Spettacolo is a documentary fairy tale about a tiny Italian farming village that turns their lives into a play in order to confront their issues and save their way of life.


Fifty years ago, a poor farming town in Italy dreamed up an experiment to help them recover from centuries of poverty, illiteracy and the scars of war: they turned their lives into a play.

Together, the villagers transformed their piazza into a stage and took on the roles of themselves. In this alternate reality, they finally felt safe to discuss difficult problems and explore solutions.

The experiment worked. Every summer since, the issues they've faced have been analyzed and dramatized in the center of town—their near annihilation by Nazis, the ongoing struggles of their farmers, the disillusionment of their housewives, their fears of the modern world.

The experience has united the village and kept them virtually suspended in time. But this year, their issues may have finally outgrown their tiny stage.

In the style of a documentary fairy tale, Spettacolo tells the story of this extraordinary village by interweaving their process of “autodrama” with the lives and issues that inspire it. Like a novel, each chapter will act as a puzzle piece, filling in the details of surrounding characters, illuminating hidden issues, and combining to form a larger picture of the power of art to heal, unite and transform.

Jeff Malmberg Jeff Malmberg

Jeff Malmberg's first documentary Marwencol has won over 25 international awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards. He is currently working on a new feature-length documentary with his... more»

Christina D. Shellen Christina D. Shellen

Chris Shellen produced the award-winning documentary Marwencol. A former film development executive, she has worked as a digital content strategist for 10 years. She is currently working on a book... more»

“In exploring this unique tradition, we hope to provoke a dialogue about the value of community and artistic expression in our modern world.”

Genre: Documentary