Revelstoke is in for a treat tonight when Italian documentary director Nicola Moruzzi visits for a screening of his award-winning documentary that follows the story of his grandfather Angelo Conte.
Conte immigrated to Canada from his home in Valstagna, Italy in 1913 in search of work, arriving first in Vancouver, then to Revelstoke in search of a job. He left his wife and young daughter behind.
He eventually found work on the construction of the Connaught Tunnel in Rogers Pass, where he was killed in a workplace accident in 1915.
The concept for the documentary started when director Nicola Moruzzi discovered a box of Conte’s love letters to his wife at his great-grandmother’s house. He set out on a mission to discover what happened to him and document the journey.
Click play below to see our interview with director Nicola Moruzzi and producer Leonardo Baraldi. Apologies, but we had a technical issue on this live video, so there’s a two-minute repeated section near the top.
The documentary is quite stunning, and has earned accolades in Italy. Moruzzi masterfully intersperses archival footage from the early 20th Century in B.C. and Revelstoke with landscape cinematography taken while visiting here to tell the story. It’s wrapped together with a lyrical, narrative style as Moruzzi and his then-girlfriend, now wife Irene Vecchio travel to Vancouver, then Revelstoke following the trail of his great-grandfather as he searched for work during very difficult financial times.
The editing is superb, as all the elements are crafted together. Local Parks Canada employee Claire Sieber is featured in a memorable montage. She takes the filmmakers to an abandoned work camp near Rogers Pass, where remnants from the camp like old boots and teapots are still visible. Claire describes the scene of the day as the documentary shows archival footage from the time. It’s one of many stunning montages that elicit a very emotional connection with the film.
The documentary, Revelstoke: A Kiss in the Wind, has been a critical success. At screenings in Italy, the film connected with the audience, many of whom have similar family stories of relatives who travelled to the new world for better lives.
Revelstoke, A Kiss in the Wind won the award for best documentary at the Milan Film Festival in 2015, and was also nominated for best documentary at the Italian national film awards in 2016.
Revelstoke is in the title and also features prominently in the film. The screening at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre is hosted by the Revelstoke Museum & Archives. Curator Cathy English features prominently in the film, helping the documentary maker discover historical documents that aided him on his journey of discovery.
Other locals helped him travel to the site of the work camp his grandfather was based in, and also on a journey to where he died in a work accident.
Revelstoke: A Kiss in the Wind plays at the Revelstoke Peforming Arts Centre on Friday, May 12, at 7 p.m. Get your tickets ($20) at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives or online at revelstokeartscouncil.com. Director Nicola Moruzzi will be available for a Q&A after the movie.
From left: Revelstoke a Kiss in the Wind producer Leonardo Baraldi, director Nicola Moruzzi, and Revelstoke Museum and Archives curator Cathy English take questions after the screening at the Revelstoke Rerforming Arts Centre this evening. The house was nearly full for this unique documentary from Italy that traced the directors great grandfathers death in the early 20th century to the Revelstoke area. For more see our story on www.revelstokemountaineer.com.