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Lygon Street

Lygon Street

Si parla Italiano.

Two Taps Productions is delighted to announce that the Australian documentary ‘Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano’ will be released nationally in February, following its phenomenal success screening exclusively at Melbourne’s Cinema Nova since November. One of Australia’s most iconic streets comes alive on screen to tantalise the taste buds in this record-breaking documentary about ‘Little Italy’ as told by the men and women who made it.

The must-see film has captured the hearts of movie-lovers. Following sold-out sessions at The Melbourne International Film Festival, ‘Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano’ has become the second highest-grossing Australian documentary of 2013 and Cinema Nova’s highest-grossing Australian documentary ever, with almost 15,000 film fans through the door in ten smash hit weeks and counting. The film’s incredible story of Melbourne’s immigrant community is the same journey shared by immigrants across Australia, and will resonate with audiences across the country.

Filmmaker Shannon Swan said: We’re excited at the possibility that ‘Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano’ is set to break all records for an Australian documentary at Cinema Nova. We’re thrilled that it has found an audience, amongst the Italian community and beyond. It’s a joyful story of the positive impact immigration can have in Australia. And really, who wants to imagine life without espresso machines?

Narrated by AFI and Golden Globe winner Anthony LaPaglia, this funny, touching and spirited documentary explores the historic heartland of Melbourne’s Italian community and the unique circumstances that transformed a country’s way of living and eating.

Post World War 2, Australia flung open its doors to anyone willing to come. With the promise of a better life European migrants flocked in and one in six of these were Italians. Instead, they found themselves alone in peculiar surroundings and face-to-face with ‘real’ Aussies. Fearing what they didn’t understand, Australians were suspicious of the new arrivals. Coffee made from oddly shaped machines and a food called ‘Pizza’ were all things to be wary of. It wouldn’t deter the passionate migrants. Simply, they re-created all the things they missed from home in one particular street of a then run-down Melbourne suburb, in the same way that Italian migrants did around the country, creating cultural hubs in places like Leichhhardt, Fremantle and Griffith.

‘Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano’ was an idea conceived by director Shannon Swan over a long Italian lunch at producer Angelo Pricolo’s parent’s home. Angelo’s heritage provided the crucial link into the Italian world.

In 2009, Shannon, Angelo and producer Jason McFadyen began a search to find out who were the important players that lived and shaped Italian culture in 1950s Australia, conducting almost forty interviews. The result involved an afternoon of discussion and celebration over lunch in Lygon Street with prominent Italians, many of whom are now in their 70s and 80s. These lovable characters include Salvatore ‘Toto’ Della Bruna, who set up Australia’s first pizza house; Giancarlo Giusti who introduced boutique coffee roasting to Australia in the 60s and established Grinders Coffee House; and Ralph Bernardi, Melbourne’s first Italian Lord Mayor.

Shannon, Jason and Angelo Pricolo run Two Taps Productions and produced the documentary ‘Fighting the Dragon With Luck’ in 2008. The team wanted to make ‘Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano’ to share with audiences all the beautiful things that Italian culture has delivered to Australia. Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano is Shannon’s first feature length documentary as Director.

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