LYNN — Two local brothers got to see their film on the big screen right in their hometown.
Frank and Joe Ciota may have been raised in Lynn, but their film, “Ciao America,” focuses on their Italian roots. Based loosely on the life of Joe and his time as the first American football head coach in Italy, the movie focuses on an Italian American who travels to the motherland at the request of his late grandfather. While there, he finds work, love, and the true meaning behind the word family.
Joining director Frank and writer Joe at the Friday night Lynn Auditorium screening and Q&A were Roger Marino, “Ciao America” producer and first-generation Italian American from Revere, and Eddie Malavarca, the film’s main actor.
“The great thing about showing the film here is people coming into the city for it,” Frank said during the Q&A session. “What (Lynn Auditorium General Manager Jamie Marsh) is doing here at this auditorium is great, and I know he and the mayor have mentioned to me an interest in holding a film festival in Lynn.”
The movie night is part of Mayor Thomas M. McGee’s efforts in continuing to revitalize the city, and “Ciao America” is the second film to have been shown in the auditorium most notably known for concerts and live events. With beers from Lynn’s own Bent Water Brewing Company in their hands, the audience couldn’t keep from bursting with laughter throughout the film.
“It’s definitely strange to watch this film after all this time,” Frank said. “It’s a lot different seeing it after so many years but I think it’s even more significant now.”
In 2000, “Ciao America” was filmed in various Italian cities with a full summer for pre-production work and then 10 weeks of actual filming. Though Malavarca is from New York City, about 90 percent of the cast were Italian natives. The film was set to be released in 2001, but the Sept. 11 attacks put a huge delay on the movie’s debut.
“I remember one time we were filming in Naples and some kid broke into my trailer,” Malavarca said. “When I asked what he was doing he said he was just watching it for me.”
During filming, the young cast and crew stayed in the same hotel in Italy, which became one big party, according to both brothers.
Several audience members expressed their appreciation for the film.
“It’s a great movie on the big screen,” Marino said. “It’s really beautiful being able to watch it here.”