"A Ciambra"
“A Ciambra”

It was a multiple 2016 Spirit Award nominee in the Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay and Best Male Lead categories; the filmmaker, Jonas Carpignano, won the Breakthrough director award at the 25th Gotham Awards Winners for his unflinching immigrant struggles tale, “Mediterranea” – a film that’s available on various home video platforms in the USA (it previously received a very limited theatrical run in New York City, courtesy of Sundance Selects).

One of three films selected to contend for the 2015 prestigious LUX Film Prize, Carpignano’s debut feature made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival 2 years ago. The still very relevant drama that screened in the La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics’ Week) segment – a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival that focuses on discovering new talents – follows a young Burkinabe man who leaves his native Burkina Faso in search of a better life, making the perilous journey to Italy, only to find he’s unprepared for the intolerance facing immigrants in that country.

Carpignano’s film assesses the very fragile and topical issue of Mediterranean crossings by immigrants seeking freedom and safety.

The 30-year-old filmmaker, with a mother originally from Barbados and an Italian father, broached familiar territory in his multiple award winning short film entitled “A Chjàna,” 5 years ago. His last short film, “A Ciambra,” which won the Discovery Award at the 53rd Critics’ Week at Cannes, has also now become a feature film that’s also making its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival which just kicked off its 2017 festivities.

We learned last week that “A Ciambra” (the feature film) is the first project selected for Martin Scorsese’s new emerging filmmaker fund, which will be unveiled at Cannes.

Jonas Carpignano
Jonas Carpignano

After tackling immigration from the POV of 2 men from Burkina Faso trying to get to Italy in the gritty “Mediterranea,” Carpignano’s “A Ciambra” revolves around a street-wise young Roma boy called Pio, and features amateur actors from the Southern Italy community in which it’s set.

Official synopsis: In “A Ciambra,” a small Romani community in Calabria, Pio Amato is desperate to grow up fast. At 14, he drinks, smokes and is one of the few to easily slide between the regions’ factions – the local Italians, the African immigrants and his fellow Romani. Pio follows his older brother Cosimo everywhere, learning the necessary skills for life on the streets of their hometown. When Cosimo disappears and things start to go wrong, Pio sets out to prove he’s ready to step into his big brother’s shoes and in the process he must decide if he is truly ready to become a man.

We learned this morning that “A Ciambra” has just been acquired by IFC for North American release, and by Haut et Court for France. No specific release dates came with the announcement, but I would expect a late 2017 theatrical premiere. With the critical buzz around the film at Cannes, it very well could be an awards season contender.

Paris-based Luxbox is representing world sales for the film.

No trailer for “A Ciambra” at this time. But you’re strongly encouraged to check out Jonas’ feature debut, “Mediterranea,” which you’ll find on various home video formats. A trailer for “Mediterranea” follows below.