Road to the Lemon Grove

What is a better vehicle to promote a rich culture than a compelling movie? Road to the Lemon Grove is exactly that movie. It is a stalwart film that makes every Italian proud of their rich heritage and prompts viewers not only to keep their Italian culture alive, but to make it thrive.
Directed by Dale Hildebrand and co-authored by Dale Hildebrand and Charly Chiarelli, the heartwarming comedy appeals to the soul of what it means to be Italian. Road to the Lemon Grove speaks to the immigrant experience like no other movie ever has or perhaps ever will.
In the movie, an old-world deceased Sicilian father tries to negotiate his way into heaven. But God won’t allow him into heaven until he repairs his relationship with his son, and gets his son to reunite two family factions that have been in a bitter fight over a lemon grove. The audience is reminded of the importance of reconnecting with our roots to better understand who we are, as is demonstrated by the poignant, and sometimes sharp moments between the deceased father, Antonio and his son Calogero, a linguistic professor. The comedic, yet touching film exposes the all too familiar loss of culture and identity. Road to the Lemon Grove will touch the heart and soul of any one with a multi generational or a recent immigrant story.
Road to the Lemon Grove resonates with mature audiences who have their own stories of immigration, unresolved family issues, and love found in unexpected places. While family stories have often told of the discriminating pain experienced by new immigrants, Hildebrand has turned the challenges into gentle comedic moments such as when young Calogero played by Tomaso Sanelli, reads the sign Workmen’s Compensation Board as saying, “Workmen’s Constipation Board”. The dialogue in the film is generously laced with Italian phrases and at times sub-titles are incorporated to ensure the English speaking audience is not left out of the conversation. The movie is modern and the language is testimony to how the language was brought to Canada after the war and maintained like a time-capsule. The director has incorporated the concerns of every newly immigrated family to Canada – parental fear that their children would lose their language and culture; mothers and fathers struggling to understand their children who adopted the culture of their new home. Yet, no matter how long ago their family immigrated, they continue to gather and tell stories over home cooked pasta and red wine, all flavoured by memories of the “old country.”
No movie is complete without a love interest. The story is about the love of a father and son; love of the home country and all that it represents; and Calogero’s love that he has worshipped from afar – none other than the famous Maria Miosogno played by the equally famous Italian radio and TV superstar, model and Italy’s prima ballerina, Rossella Brescia.
Starring in the film are first time film actor, Charly Chiarelli (Sicilian “Spalding Grey”), Burt Young (Rocky) and Nick Mancuso (Ticket to Heaven), Rossella Brescia (Italian TV/radio star and Italy’s Prima Ballerina), Loreena McKennitt (Multi-Platinum Recording Artist) and Tomaso Sanelli (Titans, Cicada 3301).
Road to the Lemon Grove has won numerous awards. It is particularly noteworthy that the movie won the Cirs Award at the Taormina Film Festival for Best in Cultural and Social Achievement in Sicily; the Best in Italian-Canadian Cinema at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival; and the Excellence in Performance Award at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival. It also won the Best Comedy Feature of Edmonton International Film Festival.
Road to the Lemon Grove is opening in 16 cities across Canada on the LABOUR DAY WEEKEND, Friday, August 30, 2019.
Yonge & Dundas – Toronto, Ontario
Cineplex Vaughan – Vaughan, Ontario
Winston Churchill 24 – Oakville/Mississauga, Ontario
Silver City – Richmond Hill, Ontario
Silver City – Hamilton, Ontario
Silver City – Windsor, Ontario
Silver City – London, Ontario
Galaxy – Cambridge, Ontario
Gloucester – Ottawa, Ontario
Polo Park/Scotiabank – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Chinook – Calgary, Alberta
South Edmonton – Edmonton, Alberta
International Village – Vancouver, BC
Riverport – Richmond, BC
Forum – Montreal, Quebec
Cineplex – Laval, Quebec
Although the film has an Italian setting and there is a built in audience in the Italian community, it has been likened to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and people of all cultural backgrounds are identifying with the story. It has been referred to as My Big Fat Italian Funeral.

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