5000 km between USA and Mexico, between Canyons, deserts and Route 66. 800+ enthusiastic spectators. 13 Hollywood cinema screenings at the border wall. Many friends found and earned. Our tour of Hollywood, Arizona and Mexico to tell the story of Kino.
Viva Kino! is a 61-minute documentary film that tells of Father Eusebio Chini, who left Segno in Val di Non in the 17th century and arrived “in the Americas” as a scientist, geographer, founded missions and is recognized as the founder of Arizona. It is difficult to summarize the stature of this extraordinary Jesuit and difficult to translate him on the screen, a challenge that we wanted to take up with Aurora Vision. Aurora Vision is a company born 4 years ago to promote positive values, to give strong examples to young people, to bring a little hope where there is very little. After the preview in Trento in a full and enthusiastic cinema, the documentary film has begun its journey. We started from Trento in 3: me, my husband Alberto, singer and composer of the soundtrack and Andrea Morghen, the producer of the film. The Tour started in Los Angeles, Hollywood to be precise: 7 days of billboard with daily screenings at the independent Arena Cinelounge cinema, on Sunset Boulevard. On Thursday 15th March they surprised us with a warm Red Carpet and a well-wishers toast. In addition to personalities from the world of cinema, representatives of the Catholic Church and scholars, Leo Zamboni, president of the Circolo Trentino di California, spoke with his nephew. An intense embrace with Trentino overseas and the desire to be able to bring the story of Father Kino to all the States. A man from Trentino who, 350 years ago, arrived in the “new world”, made us meet in that cinema. Among others, the sociologist Charlie Barnao, for years based in Trento at Villa S. Ignazio and now at work at the University of Las Vegas, also spoke.
And a great historian of Tucson visibly moved added: “You have managed to express our true essence”.
We left California in the car heading east along the southernmost road of the United States, the one that runs along the border with Mexico, in order to be able to touch the places of Padre Kino, such as the crossing of the Rio Colorado, the road of Yuma and the Piniacate desert, even if only marginally. After many hours we arrived in Tucson and there we were welcomed like family by two of Father Kino’s fans, County Judge Carmen Dolny and Mark O’Hare. During the following day we felt privileged and took part in the Pa Wo, the Thohono O’ohdam indigenous dance contest. Then the documentary film was shown in Tucson, in front of two hundred people. We were somewhat afraid, because we presented “their” land, “their” history, with different eyes. During the screening there were people who stood up to applaud, and this was the first good sign. One of the protagonists was present, the ranchero writer Richard Collins who was seeing him for the first time. At the end he told us: “Thank you, you were able to get a true work of art out of so much crude”. And a great historian of Tucson visibly moved added: “You have managed to express our true essence”. A wonderful cake from Father Kino’s association, chaired by Rosy, refreshed us.
Magdalena de Kino is a special place, where the father’s tomb is located, and where an almost surreal calm reigns.
Sunday was the most emotionally intense presentation. The film talks a lot about the concept of the border, the wall, the migrants, so the projection in Nogales, right in front of the wall, had an important symbolic impact. Several rancheros and a nice group of students participated in the school of Our Lady of Lourdes: half from Arizona and half from Mexico, who cross the border every morning to go to school. Padre Kino came to our aid from heaven and on the morning of March 18 we crossed the border without any problem, still remembering the 8 hours in which we had been detained last year for filming. We were welcomed with great Mexican warmth in Magdalena de Kino by Raul Millàn of the Municipality. Magdalena de Kino is a special place, where the father’s tomb is located, and where an almost surreal calm reigns. We went to the square to recover from the trip and enjoy a taco and, as in the best films, we heard the radio: “Tonight don’t miss the screening of the film ¡Viva Kino! at the town hall, in the presence of Lia and Alberto Beltrami and Andrea Moghen ”. Given the large number of participants, Raul organized two screenings, one at 15 for the students in a very full room and one at 17.30 for the public. Meeting young people and finding them so charged and excited is always an unforgettable experience. We parted with the promise to meet again to celebrate the beatification of Father Kino (when it will be recognized in the Vatican).
The film talks a lot about the concept of the border, the wall, the migrants, so the projection in Nogales, right in front of the wall, had an important symbolic impact.
The journey continued towards Baia de Kino on the Sea of Cortez, a place so dear to our father Kino. A nice break and some sunshine to distract us from the long Trentino winter and new friends who are passionate about the history of Padre Kino. In the evening the most popular screening was in Hermosillo, organized at the Casa di Cultura Sonorense by Luis Salgado, another protagonist of the film. The cinema was full, Richard Collins from Arizona had also come and many of those interviewed, such as anthropologist Alejandro Aguilar Zeleny. The Mexican warmth was expressed at its best with an hour of debate after the screening and many photos, including the one with the large scout group in the name of Father Kino. We left Mexico reluctantly, hoping to find ourselves again. The last stop was a nice surprise in Phoenix, in a beautiful independent cinema with the best projector ever. Not indifferent details for those who do this job. The organizer was the unstoppable Monica Michelle who, with great professionalism, sold out a week before the screening. Alberto Beltrami introduced the film with some pieces of Italian music, warming the audience. Here too, in the end, there was no lack of questions and appreciation. To support the Tour we were able to count on the support of Vini Mas dei Chini, of VisitTrentino, of the Relais Piazza della Signoria in Florence and of Sicleri sportswear, AKU footwear. Before each screening we were able to present a trailer with the most beautiful images of our Trentino and Italy and the sponsors’ logos. Finally, the stop in Sedona could not be missed, where one of the best American guitarists, also of Italian origin, Anthony Mazzella, resides. Anthony had also come to Trentino several times to give concerts 15 years ago. Finding him more and more skilled and full of passion for his homeland has warmed our hearts. Padre Kino has truly made us richer, with many encounters, bonds, experiences… ¡Viva Kino!