This week’s Video Spotlight features the work of filmmakers Krista Lee Weller and Sharon Boeckle. The American duo and their team have spent several years documenting the challenges facing the Cinque Terre region of Italy.
This beautiful section of the Italian Riviera is known for its eponymous Cinque Terre or ‘Five Lands’ – five picturesque villages and the surrounding carefully-terraced farmland that have been insulated from outside influences for generations. This spectacular territory was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, but tourism has proven to be something of a poisoned chalice. The sudden inflow of visitors has placed major strain on the area’s infrastructure and the desire to capitalise has seen tension between developers and local residents grow.
It was the problems that these growing pains posed for the region that the Vendemmia documentary team set out to document when filming began in 2008. Then, unexpectedly, after the team wrapped up their filming in late 2010, a sudden series of events struck the area.
A scandal broke, revealing evidence of widespread political corruption, compounding the problems already facing Cinque Terre. Land deals and development projects that posed a threat to the area’s outstanding natural beauty and traditional ways of life were under way.
Local residents, already facing the challenge of coping with a booming tourist industry that threatened to destroy their livelihoods, were outraged at the extent to which the land which they called home was being exploited.
Further disaster came in the form of severe rainfall in October 2011. The extreme weather caused widespread flooding and mudslides, resulting in several deaths and major damage to two of Cinque Terre’s villages, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.
Knowing that they could not let these new problems go undocumented and compelled by their love of the region and its people, Weller and Boeckle realised that they would have to revisit major sections of their film if it was to achieve its objective of bringing awareness and support to Cinque Terre.
In order to finance the project, the team at Harvest Films Productions have opted to use kickstarter.com to raise the necessary funds. With nine days still to run, the project has already secured its ‘bare-bones’ funding package of $2,600, but additional support will contribute greatly to their ability to deliver an excellent and effective product.
We wish Weller, Boeckle and their team all the best for the project and join them in spreading the message about the importance of sustainability in tourism. The situation in Cinque Terre could apply to any number of other destinations.
Let’s not destroy what we’re trying to love.