image by Paolo Marroni

image by Paolo Marroni

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Bobby Kennedy III filming "Ameriqua"

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Bobby Kennedy III at the Duomo

As we have mentioned in one or two articles over the summer, there has been a film crew here in Barga filming scenes for a film called Ameriqua. They were last here at the very start of the project, 50 days ago filming helicopter shots around the Duomo. Today they were back in the city and filming the very last frames of the film to be shot in Italy before the whole production moves out to New York.

Ameriqua is a new comedy written and performed by Bobby Kennedy III, carrying the sweet debauchery of the classic film American college to the jewel of Renaissance Bologna, Naples, Rome and of course right here in Barga.  When he studied in Bologna in 2005, Bobby met a stock of wild characters and weird situations. Amerique is the story of a recent graduate, Charlie (Bobby Kennedy), whose wealthy parents cut him off with a check for $5000 and an ultimatum to begin a life of independence and responsibility. Instead, he buys a plane ticket to Italy, was robbed on arrival and winds up in Bologna in the care of his new friend Lele (Lele Gabellone), self-proclaimed King of Bologna. There, LELE teaches him the subtle strategies that he knows so well, that is to hit on the Italian women, throwing all-night parties and general incitement to anarchy.  CHARLIE takes to it like a pro and in the process responds to the dangerously beautiful Valentina (Alessandra Mastronardi).

It may have been a simple story of cultural exchange if Charlie had not accidentally angered both ends of the Mafia, Don Ferracane (Giancarlo Giannini) and Don Farina (Ernesto Mahieux), in his wanderings. So what chance does a shy boy, who can not speak Italian and crashes with slovenly Italian party hounds, have against the dark forces of organized crime in Italy?

Amerique is produced by Mark Gualtieri and was  shot in Bologna, Naples, Rome, Barga and New York City.

Back in Barga a million years later… except from the Ameriqua blog
Well, it’s not a million years later, but it feels like it since our first day shooting in Barga, Tuscany on August 27. We find ourselves again in this hamlet 50 days later. On that distant day, we did aerial helicopter shots of Bobby in the vintage Alfa Romeo. Back then, the film stretched out ahead of us and now we look back on it. Tomorrow we shoot in Barga again on our last official day of shooting in Italy! From there, AmeriQua packs its bags for New York City.

But enough mushy nostalgia. Here’s a story. Today, some of us took the train from Naples and others drove. Daniele Gentili, one of our unit managers, drove one of the cars. About five kilometres outside of town, they realized that one of their tires had been slashed and was completely flat. They changed it with no problem, and were soon on their way. But why was it slashed? It’s a Neapolitan trick. You find a nice car, slash a tire and then wait for the owner to come. The owner turns on the car, drives for a few hundred meters and then stops because of the tire. At this point, the criminal has what he wants: a running, stopped car that he can hijack. Luckily, Daniele didn’t notice until they were outside of Naples!

IT’S A WRAP!!!!

image by Paolo Marroni

Today at 2:30 in the afternoon, Nicolas and Bobby made the last ciak. With that slapping sound, the filming of AmeriQua in Italy was finished. The location of the final ciak was outside the principal church of Barga, a stunning stone structure that presides majestically over the whole hamlet. Everyone cheered as champagne and cakes were brought forth. We toasted to the end of the filming in Italy and to the birthday of Carlo Paramidani, our first assistant director. Everyone hugged and gave their goodbyes. At the same time, the poor administrators received a tidal wave of receipts to reimburse – hey, it’s the last day!

But the action is not over yet. Not by a long shot. AmeriQua goes to America in a few weeks, and we’ll be shooting in The Big Apple. And do not fear, the blog is not going to die. Check here for all the unreleased behind the scenes content, news on the movie and updates on the various actors. How will AmeriQua fare at the film festivals? How will America receive the film once we start promoting it there? What is Bobby going to do, now that he doesn’t have to work six days a week, twelve hours a day? Will Lele run out of money and serve bagels again in Brooklyn at Atlas Cafe? How will the editing come together? Also, what are the juicy stories from Lele and Bobby’s time in Bologna that we don’t know?

We’ll bring you all this and more. Stay tuned, stay well and keep your eye on www.ameriqua.com.

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