A passionate Sardinian anthropologist returns to her childhood island paradise to uncover the environmental and economic degradation at the hands of the NATO military, corporate interests and the government’s exploitation.
BALENTES is a provocative documentary/ part exposé - seeking accountability for the ruthless exploitation of Sardinia’s resources, environmental beauty and deep social customs and traditions.
Using a host/narrator format, BALENTES is an intimate film, engaging the audience through a meaningful bond exposing the impact of corporate greed, exploitation, environmental contamination and the turmoil of social restructuring in response to economic pressures.
The story is captured from the perspective of the director and host-narrator. Born of a Sardinian mother and Australian father, Lisa Camillo moved to Australia where she spent 14 years working in Aboriginal communities as an anthropologist. Returning to Sardinia - she was confronted with the heartbreak of tarnished landscapes and widespread despair of its people. Armed with her camera she set out to expose the unacceptable. Outside the high-end luxury resorts accessible only to the world’s elite, Sardinia is being driven to poverty. Plagued by unemployment and illnesses attributed to environmental contamination, large areas of Sardinia have been reduced to wasteland. The heavy mining industry has forced farmers and shepherds from traditional occupations into highly specialized industries, simultaneously degrading their agrarian skills and the rich farmland. As easy margins dwindled and public funding was depleted, companies moved out, leaving behind rampant unemployment and a virtually uninhabitable landscape.
The Italian government added to this damage by creating military testing facilities on the island, testing bombs and missiles, training soldiers, simulating war games and disposing of obsolete weapons. Today 70% of Italian military bases are located on Sardinia, occupying 1/3 of its area. Military exercises restrict vast areas for navigation and fishing. Released micro particles of depleted uranium, aluminum, thorium and other deadly elements are absorbed into the soil and water supplies causing a deadly mix of carcinogens.
This inspiring documentary empowers Sardinians to take action to find solutions. Sardinia is a beautiful European paradise, much of it undiscovered - renowned for its beauty, its emerald waters, and its centenarians. BALENTES shows the exquisite natural beauty of Sardinia in its best light, masterfully captured using the highest quality equipment, by an award winning cinematographer and director.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
aims to generate an important impact, not just in Sardinia but all around the world. Exploitation by big business and the breach of human and land rights is not just a Sardinian problem –it’s a world problem and we need to have a discussion about it.For philanthropic organisations with a focus on human rights, exploitation, world health, cancer, environment issues and recovery through storytelling this project will provide a stimulating, in-depth resource.
BALENTES is a feature documentary that will be aimed at international film festivals and world cinema for maximum exposure. Web-based content will encourage people to share their stories of resilience and their initiatives of community revival via sustainable agrarian businesses and technological advancements to build a sustainable economy based on tourism rather than heavy and military industries.
Sardinia is in serious danger. Its story must be told now - to educate, mobilise and document – to make a historical record. Commercial exploitation has damaged the landscape and disrupted a society known for its longevity. Sardinians have become mysteriously ill and the population is diminishing at an alarming rate. There is an immediacy to act before it's too late.
The hosted narrator establishes an intimate film, creating a meaningful bond that engages the audience with the issues.
The team is strong: Camillo has won film awards and accolades for her humanitarian work; her family ties to the island and fluency in English, Italian and Sardinian facilitate the project; months of networking has evolved a Sardinian following dedicated to help the project succeed on the world stage.
The documentary has received substantial coverage in all major Sardinian newspapers, television, blogs and radio. The people’s response is overwhelming: they have voiced their support to the team; speaking of their loss, their sorrows, disappointments and fears for their children and grandchildren. Yet through their tears they speak of hope for their beautiful Sardinia and stand proud of the past and acclaim a desire for a better future.
TO WATCH THE TRAILER GO TO: WWW.BALENTESFILM.COM
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
Since we started promoting the trailer, made with what we have shot initially, we had an unbelievable response from people and media outlets all over the world.
Event launches of the campaign happened across some major continents: Australia (Sydney), North America (New York) and Italy (Sardinia: Porto Cervo, Cagliari and Sassari)
We have been overwhelmed by the response. We are currently creating awareness in Australia in collaboration with the award-winner Australian artist Jason Benjamin and Index Art, coming together to present the exhibition of the year that will inspire Australian audiences to take action and save Sardinia.
Create enough awareness and social resistance to stop the current decision to store nuclear waste material in Sardinia and initiate a discourse with NATO and major multinationals that left several areas of Sardinia polluted with poisonous chemicals.
Number of schools that are showing the documentary; number of cinemas in Sardinia, number of press spots (e.g. newspapers, television, blogs, social media) world wide distribution through digital cinema package, web based and contemporary viewing platforms.
(Please visit our website to see our media coverage we received so far: www.balentesfilm.com/press )
A measure of its impact will be the adoption of the film and its linked web resources as key resources used by governmental institutions to guide their decisions based on what Sardinians want for their island.
A call to action encouraging activism and audience participation, challenge to conventions and current status quo.
Understanding from our audience feedback measuring the ability of a film to inspire and give understanding to the individual's emotional involvement.
A web-based content page on the BALENTES site will enable members of the public to upload past and present stories on human rights and environmental issues and/or showcase accomplishments and innovations. This allows a whole new community access to and interaction to generate dialogue and interest in the importance of maintaining the Sardinian heritage. By accessing the website, you will be able to:
•Upload and view relevant videos or slideshows
•Post personal comments and recollections
•Access links to relevant research organizations
•View archival footage of Sardinia
•Participate in open forum through a Facebook page.
Material will be key-worded to facilitate search engines such as Goggle, Bing and Yahoo ranking the contents as high as possible and increasing audience reach. This will bring to the wider community awareness of the importance of Sardinia.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
BALENTES will be submitted to major international film festivals, including two Sardinian ones and it will have a cinema release.
A 50 min version will be edited to fit television broadcasting in European and Australian channels. Hosted by the director Lisa Camillo, special screenings will be touring Sardinia to encourage change and to inspire other Sardinians to share their stories through film.
A web-based content page on the BALENTES site will enable other Sardinians to upload their content to denounce human right and environmental issues and/or showcase Sardinian accomplishments and innovations.
Digital: on demad streeming (Neflix, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Hulu Plus, etc.), Cinemas, television, DVD.
Cross Platform Strategy:
We have built a website www.balentesfilm.com with a mobile version, to be easily accessible from all mobile devices. Here, one will be able to find a series of cultural content on Sardinian traditions, food and history (all the content has already been shot) by hovering on a map of Sardinia to find out any particularity of the area/region.
In this way we would be able to link examples of best Sardinian practice of economic development and successful sustainable businesses to inspire and provide guidance for other Sardinians with contacts and links to our 'Balentes' people.
The audience can further message our 'Balentes'/interviewees and our experts to ask questions on matters discussed in the documentary and to expand on particular issues of interest.
All documents and results of tests conducted on the people and the environment will be available on our website.