Filmmaker Nina Juliano Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Next Short Film
Filmmaker Nina Juliano knows the story she wants to tell - one that shines a light on women with a fire in their hearts that only burned brighter in the face of stifling societal norms. To get the tale on the silver screen, however, Juliano is going to need a little help. She just launched a crowdfunding campaign to help build the budget for this new project - creating a short film entitled "Little Sicily."
She only has 20 days left to raise the $17,500 needed for cast and crew for the project.
For information about the campaign and to make a donation, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/little-sicily-short-film-fundraiser.
Gifts are available to all the backers who donate $25 or more.
"We're grateful for support at any level," Juliano said.
She drew her inspiration for the script from women's stories of the Italian immigrant experience in early to mid-twentieth century Delaware.
"I feel like it's the right time for this kind of story," Juliano said.
One legend particularly sparked her interest. "A man in our family murdered his daughter's lover in the 1930s," she said. "In Sicilian culture, if a man touched a woman in public, she would be dishonored until he married her or he was dead. Some of those values were initially brought here."
She decided to dig for more details about the story. She had a lot of questions.
"Did she have to testify against her own father?" Juliano asked herself. "Did she have to live with him afterward or did he go to prison?"
She started researching the story. "The story was a little bit different from what we had always heard, but it really was about 'protecting' her honor," she said.
And that was just the beginning.
Juliano started collecting more stories from her aunts and other Italian women - and discovered a trove of inspiration for her writing.
"The women I interviewed had some wild and intriguing stories," she said. "Sometimes, they would do reckless things, and face crazy consequences, but then they would just do it again anyway. They had so much nerve and spirit. Even in such a restrictive culture they were able to assert their independence and individuality. The strict oppression caused some rebelliousness to bubble up."
Juliano felt that as a filmmaker, her duty was to create a short film weaving together a few stories into a coming-of-age story about one woman.
"She's forced to choose between her family and her freedom," Juliano said. "She rebels, gets herself in really deep trouble and then is forced to make a big decision about what to do before it is too late. Can she stay with her family with their oppressive beliefs or does she have to leave?"
She said the tale is something anyone who ever had to leave home will relate to - and it will also appeal to everyone who can remember the adolescent feeling of being suffocated by an overbearing family.
Juliano also wants to offer another perspective on the story of the experience of Italian-American immigrants coming to America.
"There was an era of really great Italian immigrant films," she said. "Those are some of my favorite films, but one thing I never really noticed growing up that they were all told from a male point of view."
She believes that a lot could be gained by hearing what the women have to say.
The resulting script for "Little Sicily" is a little dark and a bit edgy, a drama with comedy woven into the story. The focus is on the importance of the Italian family and how cultural expectations can impact people.
Juliano picked up her interest in film at a young age. She used to make videos with her siblings using their father's Sony camcorder.
"We would make these fake commercials all the time -- or we would film our own version of a music video," Juliano said. "We did the performing and the filming, and I guess in college I really started to realize you could make a career from film."
And that's exactly what she's done. She has created a number of short films and two feature-length documentaries - "The Essence of Spirit" and "A Man for Others," which was distributed in the U.S and internationally. She is currently directing and producing a short documentary.
If "Little Sicily" is a success, Juliano hopes to create a television series from the stories she has collected - with the short film providing a taste of the concept.
For more information about the filmmaker, visit imdb.me/ninajuliano