Toronto based film director, Dale Hildebrand, directed and co-authored the heartwarming comedy Road to the Lemon Grove with actor Charly Chiarelli. The story is of an old-world deceased Sicilian father who tries to negotiate his way into heaven. However, 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 comedic, yet touching film exposes the loss of a culture and identity. Road to the Lemon Grove will resonate with anyone who has an immigrant story. New immigrants everywhere, have shared similar experiences — parents relied on their young children to translate for them; parents feared their children would lose their language and culture; and parents struggled 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 over home cooked meals, with a taste of the “old country.”
Hildebrand says, “There’s a lot of love stories out there. This film is about reconnecting the love between father and son, and recreating an appreciation. That sort of thing gets lost, and to be able to find that again is very important, as an individual and as a society.” He hopes that people leave the theatre with a renewed appreciation for family.
Starring in the film are first time film actor, 70-year-old Charly Chiarelli (Sicilian “Spalding Grey”), 79-year-old Burt Young (Rocky) and 71-year-old Nick Mancuso (Ticket to Heaven) along with Rossella Brescia (Italian TV star and Italy’s Prima Ballerina), Loreena McKennitt (Multi-Platinum Recording Artist) and Tomaso Sanelli (Titans, Cicada 3301).
Among the awards won by Road to the Lemon Grove, are Best Comedy Feature of Edmonton International Film Festival; 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.
Road to the Lemon Grove is opening in 16 cities across Canada on the LABOUR DAY WEEKEND, Friday, August 30, 2019.
You can also view the ‘sizzler’ at https://vimeo.com/263320354