Devoti Tutti fonde animazione e cinema verité per tessere una storia di donne che cercano di superare il trauma della violenza sessuale.
Attraverso animazioni magico-realiste nello stile del chiaroscuro barocco, Devoti Tutti dona alla martire Sant'Agata di Catania una voce che non ha mai avuto. Con un coro di cittadini catanesi e storie di donne sopravvissute ad abusi e violenze di genere, Devoti Tutti mostra come la venerazione di una comunità per la sua santa celi una profonda misoginia. Nella sua cella Agata è in
compagnia di seni volanti, quegli stessi che i suoi aguzzini le hanno reciso, a ricordo della violenza subita, ma anche del suo rifiuto di sottomettersi al capriccio di un uomo. Con i suoi seni, Agata fugge dalla cella in cui è stata tenuta prigioniera per due millenni e vola oltre il mare, verso la propria autocreazione.
Devoti Tutti melds animation and cinema verité to weave a transcendent story about women who struggle to escape the trauma of sexual violence.
Through magical realist animations in the style of baroque chiaroscuro, Devoti Tutti returns to the martyred Saint Agatha of Catania a voice she never had. Alongside a chorus of the citizens of Catania and the stories of real abuse survivors, Devoti Tutti shows how a community’s reverence for its saint masks misogynist realities. In her cell Agatha is kept company by her breasts, which her tormenters severed from her body—a reminder of the violence she suffered, but also of her refusal to submit to a man’s desire. Together with the flying breasts, Agatha escapes from the chamber where she has been held prisoner for two millennia and flies out over the ocean and into her own self-creation.
Filmed in Catania, Sicily.
Copyright Waystone Productions LLC 2023
Through magical realist animations in the style of baroque chiaroscuro, Devoti Tutti returns to the martyred Saint Agatha of Catania a voice that she never had.
Every year, thousands of men flood the streets of Catania for a massive three-day celebration, stampeding to get a closer look at the bust that holds the spirit of Saint Agatha. The veneration of the men of Catania for their patron saint is strikingly devout—but also deeply ironic, because Agatha was a victim of sexual violence who was murdered almost 2000 years ago for refusing a powerful man’s advances. As Mariella, an emergency surgeon at the local hospital who deals constantly with the effects of violence against women, notes, it is only during the festival that the carnage diminishes. Maybe because the men are too busy with the festival, she says, but also because they are asking Agatha for forgiveness.
Using Agatha’s mythical story to tell the stories of real abuse survivors, Devoti Tutti shows how a community’s reverence for its saint masks the misogynistic realities of the lives of those women. Violence, as local women say in a therapy session in the film, is just as often psychological as it is physical. Animated by rotoscopy over live action, Agatha comes alive to guide us through the stages of recovery from sexual violence and trauma. In her cell Agatha is kept company by her breasts, which her tormenters severed from her body and which have now returned in the form of animated flying pets—a reminder of the violence she suffered, but also of her refusal to submit to a man’s desire.
Beyond the women we encounter the society around them: Monsignor Scionti, the official voice of the Catholic Church, who tells the canonical story of Agatha; a fisherman who tells us how his devotion to Agatha helped him survive the death of his son; the cloistered nuns who admire Agatha’s virginity and purity and consider themselves freer than the women who are “imprisoned” outside their walls; the street children of Catania’s roughest neighborhoods who marvel about the supposed romance between Agatha and her murderer; the devout fishermen who overflow with macho love and admiration for Agatha—but also a chorus of voices who criticize the failed opportunity to highlight the violence against women inherent in the Agatha myth: protesters from the poor neighborhoods of Catania who occupy the cathedral; a trans-woman who tells us that if Agatha were reborn she would come back as a man to educate men on how to honor women. Agatha even appears in the dreams of the citizens of Catania, offering them succor from their sorrows and losses, just as legend says she once used her veil to protect the city from the flaming lava flowing down Mount Etna’s flanks.
With a renewed voice—both literally in actor Donatella Finocchiaro’s voice and musically in the film’s original compositions—a visibly changed Agatha ascends above her own trauma, escapes from the chamber where she has been held prisoner for two millennia, and flies out over the ocean and into her own self-creation. With its intervention into a pagan and Christian story, Devoti Tutti reveals the patriarchal nature of a devotion that calls on women to forgive a violence that continues unabated to this day.
Sebbene il martirio di Sant’Agata sia avvenuto nel 251 d.C., la storia di quella violenza sessuale è modernissima e forse più urgente che mai ora che la campagna #metoo ha incoraggiato un più ampio pubblico a riflettere sulla violenza di genere. Attraverso Devoti Tutti ho voluto dare ad Agata, la donna sopravvissuta alla crudele tortura dell’amputazione dei seni, una voce e forma affinché potesse narrare il mito della propria vita: un mito che è stato raccontato per quasi duemila anni, sia dalla chiesa cattolica sia dalle tante versioni pagane che si sono diffuse di generazione in generazione, da pescatore a pescatore, da suora a suora. Ho unito la voce di Agata a quella di Angela, survivor catanese e madre single, una sorta di moderna Agata. Moltissime sono le donne che si confrontano con il trauma della violenza sessuale. Non volevo raccontare semplicemente la liberazione simbolica di Agata – che giunge infatti solo a chiusura del film. La realtà e la verità della violenza di genere è tale che solo pochissime donne riescono effettivamente a superarla e, come vediamo attraverso la storia di Vera, la cui figlia è stata uccisa in un brutale femminicidio, la maggior parte delle donne non supera mai il dolore della violenza né la perdita di una persona cara. Ho scelto il genere ibrido delle animazioni magico-realiste tramite rotoscopio al fine di mostrare che il processo di ripresa dall’abuso sessuale “potenzia le nostre ali” – come i seni volanti di Agata ci ricordano. Questo film desidera porsi come intervento femminista e personale: mia figlia ha interpretato Agata per il rotoscopio, e mio figlio ha interpretato San Pietro sulla vespa e ha composto una delle canzoni, e molti altri mi hanno aiutata a realizzare questo film, dallo splendido duo dei montatori Stefan Fauland, Austriaco, e Edoardo Morabito, Siciliano, all’incredibile attrice Donatella Finocchiaro, la cui bellissima voce catanese è stata essenziale per questo lavoro di dare vita ad Agata. Per il carattere di Agata, così come per la sindrome di Stoccolma che essa vive rinchiusa nella cella della Cattedrale, ho preso ispirazione dal fondamentale libro Trauma and Recovery di Judith Herman.
Although the martyrdom of Saint Agatha occurred in 251 A.D., this story of sexual violence is contemporary and perhaps more pressing than ever now that post #metoo we have started a conversation about the aftermaths of violence against women. Through Devoti Tutti I wanted to give Agatha, the survivor of cruel torture by breast amputation, her own voice, shape, and form, with which she could begin to narrate the myth of her own life: a myth that has been told for two-thousand years by the Catholic church alongside the many Pagan versions that have been disseminated from generation to generation, fisherman to fisherman, nun to nun. I merged Agatha’s voice with that of a survivor of sexual violence, Angela, a single mother whom I saw as a modern-day Agatha struggling in Catania. Innumerably more women must confront themselves with the trauma of sexual violence. My approach was not to simply show how Agatha could free herself, as I am only showing her symbolic liberation at the very end of the film. The reality and truth of sexual violence is such that only very few women manage to overcome it, and as we see through the story of Vera, a mother whose daughter was killed in a brutal feminicide, most people never overcome the grief of violence or loss of a loved one. I chose the hybrid genre of magic-realist rotoscope animations to show that the recovery from sexual abuse is “wing-empowering,” represented by Agatha's flying breasts. This film is a personal feminist intervention into the Agatha myth. I cast my daughter as the actress who was rotoscoped; my son played Saint Peter on the vespa and composed one of the songs, and many others helped me realize this film, from my brilliant duo of one Austrian and one Italian editor, Stefan Fauland and Edoardo Morabito, to the incredible actress Donatella Finocchiaro, whose beautiful Catanese voice is essential for this intervention of bringing Agatha to life. Agatha’s mindset and her Stockholm syndrome by being enclosed in the cell of the Cathedral was inspired by Judith Herman’s pivotal book, Trauma and Recovery.
Written, Directed and Produced by
Bernadette Wegenstein is an Austrian-born linguist, author and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker living in Baltimore. Her work brings together her feminist thought and her interest in human-centric storytelling. She studied semiotics at the DAMS at the University of Bologna, Medical Anthropology at the École des Hautes
Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and received her PhD in Linguistics from Vienna University. As a Post-Doc she studied Film at Stanford University.
Bernadette has produced and directed several feature-length and short documentaries, including the award-winning feature The Conductor (2021), which has been screened at more than fifty international festivals since its release at the Tribeca Film Festival, and had a theatrical release in North America and Taiwan. The Conductor has won five Best Documentary film awards including two Audience Awards and has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. Her film See You Soon Again about Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz living in Baltimore, which was co-produced
by the Austrian Film Board, came out with the Maryland Film Festival, and played on Austrian and German television. Her intimate breast cancer documentary, The Good Breast, premiered at the Geena Davis Gender Institute’s film festival at Bentonville.
Her documentary short, which she filmed during the pandemic in 2021, See Me: A Global Concert, won numerous awards among which Best Music Film, Best Musical Editing, and the Premio Speciale Rive Gauche at the 8° Firenze Film Corti Festival. She is currently in post-production with a music short about violinist Aiman Mussakhajayeva from Kazachstan, and in pre-production with The Archives and A Sweet Secret, a two-part film project about about the erasure of pre-Holocaust history, bringing back to the screen a forgotten Jewish comedy from 1920ies Vienna.
Bernadette is a professor of media studies at the Johns Hopkins University, where she directs the Center of Advanced Media Study. She is the author of several influential books in the field of feminist media studies with MIT Press, Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory, and The Cosmetic Gaze: Body Modification and the Construction of Beauty. Wegenstein is the editor of Reality Made Over: The Culture of Reality Television Makeover Shows, and most recently the anthology Radical Equalities: Global Feminist Filmmaking — together with Lauren Mushro. She is currently finishing a monograph on Jane Campion for the Philosophical Filmmaker Series from Bloomsbury Press.
Voice of Agatha
Dopo il liceo classico frequenta la Facoltà di Giurisprudenza dell'università di Catania. Inizia a
frequentare corsi di canto, danza e recitazione, scoprendo la sua passione per il teatro che la porta a Roma, dove continuerà a frequentare altri corsi fino al suo debutto nel 1996 al Teatro dell'Orologio: una parentesi che dura solo 6 mesi. Ritorna a Catania per finire gli esami e
laurearsi in Giurisprudenza nell'ottobre dello stesso anno. Durante la preparazione della tesi
partecipa ai provini per la scuola di recitazione del Teatro Stabile di Catania, dove viene ammessa poco dopo.
Dividendosi tra la pratica di avvocato e le lezioni di dizione, comincia a lavorare nel teatro e ad allontanarsi sempre più dalle aule giudiziarie. Nel 2001 si presenta ad un casting per il nuovo film di Roberta Torre, viene scelta e diventa la protagonista di Angela. Il film, dopo la partecipazione al Festival di Cannes, viene proiettato in numerosi festival internazionali, dove Donatella vince vari premi come miglior attrice.
La sua carriera prosegue lavorando al cinema con registi come Roberto Andò, Giuseppe Tornatore,Franco Battiato, Marco Bellocchio, Mimmo Calopresti, Edoardo Winspeare e ancora Roberta Torre, Emanuele Crialese e Pupi Avati,Marco Risi, Mario Martone, Emma Dante.
In teatro è diretta, tra gli altri, da Luca Ronconi, Gigi Dall'Aglio,Mario Missiroli, Roberto Andò,
Esordisce alla regia nel 2011 con il documentario Andata e Ritorno, presentato alla 68ª Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia nella sezione Controcampo Italiano. In teatro, sempre nel 2011, interpreta per la Rai il ruolo di Maria in Questi fantasmi! di Eduardo
Esordisce in televisione, nel 2013, nella trasmissione di Rai 1 Riusciranno i nostri eroi, al fianco di Max Giusti, Laura Chiatti.
Nel 2023 sarà protagonista con il ruolo di Giuseppina della serie I Leoni di Sicilia tratta dall’omonimo romanzo di Stefania Auci con la regia di Paolo Genovese.
After high school Donatella Finocchiaro attended the Faculty of Law of the University of Catania.
When she began taking singing, dancing, and acting courses, she discovered her passion for the
theater, which led her to Rome where continued to attend other courses until her debut in 1996 at the Teatro dell'Orologio. This parenthesis lasted only 6 months before she returned to Catania to finish her exams and graduate in Law in October of the same year. During the
preparation of her thesis, she auditioned for the acting school of the Teatro Stabile in Catania, where she was admitted shortly thereafter.
Dividing herself between the practice of a lawyer and elocution lessons, she began to work in the theater and to move away from the courtrooms. In 2001 Donatella auditioned for the leading role in Roberta Torre’s film, Angela (2002), and got the part. The film, after premiering
at Cannes Film Festival, was screened at numerous international festivals, where Donatella won
several awards for best actress.
In the following years, she worked on numerous films with directors such as Roberto Andò, Giuseppe Tornatore, Franco Battiato, Marco Bellocchio, Mimmo Calopresti, Edoardo Winspeare, Emanuele Crialese and Pupi Avati, Marco Risi, Mario Martone, Emma Dante, and
Roberta Torre for a second time.
As for Donatella’s work in theater, she has been directed by Luca Ronconi, Gigi Dall'Aglio, Mario Missiroli, Roberto Andò, and Mario Martone, among others.
In 2011 she made her directorial debut with the documentary Andata e Tornado, which premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in the Controcampo Italiano. Acting on stage again, also in 2011, she played the role of Maria for Rai in These ghosts! by Eduardo DeFilippo.
Donatella made her television debut in 2013, acting in Rai 1’s Our heroes will succeed alongside Max Giusti and Laura Chiatti.
In 2023 she will play the protagonist, Giuseppina, in a series directed by Paolo Genovese entitled The Lions of Sicily, based on the novel of the same name by Stefania Auci.
Adriana Copete is a mix media Animator with an MFA in Experimental Animation and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts. Her work intertwines digital media with traditional hand-drawn techniques, stop motion, and live performances to create visually evoking artwork.
Her creative process is driven by memory, oral narratives, and animated documentaries. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams on collaborative narrative films and documentaries, bringing her expertise in animation to various collective international projects.
She has also expanded her artistic reach beyond the screen, designing art direction for philharmonic tour performances, creating live dome video dance performances at the Vortex Dome in Los Angeles, and developing video installations for the Independence Museum of Colombia. She has had the opportunity to design and animate a 360 VR piece for the 200th anniversary of Javeriana University and an experimental Virtual reality project for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. As an arts integration consultant and animation/drawing educator, She has designed curriculums for high school and creative youth development centers, as well as conducted workshops at universities.
Stefan Fauland is a film editor living and working in Vienna, Austria. He studied Information Design and started out as an assistant editor working on documentary and feature films. Stefan teaches postproduction at the University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna. As his background in music also influences his editing, he loves playing the violin in various ensembles and orchestras.
His works include "The Conductor” a feature documentary about acclaimed conductor Marin Alsop by Bernadette Wegenstein, “Because they know what they doing” a feature documentary about Corona protests in Austria by Igor Hauzenberger, “Roads not taken” a short film by Kat Rohrer, “Omsch” a feature documentary about a 100-year old neighbour by Edgar Honetschläger.
Edoardo Morabito (Catania 12/02/1979) diplomato al CSC di Roma, lavora come montatore e regista. Nel 2013 vince il premio come Miglior Film al 31 TFF con il suo film I fantasmi di San Berillo. Come montatore di fiction e documentari ha montato, tra gli altri, Belluscone. Una storia siciliana, di Franco Maresco, Premio Speciale della Giuria alla Mostra del Cinema di Venezia, sezione Orizzonti, e del David di Donatello come Miglior Documentario Italiano. Sempre con Maresco ha montato Io sono Tony Scott e La mafia non è più quella di una volta, Premio della Giuria al Festival di Venezia 2019, selezione ufficiale. Il film Liberami di Federica di Giacomo, Miglior Film alla Mostra del Cinema di Venezia, sezione Orizzonti 2016. Insegna all’Accademia di Belle Arti e al Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.
Edoardo Morabito (Catania 02/12/1979) graduated from the CSC in Rome, and now works as an editor and director. In 2013 he won the Best Film award at the 31st TFF with his film The Ghosts of San Berillo. As a fiction and documentary editor he has edited, among others, Belluscone: A Sicilian story, by Franco Maresco, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival
Horizons section, as well as the David di Donatello for Best Italian Documentary. Also for Maresco he edited Io sono Tony Scott and The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used to Be, which won the Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival 2019 official selection. He also edited the film
Liberami, by Federica di Giacomo, which won Best Film at the Venice Film Festival in the Horizons section in 2016. He teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts and at the Experimental Center of Cinematography.
Allen Moore, a graduate of Harvard University, has been producing, directing, photographing and editing his own documentaries for more than 40 years. His independent films include: The Shepherds of Berneray; Black Water; A Sheepherder’s Homecoming and Albert Alcalay: Self Portraits. Among the honors awarded to Moore are several state artist fellowships, an NEA Media Arts Grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship in Filmmaking.
Moore has also served as a director of photography for several of Ken Burns’ films, including The Civil War; Thomas Jefferson; Lewis and Clark, The National Parks, The Vietnam War and Country Music. For his work on Baseball, Moore received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 1995 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography.
In addition, since the fall of 2004, Moore has served as a faculty member in the Film and Video Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), having been appointed to a full-time position in August, 2009. In
May of 2009, Moore was awarded a Trustee Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching Award from MICA.
Judith Benedikt studied cinematography under Christian Berger and editing at the University of Performing Arts in Vienna. During her time there she worked together with Christian Berger and the revolutionary Cine Light Reflect System. Since 2003 she has been working principally on documentaries such as Backstage Vienna State Opera (2019), Inland (2019), The Third Option (2017), FtWtF- Female To What the Fuck (2015), which have all been released theatrically and to large acclaim in Austria and Germany. In 2019 her photos of indigenous cows were published in the book “Die Kuh - Eine Hommage.” She released her own documentary with Weina Zhao, Weiyena: the Long March Home (2020).
Cinematographer: Animation Backplates
Two-time Emmy Award-winning DP John Benam brings extraordinary and important stories to the screen. In January 2020, his doc project, "Assassins" had its World Premiere at the Sundance film festival. His passion for diversity and social justice is evident in his critically acclaimed films. “Charm City,” which was shortlisted for the Oscars, earned worldwide theatrical release in 2018, revealing the complex world of community-police relations. That same year at the Sundance Film Festival, “This is Home” chronicled the plight of a Syrian refugee family as they navigate a new life in the United States.
As Director of Photography on Netflix’s 2017 Emmy-nominated series “The Keepers,” John created an authentic connection with the courageous survivors of abuse, who trusted him to help bring their truth to the screen. John works with National Geographic, HBO, PBS, and Oprah Winfrey's "OWN' and has a rich network of spirited collaborators and colleagues.
A lifelong resident of Maryland, John resides in Baltimore with his wife, Angela, and their two sons.