Earlier this summer Jonas gained unprecented access to a reclusive and largely hidden immigrant community in Italy. He spent one month living with undocumented migrant workers in makeshift camps in the southern Italian town of Rosarno and in the ghettos of nearby Foggia where he met the characters that will populate this film. There the Citrus industry is always in search of cheap labor, the kind of work that the locals shy away from because of the low wages, long hours and poor working conditions. The local mafia, a branch of the ‘Ndrangheta, controls the labor market and enforces brutal standards. These laborers are required to work for 12 hours straight, for a maximum of $30 per day in conditions akin to indentured servitude if not outright slavery. In January of this year tensions finally bubbled over.
Set in a small town in southern Italy, A Chjàna (The Plains, in Calabrese dialect) begins in the middle of the most significant race riot in Italian history. The film follows Ayiva and Cheihk, two Senegalese immigrants, as they try to escape from the chaos and violence of the riot. When the two men get separated, Ayiva is forced to leave alone with hopes that his friend will emerge safely from the tumult. Ayiva arrives in the ghetto of Foggia where he and the other rioters are greeted as heroes. After momentarily celebrating their accomplishment, Ayiva sets out to find his friend and in the process is reminded of the brutal realities of an immigrant’s life in Italy.
With the creative and logstical expertise at our disposal, we are uniquely positioned to tell a story that has never been told. The first-hand experience of an historical moment, with the rich characters and still-raw subject matter we will be depicting deserve the most dedicated, passionate and professional treatment, and we intend to deliver just that.