Winner, Golden Bear, 2016 Berlin International Film Festival
Italian submission for 2016 Oscar – Best Foreign-Language Film

Gianfranco Rosi’s new award-winning documentary Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) will open on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox following its Canadian Premiere at TIFF 2016 in the Masters Programme. 

Familiar to audiences for his powerfully intimate documentaries, Rosi uses his skills of quiet observation to shine a unique perspective on the European refugee crisis in Fire at Sea. 

The fishermen of Lampedusa, an Italian island between the shores of North Africa and Sicily have looked for centuries to the sea for their livelihood.  But they now share the sea with a new and tragic bounty - migrants fleeing North Africa, heading for refuge in Europe.   Rosi lived in Lampedusa for a year, and spent two months on a coast guard rescue boat to learn the rhythms of this community whose citizens are bearing witness to the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our times.  At the same time Rosi’s film, which is commentary-free, describes how, even in the smallest of places, two worlds barely touch.
Poetic and raw, the story Rosi tells in Fire at Sea is captured through the eyes of Samuele, a typical 9-year-old boy who would rather be climbing rocks by the shore, and playing with his slingshot than going to school; and the island’s only doctor, and de facto coroner, Dr. Pietro Bartolo, a man whose compassion hasn’t wavered after 20 plus years of tending to boatloads of traumatized refugees. 

Gianfranco Rosi’s observations of everyday life bring us closer to this place that is as real as it is symbolic, and to the emotional world of some of its inhabitants who are exposed to a permanent state of emergency.  Fire at Sea is a lyrical, poetic, searing and powerful documentary that casts neither judgement nor aspersions, but simply shows this world to the viewer.

Gianfranco Rosi, filmmaker
Born in Asmara, Eritrea, Gianfranco Rosi is an Italian director, cinematographer, producer and screenwriter.  His film Sacro GRA (2013) won the Golden Lion at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.  It was the first documentary film to win the Golden Lion in history of the Venice film festival and the first Italian film to win in fifteen years.  Rosi’s El Sicario - Room 164 (2010), about a killer turned informer from the Mexican drug cartels won the Fipresci Award at the Venice International film Festival and the Doc/It prize as the best documentary of the year. It also won Best Film at DocLisboa in 2010 and at Doc Aviv in 2011.  His first documentary film, Boatman (1993), successfully screened at various international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Rosi is the only documentary filmmaker to win two top prizes at major European film festivals (Cannes, Berlin and Venice) and is currently the only filmmaker besides Michael Haneke to win two top European festival prizes in the 21st century.

Founded by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann (Grass, Comic Book Confidential, Altman) Films We Like is a boutique distributor of documentary, independent and international films in Canada. Recent releases include Force Majeure, Finding Vivian Maier, and the Academy Award-winner Ida.

Running time:  108 minutes
Italian with English subtitles

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Media Contact:
Virginia Kelly
V Kelly & Associates

TIFF Bell Lightbox (Toronto, ON) - Starts Friday, October 21, 2016
Hyland Cinema (London, ON) - Starts Friday, October 21, 2016
The Loft (Coburg, ON) - Starts Friday, October 21, 2016
Carbon Arc (Halifax, NS) - Saturday, October 22, 2016
Cinecenta (Vancouver, BC) - Starts Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Bytowne (Ottawa, ON) - Starts Thursday, November 10, 2016
The Vancity (Vancouver, BC) - Starts Friday, November 11, 2016
Shuswap Film Society - Film Circuit (Salmon Arm, BC) - Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Bookshelf Cinema (Guelph, ON) - Starts Thursday, November 24, 2016