This holiday season Dream of Italy is thrilled to be working with filmmaker Steven McCurdy to give anyone who subscribes, renews or gives a gift subscription to our award-winning print newsletter TWO DVDs of McCurdy’s stunning Italy travel documentaries Bringing Home Sardinia and Postcards From Italy. These DVDs — worth $40 — are complimentary with any subscription.
We took a few moments to speak with McCurdy about his love for Italy…
Dream of Italy: When did you first travel to Italy and did you know then that you wanted to make films about the country?
Steven McCurdy: I first went to Italy in 1979 a year after high school, spending time in Rome, Naples and Sardinia. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, producing films wasn’t even in my realm of possibilities.
I traveled back to Rome for the first time in 1994 for just a few days and I knew I would be back, but it wasn’t until a trip in 1999 that I started thinking about the possibility of filming this incredible country.
DOI: Did you make both of these films at once or return to Italy several times? How did you choose Sardinia and southern Italy as the focus of your films?
Although I spent time in Sardinia, originally that was not at the top of my list for filming. It moved up when a friend from Sardinia offered to help. She made arrangements for places to stay and introductions to many of the people in the film.
Almost all of the locations in my second film were places I had never been, but places that I wanted to see. Several of the locations, Procida and Cefalu, were filming locations for two of my favorite Italian films; Il Postino and Cinema Paradiso.
DOI: Share with us a favorite moment from one of the films.
SM: I was staying in a bed and breakfast in Matera and was explaining to the owner that I was making a film about the people and places of Italy. And he says to me, “you need to meet the mayor of Irsina" and not more than five minutes later, while we are still talking, in walks the mayor. Twenty minutes later I was following him up in my rental car to this picturesque little hilltop town.
Because of the mayor anything I wanted to see and do was at my disposal and it turned into one of my favorite Italian adventures. I meet musicians and farmers, a cheese maker, I saw a cookie maker and lots of other thinhs. It is something that never would have happened without the mayor and you can see it all in my film, Postcards From Italy.
Dream of Italy: What are your favorite places in Italy and what do you like to do there?
SM: I love participating in the local festivals. In my films you can see, The Descent of the Candles in Sassari, Sardinia which takes place every August 15th. The Corso Dei Ceri or Race of the Candles which takes place in Gubbio on May 15th and the lesser known Saint Day processions for San Michele in Procida and San Cataldo a Supino. Of course I also like to get off the beaten track a little and enjoy towns rarely seen, like Irsina, Supino and Buccino.
DOI: I know you are about to embark on a new film on Italy. Can you tell us about it?
SM: I still have two many ideas floating around in my head to tell you definitively right now, but there is a strong likely hood I will be in Sicily. As a storyteller I want to create and tell stories that touch, move and delight people and there are many possibilities in Sicily that intrigue me.
Although I have filmed in 26 countries, Italy just keeps calling me back. to preserve stories, living traditions and the wonder of everyday experiences and I hope to do that, no matter where I film in a unique, creative and personal way. I always say it doesn’t matter where you go there is magic all around, and I hope my films can capture just a little bit of that magic.