Sicilian Chef Jasper Mirabile to serve as Master of Ceremony
Feature-length documentary reveals that there’s much more to the mysterious three-sided island than its association with the Mafia.
Independent filmmaker Mark Spano, writer, producer, and director of “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife,” has announced the U.S. premiere of his feature-length documentary. The premiere screening will be held in the filmmaker’s hometown, Kansas City, MO., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m., at the Screenland Armour theater.
The event is co-sponsored by the Kansas City chapters of the American Sons of Columbus and UNICO, the largest Italian-American non-profit service organization in the United States. Sicilian Chef Jasper Mirabile, owner and executive chef of the nationally acclaimed “Jasper’s” restaurant in Kansas City, will serve as master of ceremonies.
“Little has been produced about the cultural or historic relevance of Sicily,” said Spano, a Sicilian by heritage (he holds dual citizenship), who began working on his film five years ago. “The most invaded place on earth, the three-sided island rivals Greece and Egypt as a primary source for Western ideas. Yet fewer places on the planet compare to Sicily as a place of wonder and intrigue.
“But for crime, Sicily has gone unexplored,” Spano continued. “The island’s association with the Mafia, so deeply entrenched in popular consciousness, has obscured more rounded and accurate depictions of its history and culture.”
Until now. Spano believes his film will begin to change the public’s perception of Sicily and Sicilian people.
For Chef Jasper Mirabile Jr., the film is a loving tribute to his land of origin. “This beautiful film by Mark Spano paints a fresh portrait of my grandparents’ ancestral home,” he said. “Mark takes us on a journey of spectacular beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights and historic sites. Personally, the film evokes wonderful memories of the many trips I’ve made to my family’s homeland. I’m honored to be the emcee at the Kansas City premiere of ‘Sicily: Land of Love and Strife’ and to help showcase this remarkable region of Italy.”
The documentary’s appeal was evident recently when the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (NC) announced a continuing education course the filmmaker is teaching there in March in the Osher Lifelong Learning Center (OLLI). The course is based largely on “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife.” Almost immediately, it sold out, necessitating a move to another venue on campus to accommodate the maximum number of students.
Christopher Bram, the author of Gods and Monsters, observes, “ ‘Sicily: Land of Love and Strife’ is a terrific documentary, beautifully photographed and highly informative. Like a great travel book full of wonders. You never know what will appear next: volcanoes, Greek ruins, olives, The Leopard, pastry, and the Mafia of course… It’s a profound look at life.”
Tickets for the premiere are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. To order advance tickets, go to http://bit.ly/SicilyPremiereKC.
The Screenland Armour Theatre is located at 408 Armour Road, North Kansas City, MO 64116 (816-994-7380).