Philanthropic filmmaker Lucia Mauro – Fra Noi



Lucia Mauro ardour for Italy and humanitarian causes shines via in her award-winning movies.

Some folks make a life in movie; others lead lives worthy of a movie. Lucia Mauro is a kind of uncommon people to whom each side of the cinematic coin apply. Mauro was a longtime Chicago-area author when she made her first foray into moviemaking with a 2007 screenplay. It led her to a significant crossroads professionally and personally, for as that mission ramped up, Mauro was stricken with ovarian most cancers.

Regardless of two recurrences, Mauro cast onward and upward with braveness and confidence. She transitioned to full-time filmmaking as a writer-director together with husband-producer Joe Orlandino in 2014, the identical yr they based a nonprofit movie manufacturing firm. They devoted In My Brother’s Sneakers Inc. to creating unique narrative and documentary movies about therapeutic, resilience and human connection. The company bears the title of a Mauro film that gained Finest Quick Movie on the 2015 Vatican Movie Pageant in Rome and was featured within the Cannes Movie Pageant’s Quick Movie Nook.

Lou&A spoke with Mauro about her artistry, charity, creativity, and love for Italy that has imbued her life and work.

Lou&A: Inform us about your Italian roots.

Lucia Mauro: My household ancestry is Sicilian — Palermo and Ragusa — on my father’s aspect and Polish on my mom’s aspect. Each had been born in Chicago, as I used to be. My father’s mother and father had been born in Italy, immigrated to Chicago, and met and married right here. I grew up on the Northwest Facet of Chicago. My husband, Joe Orlandino, grew up in Melrose Park. His grandparents emigrated from Calabria. Joe and I met in 1993 whereas I used to be protecting a narrative for Fra Noi. I wrote for Fra Noi from 1992 till 2005.

Lou&A: What about your upbringing stands out as pivotal concerning your careers as a author and filmmaker?

Mauro: My father, Frank Mauro, and my great-uncle Frank Puccio had been very influential in my life. Although born right here, my father nonetheless peppered his conversations with Sicilian and Italian phrases each time we visited my great-uncle. My father, who labored at Uniroyal Tires, drove me to all of my dance classes with out ever complaining, and although he was not a theater fan, he would typically be a part of me within the viewers at many theater performances.

As a toddler, I loved writing poems and brief tales. I studied ballet, piano, and was all the time concerned about theater, movie, visible artwork, literature and journey. My mother and father inspired me to pursue these pursuits. I went on to turn out to be a theater/dance critic, arts author, creator and photographer — disciplines that led me to filmmaking. Uncle Frank impressed me to review Italian, which I did in highschool and at Loyola College Chicago.

Lou&A: Loyola opened the door to a complete new world, didn’t it?

Mauro: Probably the most pivotal moments in my life was attending Loyola’s Rome Middle throughout my junior yr, 1985. I immersed myself within the Italian language, tradition, historical past and meals with the nation as my campus. Since then, I’ve been in a position to work and journey to all of the areas of Italy. In 2014, I shot a scene for my first movie, “In My Brother’s Sneakers,” on the entrance to the Rome Middle. I really feel like a part of my soul is in Italy.

Lou&A: How did you segue from author and journalist to filmmaker?

Mauro with husband-producer Joe Orlandino

Mauro: The catalyst got here in 2007 when my husband, Joe, inspired me to jot down a screenplay on Brazilian revolutionary Anita Garibaldi, the spouse of Italy’s “Hero of the Two Worlds,” Giuseppe Garibaldi. I wrote the primary draft in Palermo, the place mates allowed me to remain at one in every of their household’s residences. By 2010, we had been working with native theaters doing staged readings and beginning to fundraise. However in 2012, we halted the Garibaldi mission as a result of I hit a significant turning level in my life: I used to be recognized with ovarian most cancers. It was throughout my restoration from surgical procedure and chemo remedies that I made a decision to make the movie “In My Brother’s Sneakers.”

Lou&A: What impressed that movie?

Mauro: I used to be in Rome in 2009 on the obelisk in St. Peter’s Sq. and encountered a younger American man who was carrying sneakers virtually torn to shreds. He informed me that these had been his brother’s favourite sneakers and that his brother had all the time needed to backpack along with his mates in Italy. Sadly, his brother was a U.S. Marine who was killed in motion in Iraq, so this man determined to actually stroll in his brother’s sneakers to the locations he would’ve visited. This story so moved me that, 5 years later, I lastly turned it right into a narrative brief movie with actor Danny McCarthy as a person taking a therapeutic pilgrimage to Rome in his brother’s Marine desert boots.

“In My Brother’s Sneakers” is being proven to veterans and their households at schools and navy museums, with funds raised going towards PTSD sources. Joe and I additionally determined to create a nonprofit movie firm, as our objective from the start was to share our movies with communities and lift funds for nice causes.

Lou&A: You’ve been very busy during the last two years. Inform us what you’ve been as much as on the cinematic entrance.

Mauro: “Voci del diario” (Entries) is an unique narrative brief movie that I wrote and directed. Impressed by Joe’s lifelong conserving of journals, it follows one man and his journal entries via 4 phases of his life: childhood, youth, center age and senior years. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “I Have a Title” is a documentary that goals to place a respectful face on these experiencing homelessness and want in Chicago. We went into manufacturing by October 2019 and accomplished the movie over the summer season.

I’m at present centered on a brand new documentary, “The Loneliest Highway,” impressed by Silvio Manno’s ebook, “Charcoal and Blood: Italian Immigrants in Eureka, Nevada, and the Fish Creek Bloodbath.” It chronicles a virtually unknown bloodbath of hanging Italian immigrant charcoal burners in 1879, throughout the early days of mining within the American West.

Lou&A: You’ve traveled throughout Italy, and your ardour for the tradition and nation reveals in your work. Why do you suppose that’s?

Mauro: I consider we’re all on our personal path in life. We meet folks, and so they meet us at totally different factors in our lives — and even when we’re not in one another’s lives, we’ve one way or the other moved one another ahead alongside our particular person paths.

We didn’t journey a lot once I was a toddler, aside from Disneyland. As soon as I acquired older, and particularly spurred on by my experiences at Loyola’s Rome Middle, I had a terrific need to see the world and meet folks from totally different cultures — and most positively from all components of Italy. I credit score Fra Noi with permitting me to discover Italy and write about my experiences.

To be taught extra concerning the movies of Lucia Mauro, go to

The above seems within the January 2021 situation of the print model of Fra Noi. Our beautiful, month-to-month journal incorporates a veritable feast of stories and views, profiles and options, leisure and tradition. To subscribe, click here.



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