to expand and share the stories of Sicilian food culture with the world.
Of our 50,000 euro goal, all profits will be going to the production of the film. After the 8% taken by Kickstarter and payment fees, and around 22% that will go to Italian taxes, the remaining is allocated to our production team, with the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School donating the rewards and man-power to create this film.
The bulk of our rewards center around joining a close-knit community of passionate people willing to put food at the forefront of our future and give value to the gastronomic histories and traditions of the past. We want to create and connect a community that believes in the values promoted by the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School and even might be willing to join us here in Sicily to share the local cuisine and tradition.
All of our supporters will be invited to follow along in the production and post-production of the film through a closed group Facebook page for complete behind the scenes access.
The most compelling reward is access to the final film: Amaro but we have included both digital and physical rewards for those wanting a more in-depth contribution. A digital recipe booklet with exclusive recipes and photos from the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School gives you a taste of Sicily without leaving home. Carefully curated and edited photos from the Amaro journey will allow you to see beyond the film and translate the Sicilian experience digitally.
If you're looking towards the tangible, we're excited to load you up with dish towels, aprons, and table clothes printed with Fabrizia's signature Bitter Greens pattern in watercolor.
For a more a more personal prize, we invite you to join us in Sicily! Lunch lessons or overnight stays at Case Vecchie will give the authentic taste of Sicily. If luxury is more your style, join us at the Capofaro resort on the Aeolian islands where sea breeze meets sea food and you can relax with the Mediterranean by your side. For an immersive experience, join Fabrizia in the heart of Palermo for a private tour of this magical city and meals where you will be treated like royalty. For on-site rewards, please contact us for booking availability.
Risks and challenges
Navigating the production of a film has inherent risks and challenges, but filming in rural Sicily in the dead of winter has the potential for its own (often literal) road bumps. Infrastructure is unreliable and we will be filming and working with locals who are voluntarily participating in our film out of a desire to share their cultural food knowledge with the world. In addition, while our director/producer is dedicated to the film, Fabrizia and the rest of the team will be running the day to day operations of the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School while managing this project.
We have tried to be generous with our estimated timeline because of these challenges. However, we ask you to keep in mind the potential difficulties we may face. Filming will take place Winter/Spring 2017 - 2018 and post-production through 2018. We hope to debut in early 2019.
Bottom line: this film will be made! There are just many variables to coordinate along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)