Documentary Australia Foundation

Next submission deadline is
16 May 2014

Lygon Street - Si parla Italiano

Director /
Shannon Swan, Jason McFadyen
2013 September
AUD $70000
AUD $190000
90 minutes

About the film

Narrated by AFI and Golden Globe winner Anthony LaPaglia, this funny, touching and overall fascinating documentary explores the historic heartland of Melbourne’s Italian community and the unique circumstances that transformed a country's way of living and eating.

Post World War 2, Australia flung open its doors to anyone willing to come. With the promise of a better life European migrants flocked in. One in six of these were Italians. Instead, they found themselves alone in peculiar surroundings and face-to-face with 'real' Aussies. Fearing what they didn't understand, Australians were suspicious of the new arrivals. Coffee made from oddly shaped machines and a food called 'Pizza' were all things to be wary of and the press echoed their thoughts, “Let us hope that immigration of the future will be planned deliberately and intelligently and offer more opportunities to the people of our own stock” said one newsreel. It wouldn't deter the passionate migrants. Simply, they re-created all the things they missed from home in one particular street of a then rundown Melbourne suburb and it become ‘Little Italy’.

Funding amount Sought

AUD $70000

Total Project Budget

AUD $190000

Length of Production

90 minutes

Stage of Production


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

The documentary captures an important part of Australia's history and follows the journey of Italian migrants in Australia. Particularly, it highlights the racism they were exposed too and draws comparisons to current migrant stories and the debate of immigration to Australia. The film aims to improve tolerance within communities towards migrant groups and offers an understanding of the value new arrivals can offer a multi-cultural Australia.

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

The film premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2013 with three sold-out screenings and is about to begin its theatrical release (88 min) with Cinema Nova. We hope this will continue to spread awareness of the film and promote it as an educational resource that can be see by a wider Australia. We hope it supports local Italian traders as well as remaining a strong reminder of the positive impact Italian immigration has had on Australia culture.

This has initially been measured by the success at MIFF and we will continue to measure its impact throughout its Theatrical Release.

What is your education and outreach strategy

Our education strategy is to make sure the film is well known to school groups, universities, migrant groups and language schools. We have edited the film to gain a classification suitable for these groups and will invite as many as possible to view it during its theatrical release via resources such as ATOM. As part of an outreach strategy, we will make a free copy of the film available to migrant resource and learning centers throughout Australia.

Who are the filmmakers responsible for the project?

Shannon Swan - Director
Angelo Pricolo - Producer
Jason McFadyen - Producer