The Olive Route : Olive Oil, the Mafia and the New Sicily - screener

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The Olive Route : Olive Oil, the Mafia and the New Sicily

Year: 2012, 52 mins
Code: IC-Olive3

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A strong desire for independence is at the heart of Sicily’s identity. Like the olive tree, which for centuries has been the king of the island’s agriculture. At the start to the 20th century, the Sicilians were under the rule of bandits, specialists in “the business of protection” who originally provided protection for olive growers during harvest time. When faced with the more invasive violence of the Mafia, the Sicilians were too intimidated to react and too afraid to rebel.

Change only came in 1992, with the assassinations of the Palermo magistrates Falcone and Borsellino: they had been the symbol of the fight against the Mafia. These murders constituted a breaking point for the Sicilians. They understood that the Mafia was a curse from which they must rid themselves. With some of the key players in the revival of Sicily, we will witness the changes which have been unfolding for several years. “Il dottore” Spatola, an olive oil taster, as well as the Gioia family, traditional Sicilian landowners, and the Vincenzo family who are practicing agro-tourism: they all will share with us their passionate belief in a new Sicily. Not forgetting Salvatore Gibiino, a member of the “Libera Terra” cooperative, an NGO that husbands land reclaimed from Mafia bosses reviving the olive and wine groves, producing organic crops.

Visits to the Mafia “capital” Corleone as well as to the dilapidated districts of Palermo and to the rituals of the Day of the Dead at Valledolmo will remind us that the olive tree here in Sicily was witness to the birth of the Mafia and is observing its decline today.

The Olive Route Series

This Portfolio takes us on an unforgettable journey across the Mediterranean. From the Tuscan hillsides to the plains of Andalusia, from the cobbled streets of Athens to the shores of the Aegean, reaching the coasts of Asia Minor and the minarets of Istanbul, then passing through Palestine and Israel, without forgetting the islands of Sicily and Lesvos. We will discover the secrets of the olive tree, a symbol of life and spirit of peace in these Mediterranean regions since thousands of years. Our modern-day Odyssey takes us to beautiful towns and picturesque villages where ancient sites witness unforgettable rituals, all of which are linked in some way or other to the olive tree, to its culture and its trade.

These celebrations represent the essence of its history and way of life and capture the beautiful allure of the Mediterranean Dream. At every stage along this journey, we will look for best olive oils, delicious recipes and unknown details of the Mediterranean diet. But the films will also cover agronomical, ecological and spiritual aspects. And we will bear in mind the symbolic value of the olive branch and the mythology behind it. The narrative of each film is build around a universal theme related to the olive culture and trade, brought to life by passionate characters whose everyday lives we will share and whose fabulous stories we will discover.

For the very first time these regions and themes explored are knit together (in full HD) to create a comprehensive mosaic: the Olive Route, rich in detail, colourful in scope and astonishing in meaning. It is not simply a geographical path, but a bridge connecting people socially and passionately, beyond all races, beliefs and origins: it carves out the surprising heritage they have in common, the Olive Route creates a Med identity.

Films written by Carol DRINKWATER, directed by Albert KNECHTEL and produced by Michel NOLL - Commissioning editors: Hans Robert EISENHAUER and Susanne MERTENS - Associate Producers: Sandro Vannucci, Antonio Saura, Primitivo Rodriguez Gordillo, George Kalomenopoulos, Nida Karabol Akdeniz, Marwan Atamneh - A Coproduction by SOLFERINO IMAGES and ZDF - In Coproduction with 2KFILMS, UMUT SANAT, VIDEOKINE and QUARTIER LATIN MEDIA - In Cooperation with ARTE, ERT and TV5 Monde - In Association with RAI Educational, AL-HIWAR TV, Equator HD, DK4 and Longshot Pictures - With the Assistance of CNC, PROCIREP, ANGOA and MOVIEMED - In Partnership with IFAD, COPEAM, CMCA - With the High Patronage of UNESCO.

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