March 4, 2015, New York, N.Y. – MY ITALIAN SECRET:
The Forgotten Heroes, directed
by Oscar®-nominated director Oren Jacoby and narrated by Isabella
Rossellini, will begin its national release with the U.S. theatrical
premiere on March 27 at the Cinema Village in New York and at the Laemmle Music
Hall in Los Angeles.
MY ITALIAN SECRET tells a
heroic story that was all but lost to history, until now. The film recounts how
WWII bicycling idol Gino Bartali, physician Giovanni Borromeo and other Italians worked
with Jewish leaders and high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church, risking their
lives by defying the Nazis to save thousands of Italy’s Jews. Their high-risk methods
were ingenious. Bartali, a Tour de
France champion, criss-crossed Northern Italy transporting fake identification
documents in the frame of his bicycle. A physician, Dr. Borromeo, invented a
fictitious disease to scare the SS away from the hospital where he was hiding
Jews. Others disguised Jewish girls and women as nuns and hid them in convents.
In this epic documentary, living characters return to Italy to reveal their
stories, and to thank those who were willing to sacrifice their own lives
to save strangers without ever seeking recognition or reward for their
director Oren Jacoby resurrects the dramatic story of this secret underground,
giving it the attention it so richly deserves.
The film draws from a vast archive of
rare documentary images that were recorded by Italians, Germans, Americans and
British during the war.
MY ITALIAN SECRET is a release
of the The Film Sales
To download press materials, visit: myitaliansecret.com/press
Press screeners available upon request
About the Film
A journey through time and memory, MY ITALIAN SECRET is the story of a few individuals who
risked their own lives to rescue innocent people, but serves as a prism to view
the larger untold story of many Italians who helped Jews during World War II. Though
more than seven thousand Italian Jews died in the Shoah, eighty percent of the
country’s Jewish population survived. MY ITALIAN SECRET presents living characters who were
children in Italy under Fascism, and who survived World War II thanks to
Italians, like Bartali, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to hide or help
strangers being pursued by the Nazis.
Gino Bartali is an Italian cycling legend
who won the Giro d’Italia three times (1936, 37, and 46) and the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948. But
Bartali’s most heroic deeds were never known during his lifetime. He risked his
life time and time again, transporting documents in his
bicycle frame to save Jews
threatened by extermination. As an entire continent was engulfed
in a genocide, which took the lives of most Jews in Nazi occupied Europe, more
than eighty percent of Italy’s Jews survived. Bartali, like most of the
rescuers, never sought recognition or reward. Few of those he helped knew his
name or what role he played in their rescue.
MY ITALIAN SECRET (US,
2014, 92 minutes) Directed by Oren Jacoby. Narrated by
Isabella Rossellini. Cinematographer: Bob Richman. Editor: Deborah Peretz. Consulting
Producer: Steven M. Engel.
Voice of Gino Bartali played by Robert Loggia. A release of
The Film Sales Company.
MY ITALIAN SECRET was funded by the Italy and the Holocaust Foundation, founded
in 2010 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The Foundation’s goal
is to tell stories of survival that were possible because people had the
courage to care for their neighbors. In sharing these little known
stories, the Foundation seeks to educate generations to come. For more
information, please visit: italyandtheholocaust.org
Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant, firstname.lastname@example.org, (917) 584–7846