Bella Ciao ! – the violence of nice

(Screengrab of Taran Kootenhayoo as Niki and Sylvi macCormac as Lenny)

Why this film?

Because communities build coherence and maintain dignity through traditions of cooperation and resistance.

Where is it set?

At the intersection of the Latin, Italian and First Nations communities along Commercial Drive in east Vancouver.

Who are the characters and performers?

The main character is Constanza, played by Carmen Aguirre. She arrived in Vancouver as a child, fleeing the Chile of Pinochet in which her mother was “disappeared” for her political beliefs.

Soledad (Alexandra Lainfiesta), Constanza’s daughter, is seeking a second part-time job to have the resources to take better care of her ailing mom.

Arnaldo (Tony Nardi) owns a restaurant on the street. His most regular clients are his two old friends, Basilio (Franco Ferrucci) and Luca (Leonardo Tenisci). Basilio is Soledad’s father, although he has refused to admit it.

Niki (Taran Kootenhayoo) is in Vancouver to find his missing sister. He teams up with Lenny (Sylvi macCormac), who is on a search of her own. And he is outwitted by Raoul (Billy Marchenski), a sculptor who manages to entrap himself. And he eventually meets Hester (Marie Clements), a housing activist and long time ally of Constanza.

The Can Man (John Emmet Tracy) is an expert in living with a small carbon footprint. He has much to teach The Professor (April Telek), who is conducting interviews for yet another study on “the homeless.” She comes armed with a Graduate Student (Gavin Langelo).

Tony (Massimo Frau) owns the café in which the interviews are happening. In the evening, musicians gather. They include a singer with a midi (Tiffany Moses) and an oud player (Gord Grdina).

Beth (Alison Denham) is an addict whose possibilities are closing in. The Crow (Amanda Burke) watches all.

Who is the Director? Who is on her team? 

Carolyn Combs is directing, with Caroline Perry as First AD. Andrew Forbes is Director of Photography and Roman Hylwa is Production Designer. Casting director is Lynne Carrow. Line Producer is Karen Wong. Post Production supervisor is Ken Hayward.

Who wrote the Screenplay?

Michael Springate with Carolyn Combs and Jeremy Waller.

Which Production Company is making the film?

Three local production companies invested in a new production company, Bella Ciao Digital, to make this work possible: Commercial Drive Productions (Carolyn Combs, Michael Springate, Carla Jones), Aja Entertainment (Victor Martinez Aja, Rob Murphy) and RNR Media (Karen Wong). Those six names are the producers. This film is being shot without any government assistance. It is fueled by commitment and passion.

BellaCiao.ca