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Syndicado Film Sales Picks Up Doc ‘The Gospel According to Ciretta’ Ahead of Thessaloniki World Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)

Toronto-based sales agent Syndicado Film Sales has acquired international rights to German director Caroline von der Tann’s Naples-set doc “The Gospel According to Ciretta” ahead of its world premiere at the Thessaloniki Intl. Documentary Film Festival.

In “The Gospel According to Ciretta,” the titular character, Ciretta, is a young petty crook and occasional male prostitute who is deeply religious and cocooned in a fantasy world of adoration for a beloved statue of the Madonna. “Blessed with an extraordinary voice and performing talent, Ciretta decides to organize a big procession for his beloved Madonna and starts raising money by singing and performing on the streets and selling lighters,” the doc’s provided synopsis reads. But devastating news arrives. His makeshift home in a temporarily closed down theater in the historic center of Naples has been sold, and its new owner wants to turn it into yet another bed and breakfast in the city’s historic center.

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In her director’s notes, von der Tann points out that Ciretta is very much a product of the social media generation and therefore during shooting ignored “the iron rule of not taking notice of the camera and happily addresses the director and camera operator directly through the lens.”

“While that could be a problem in a classic style documentary, in this case it consciously creates a new dynamic look that fits in with the social media era,” she adds. As for Naples, which is increasingly being depicted on the screen, the Southern Italian port city in this doc is “presented as a mystic fairy tale set between the real and the imagined,” says von der Tann, thus avoding the cliché image of Naples associated with gritty crime series “Gomorrah,” which is Italy’s biggest TV export. “Though that reality obviously exists, it has become too predominant in the narrative of Naples, neglecting the city’s “immense poetic and cultural quality,” the director says.

Naples-based von der Tann’s previous works comprise the 2013 doc “Were You the Last Man to See Hitler?,” an account of her stepfather’s experiences in the Third Reich, and, more recently, the eco-themed “Strife on Italian Beaches” which aired on ARTE.

“The Gospel According to Ciretta,” which will launch in Thessaloniki’s Open Horizons section, is produced by Antonella Di Nocera’s Naples-based Parallelo 41 Produzioni, which recently shepherded “Procida,” a collective work directed by young filmmakers supervised by Leonardo Di Costanzo (“The Inner Cage”) that bowed at Locarno last year. The indie shingle’s other productions comprise Agostino Ferrente and Giovanni Piperno’s “Le Cose Belle,” which launched from Venice Days, and Marcello Sannino’s “Rosa, Pietra Stella,” starring Ivana Lotito (“Gomorrah”) as a woman fighting for her and her daughter’s survival in Naples, which bowed at Rotterdam in 2020.

Watch the trailer for “The Gospel According to Ciretta” below.

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