Carol Forster column

La Zona Avvelenata.
La Zona Avvelenata.

I first mentioned Michele Alberto Chironi last year as an impressive young film-maker currently living and working in Lecce and caught up with him last week to find out what he’s been up to over the last year.

He’s been working on his latest film project, a horror/thriller called ‘La Zona Avvelenata’ (‘Poisoned Zone’) alongside colleagues Danilo Quilibrino, Angelo Tacente and Cristian Cuna.

Michele says: “I remember clearly, in the summer of 2011 I spoke with my brother about possible film projects.

“Initially our ideas were vague but we talked about filming in abandoned and derelict locations; of pollution and defacement.

“The idea to make a short with the title ‘La Zona Avvelenata’ (Poisoned Zone) became compelling.

“In fact the title idea came from David Cronenberg’s ‘La Zona Morta’ (‘The Dead Zone’).

“The title and theme of the film derived from my childhood experience of seeing signs on cultivated land saying, ‘Poisoned Zone’, to indicate pesticides, which had always appalled me.

“I used to think the signs were really there to keep people out or to ward off thieves.

“Then, it began to dawn on me what it was really about.

“So, for two years I’ve been working on this film project and obtained the funding to go ahead.

“The actors; the 1959 Volvo; the trailer; the old tobacco factory were all ready for filming so in June 2014 I was able to bring this project to fruition.

“I liked the idea of a comic strip approach, as this would create a new type of narrative.

“The protagonist who is terrorised by something (or perhaps poisoned) reacts ruthlessly against the contaminators.

“But behind this there is someone even more afraid who is watching and controlling everything ...”

Now finished, this short film will be shown at forthcoming Cinema Festivals.

Michele adds: “It’s been a great year and I’m very grateful to all who collaborated on this project.”

He jokes ominously: “I hope that as many people as possible become ‘poisoned’ by my film, though only in the sense that it highlights our darkest parts!”