AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER – NEW FEST NYC BEST SHORT DOC • BEST SHORT DOC – VERONA FILM FESTIVAL • BEST SHORT DOC – SIDE BY SIDE LGBT FF ST. PETERSBURG • BEST SHORT DOC – MED Film Festival Sicily • BEST SHORT DOC Montecatini Short Film Festival Italy • IRIS PRIZE NOMINEE [IRELAND ] • SPECIAL JURY MENTION BEST SHORT OUTSHINE MIAMI LGBT FILM FESTIVAL • AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER BEST SHORT QUEER STREIFEN REGENSBERG • Nominated BEST ITALIAN SHORT Milan International Film Festival Awards • Honorable Mention – Best Short OUTSHINE Miami • FINALIST Kashish Mumbai LGBT+ Film Festival. Finalist Shanghai PRIDE Film Festival • WORLD PREMIERE AT BFI FLARE •
THE RED TREE tells the little known history of Italian gay men being arrested and exiled to a remote prison island during Mussolini’s Fascist regime.
In the film, an elderly man returns to the island of San Domino where 60 years before during the Fascist era he was imprisoned with hundreds of other men for being homosexual.
As he walks the island alone, memories come back – of all-male dances in his home town in Sicily in the 1930s, of his beating and arrest, the difficulty of prison life on the island, the suffering of gay men under fascism, and their public humiliation after their return. And of this unique island where all the prisoners were gay, and the seeds of a community were first sown.
Narrated by Leo Gullotta (Cinema Paradiso), the film combines footage filmed on present day San Domino (now a popular tourist island) with innovative treatments of archival material and re-enactments filmed in Brooklyn. The narration is written by Luca de Santis (In Italia Sono Tutti Maschi), while the dense immersive soundtrack is by frequent Still Films collaborator Aperture Records artist Oberman Knocks. With Leo Gullotta. Nath Ann Carrera. Luca Torregiani. Director and Editor – Paul Rowley. Producers – Nicky Gogan & Paul Rowley. Script – Luca de Santis & Paul Rowley. Cinematography – Frederic Fasano & Paul Rowley. Music by Oberman Knocks. Sound Design – Fiadhnait McCann. Sound Mix – Killian FitzGerald at Avatar Post. Special thanks for historical interviews Giovanni Dall’Orto. Gianfranco Goretti. Tommaso Giartosio.
Produced with the support of a Project Award from The Arts Council / An Comhairle Ealaíon