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SOA Trio Selected for Berlin Film Festival

By Kristin Sterling

In a scene from Maree (Tides) Luan Bexheti plays the father.

Being accidentally separated from his family during a trip to Venice at the age of 5 has haunted James Pellerito (CC'94, SOA '04) ever since, and the experience helped to inspire his short film Maree ( Tides ), which he wrote and directed. The film was selected for the 54th Berlin International Film Festival, which runs through Feb. 15,and has received a Kinderfilm Honorable Mention Award. The film also has been included in some 20 other festivals over the past year. The film was produced by David Barba (SOA '04) and coproduced by Pellerito's sister Jennifer (SOA '07).

Maree ( Tides ) tells the story of an Albanian father and son who flee war-torn Macedonia in search of a better life in Italy. Once in Venice, the father makes the most painful decision of his life -- to abandon his son.

Pellerito, who grew up in Vicenza, Italy, near Venice, is interested in illegal immigration, an issue that divides Italians. "Refugees have come to Italy not just from Albania, but also from other Eastern European countries and North Africa," he said. "I wanted to tell the story of one of these families who makes it to Italy but can't afford to stay together."

The film, shot on location in Venice using Italian and Albanian dialogue, has struck a chord with audiences and judges alike. Among its honors, Maree ( Tides ) has received the Grand Prize for Best Foreign Film at the 2003 Rhode Island International Film Festival and Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short at the 2003 New Orleans Film Festival.

As the trio basks in the success of Maree (Tides) , they are also working on other projects. Pellerito is finishing a documentary, Ballperson, about a 40-year-old lawyer who has worked as a ballboy at the U.S. Open Tennis Championship for the last 25 years. Barba, a Mexican citizen, has written a short that he will direct in Mexico City titled Still Life , about a photographer who takes pictures of dead people at crime scenes. And Pellerito and his sister Jennifer hope to shoot a short film they recently cowrote called Intercourse about the role sex plays in the relationships of couples of different ages.

Published: Feb 13, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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