Born in Napoli in 1926, director Luigi Di Gianni captured a dimension of southern Italy that outsiders didn’t know existed. He began his career in Basilicata after having visited his ancestral town of Pescopagano as a child. The trip created an affection that would inspire him to return. His first documentary, the 1958 “Magia Lucana”, won Best Documentary at the 19th Venice Film Festival. Di Gianni then ventured into the regions of Campania, Puglia and Calabria where he dealt with anthropological and social issues, examining the intertwining of pagan rituals and Catholic practices.
Jeannine Guilyard has worked as a print journalist covering Italian cinema for Fra Noi Magazine of Chicago since 2005. She is also a video editor and won Emmy and Peabody awards for her work on the ABC News Special Report, September 11, 2001. Last year, she made the documentary, “Return to Lucania”, a grant recipient and finalist in the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum. The film traces the socioeconomic development of Basilicata through the cinema made there. Her latest, “Luigi Di Gianni: Soul of the South”, is a tribute to the pioneer documentary filmmaker who passed away in May.