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Dialogue and Language Coach

Most of my costar's (Rossella Brescia) dialogue is with my lead character, Calogero. Her English speaking ability was marginal so during our rehearsals, my function was not only to ensure that our lines were well rehearsed but that her English was comprehensible. Fortunately, I could employ my knowledge and experience gleaned from 3 years of linguistics study and acquisition of a Certificate in Teaching English as Foreign and Second Language (credential from University of Toronto). This was a significant contribution to the success of the film as Rossella received a Best Supporting Actress Award.


Translation and Creation of Subtitles 

We were admitted into the Taormina Film Festival upon the condition of having completed Italian subtitles for the film. We only had 3 days to fulfill this requirement. None of the professional translators who I had contacted were either availability or affordable, and we were in a time crunch. I assembled my own team of highly capable bi-lingual Italians (from close and personal friends). I was a critical contributor to the many hours we worked to accomplish this task in a timely way, but neither Dale nor I gave myself credit in the credit roster. My contribution was critical because I too am bilingual and, as the cowriter of the screenplay and actor in 4 roles, I had a thorough knowledge of the script. I note that this resulted in our receiving a coveted award at this Taormina Film Festival.


Contribution to Film Score

While seeking out music for the film, to complement the wonderful score by Claudio Vena, I introduced the director to musical works by my personal friends and musicians, with whom I had professionally collaborated (as a fellow musician). I presented Dale with Domenic Mancuso's music, after going to his home and getting relevant recordings to share with him. A great piece of Domenic's vocals and music was used very effectively for a scene. I also pointed out to Dale that my dear friend and cousin, Rita Chiarelli has an Italian album called "Amore", and she could readily contribute a song - since she can vocalize bilingually. This she did through many beautiful scenes. My very dear friend, Alfonso Spotto, has one of the finest ensembles in Canada named "The Accoustics", and they perform a variety of accordion based original music. Their piece was chosen for the running of the movie credits. While on location, music was required for the cast to dance to, during the "food preparation" scene. On screen, in my role as the Woman Dressed in Black, I provided a Tarantella on harmonica. This performance is in the scene, but my Tarantella was is replaced by scored music. I introduced a Sicilian traditional song, "Scuri Scuri" to be sung by our background cast from Sicily. I knew how heartfully they would sing this song (which required no rehearsal). I led them into this song by singing along off screen. I also was responsible for introducing Dale to a very dear old friend,  Raffaele Schiavo, who is one of the finest vocalists in Italy, in his extraordinary unique genre of music. He is a resident of Siracusa and contributed as an actor, as well as the creation and singing of his original piece which embellished several scenes. His singing and acting during the funeral scene elevated that scene to one of the finest in the movie.


Contribution to Locations

My contribution to locations began at the outset, when my director (to be) asked me to accompany him to Sicily to a town of my choosing. I chose the province and city of Siracusa, where I was a resident many years ago, have dear friends and worked at a nearby Club Med years ago. It is not only one of the most beautiful locations in Sicily, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Dale had brought a professional film camera and asked me to bring a suit I could wear, while I walked through prospective locations. We were accommodated by an old friend of mine, who had an interesting villa in a rural area of Siracusa. We ended up using one of the rooms in his villa for several very Important scenes. Upon returning, with a Canadian cast and crew, my Siracusan friends contributed as background and other tasks, such as crowd control. Also, when Dale and I were exploring locations, I acted as a translator, which allowed him to occupy balconies and other vantage points for filming me as I did "in costume" walks through prospective locations (some of these experimental shoots made it to the final cut). I will emphasize my contribution as a translator with Sicilian, non-English speaking background actors and others engaged in the making of this film on location. I will cite one more vital location contribution. When the time came to choose a facility to house/accommodate cast crew and equipment, I suggested a resort that was owned and operated by my old friends in Siracusa. It turned out this location was ideal and affordable. 

"Personal Life" Contrubution


Although there was an initial screenplay initiated by Dale, it was not until the addition of scenes, creation of characters (that reflected so many of aspects of my personal life), did the script begin to take shape. Even the creation of the Miracle Madonna in the Lemon grove occurred after I informed Dale that families would not feud over a Lemon grove (which are readily abandoned throughout Sicily), unless we added something special like a Miracle Madonna. Also, it was my idea to make the main character a Linguistic Professor, rather than a lawyer or doctor. Although it was not originally intended, the script became something that had my life story as a basis, incorporating my real life experiences into many scenes.



It should also be noted that it was my partner, Barbara Mead  who insisted that we apply for awards in New York City's "Socially Relevant Film Festival". She actually submitted the application with Dale's approval. We received a prestigious screening at the Lincoln Center. And I went on to win a "Best Actor Award" and our film picked up a "Best Film Award".

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