GIANTS OF L'AQUILA

I GIGANTI DELL'AQUILA

By Enrico Maria ARTALE

VERTICAL FILM I4GATTI SRL - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2009

The Aquila Rugby Club is one of the oldest teams playing in Italian Rugby league and has won championships at a national and international level. On the 6 April 2009 the earthquake which destroyed the city of Aquila. Despite the destruction of the town, the players decided to continue training.

    • Year of production
    • 2009
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • ITALY
    • Languages
    • ITALIAN
    • Duration
    • 55 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Enrico Maria ARTALE
    • Writer(s)
    • Enrico Maria ARTALE
    • Synopsis
    • The Aquila Rugby Club is one of the oldest teams playing in Italian Rugby league and has won championships at a national and international level. Two years ago it was demoted to the second division for bureaucratic reasons. This year the team fought to reach the top of its league so that it could be promoted back up to the first division
      On the 6 April 2009 the earthquake which destroyed the city of Aquila caused the deaths of numerous civilians including Lorenzo Sebastiani, the team’s prop and who was expected to become one of Italy’s sporting talents. That same night, the other players grouped together and took part in the rescue operations: some helped move the in-patients at the geriatrics ward outside the building, others dug through the rubble, and some rushed into collapsing buildings to drag out the elderly occupants.
      Despite the destruction of the town, the interrupted training sessions and the accumulated stress, despite the loss of their homes and being forced to live in tent shanty towns or in hotels on the coast with the other Aquila residents, despite the loss of their team mate, the players decided to continue with their training. As they became aware of the fact that their team was becoming a symbol for the entire population hit by the earthquake, the Aquila Rugby Club won a series of matches, including the agonising semi-final against S.S. Lazio which was played away in Rome on the 30 May 2009, less than two months after the earthquake. And finally there was the painfull national final to qualify for promotion into the first division.
      The film was made as part of a course entitled ‘Cinema and Reality’ under the direction of the teacher Daniele Segre at the Italian National School of Cinema. As the film grew in size, so did the number of participants, eventually requiring the participation of fifteen first-year students from the director’s course, the screenwriter’s course, the editing course, as well as the photography and sound course. It was decided that the final product should be realised independently of the school as a result of the fact that the school’s funds, like the rest of the state-funded entertainment industry, had been cut. The result was that the students themselves had to fund the project
      Repeated visits were made to two of the tent shanty towns, thereby requiring authorisation from the environmental agencies and an escort by the fire brigade. Filming also took place in Rome, Giulianova and Ovindoli.
      The documentary tells the story of the events surrounding the rugby team both on a sporting and individual level, exploring the memories of the main players and the fans. As these stories are told, the film also documents the state of the deserted city, the lives of the people in the tent shanty towns, the training of the team, the amateur rugby tournaments organised on the coast, the organisation of the journey by the fans to watch the their team play in the finals in Rome, paying particular attention to the impact which the film and TV has had on the events.
      Director’s notes:
      The general idea developed as the months passed. We started with the idea of just documenting the facts but we realised that our over-rational perspective and the our hesitation at getting involved in the ethics of the situation was just an excuse rather than a necessity. The turning point came when we understood that we we had to use a style and a method of story-telling which captured the amateurish spirit of the world of rugby, the spirit of the Abruzzesi people and the way young people viewed sport.
      Technical Information:
      The original recordings were made using a MiniDV format.
      Copies for public viewing can be obtained in BetaSp and MiniDV.
      The estimated length of the film is around 55 minutes.
      The filming took place intermittently over a period of two months, and a further six months for post production.
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Apr 01, 2009
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