Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Indiegogo Project Needs Your Help to Save Italian Synagogue

With ‘Felice Nel Box’, Jewish-Italian filmmaker Ghila Valabrega hopes to tell her family’s history and save a UNESCO heritage synagogue

By: Zak Edwards

Published: April 30th, 2014 in Culture » Film » News

When most people put up a project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, they are trying to make their dreams come true. Whether it’s a new watch that receives text messages, a board game they made with their friends, or a movie they’ve had in their heads for the past few years. For Ghila Valabrega, though, crowdsourcing just her movie isn’t enough. She also wants to help her local community, and the world, by telling a curious part of her own family’s history.

Valabrega is from an important part of Italy, Sabbioneta, one that has enjoyed a unique history. The Jewish community was relatively safe and encouraged in this small part of Italy and managed to erect an impressive synagogue. The synagogue is now a UNESCO heritage site but faces some unique challenges: a recent earthquake has caused serious damage to the building that needs to be repaired.

Enter Valabrega, who hopes to use her moviemaking skills to profile her little part of Italy, make a movie about her family’s crazy history, and save the synagogue. A self-described realismo magico (Magic Realism) film, Valabrega’s whimsical tale already looks delightful from its trailer, which you can see right here:


I had a chance to talk with Ghila Valabrega about her film and the local synagogue, what she hopes the film will do and what this place of worship means for the worldwide Jewish community. Any and all donations can be made to her Indiegogo page here. Hurry, there isn’t much time left!

ShalomLife: What is the movie about?

Ghila Valabrega: The film in itself wants to tell two stories: one is personal, based on a real family tale; the other is to spot a light to the many Jewish-Italian communities that have been in Italy since the 1500’s.

Back in the early 1970’s, my dad, Stefano, was a young Jewish photographer always riding on his motorbike. One day, he found himself carrying out an assignment in Sabbioneta, the Idela City (1600) in northern Italy. As he was exploring the ancient city and its surroundings, he spotted the ruins of an abandoned Jewish cemetery.

Touched by the terrible state of the place, he instinctively decided to “steal” one of the tombstones and bring it back with him to Milan. He intended to preserve at least one piece of the once flourishing Jewish community of Sabbioneta. My dad did not know that by doing so he had awakened the ghost of Felice Leon Foà who, following his own tombstone, jumped on my dad’s motorbike and went back to Milan with him.

The tombstone ended up staying in our car box for over thirty long years, and so did Felice…until my mom, my sister, and I found him and decided to bring him home.


Continue Reading on Page 2

James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character TrendingJamie Geller And Tom Franz Explore The Bible’s Superfoods Jamie Geller And Tom Franz Explore The Bible’s Superfoods TrendingBreakthrough Jew – Nat Wolff Breakthrough Jew – Nat Wolff Trending
 

The Ten Best Deli’s in North America

September 19, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
The Ten Best Deli's in North America

Got a hankering for a smoked meat sandwich? Look no further

Read More

New Study Suggests Artificial Sweeteners Harmful For Diabetics

September 19, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
New Study Suggests Artificial Sweeteners Harmful For Diabetics

A new study From Israel cautions diabetics to think twice about sugar substitutes

Read More

Daniel Radcliffe Repays His Debt to Irish Football Team Two Years Later

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Daniel Radcliffe Repays His Debt to Irish Football Team Two Years Later

‘The F Word’ star paid back the cab fare he borrowed while partying with the team.

Read More

Seth Rogen Teams Up With Adam McKay and Ben Schwartz For New Film

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Seth Rogen Teams Up With Adam McKay and Ben Schwartz For New Film

The ‘This Is The End’ star will also be producing.

Read More

Joan Rivers Writes Forward For New Jewish Cookbook

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Joan Rivers Writes Forward For New Jewish Cookbook

The comedian contributed some Jewish jokes and sentiments for ‘Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food’

Read More

Robert Downey Jr. To Be Honored At Britannia Awards

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Robert Downey Jr. To Be Honored At Britannia Awards

The ‘Iron Man’ star will be joined by Mark Ruffalo, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, and others

Read More

James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character

The actor thinks that he’s very similar to the corn-rowed, gun-toting character from Harmony Korine’s film.

Read More

Jamie Geller And Tom Franz Explore The Bible’s Superfoods

September 19, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jamie Geller And Tom Franz Explore The Bible’s Superfoods

Two of Israel’s most renown Kosher chefs explore biblical foods in the City of David

Read More

More Headlines