Mag 7

A documentary film by Fabio Toncelli, “Ortona 1943: A Bloody Christmas”, produced by SD Cinematografica of Rome, has been nominated in the “History and Biography” section of the prestigious BANFF World Television Awards, the world’s leading TV documentary competition. A jury of 45 experts from all over the world has selected the film – produced by Roberto Dall’Angelo’s SD Cinematografica in co-production with Mediaset and German company ZDF Enterprises – as one of the six best history documentaries of 2008. It will now compete with five productions from America, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom. The winner will be announced during the festival to be held 7-10 June in Banff, Canada. The documentary, entirely shot in high definition, throws new light on the brutal and mysterious Battle of Ortona, which took place n Abruzzo during Christmas 1943 between Canadian forces and German paratroopers, the elite forces of the Wehrmacht. Based on the book “La Stalingrado d'Italia. Ortona 1943, una battaglia dimenticata” (Utet) by historian Marco Patricelli and using original and moving eyewitness accounts, as well as newly uncovered documents and contemporary footage, the film is a passionate but bitter account of the inevitable stupidity of war. Toncelli and Dall’Angelo, director and producer, have a number of important international successes to their credit, including “The Mystery of the Wolf”, produced for National Geographic in 2003, and “Flying over Everest”, from the following year, which won no less than 18 awards at the world’s leading festivals. Their most recent success, “The Sinking of the Andrea Doria”, was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2006 by American broadcaster PBS, which co-financed the project along with ZDF and RAI. Historical subjects continue to take pride of place among the projects SD Cinematografica is developing with Toncelli. A film on the Battle of Cassino, co-produced with RAI, is currently in post-production, and work has begun on an upcoming project on Mussolini’s liberation from the Gran Sasso.