Actors Niccolo Besio and Enzo Squillino Jr. pictured behind barbed wire on Peel promenade. Photography: Dave Armstrong
Adam Kempton is an Associate Producer and Writer for Hoofprint Productions working with Marco to make the film. Adam met Marco during a screen writing course that he was teaching and the two quickly began to develop the project.
Marco told me the story about his grandfather being interned here and he said that he’d like to write a script about it. It appealed to me because my own grandfather came here from Roumania as a refugee. I chipped in and started working on the script.
Centre: Marco Petrucco the project's Writer/Director and grandson of Sante Petrucco. Photography: Dave Armstrong
Adam has been involved with film for about 35 years starting as an actor and then moving up from there. He has worked with a lot of well known directors such as John Boorman, Alan Parker, Ridley Scott. He then moved into production and directed. He principally works now as a producer/writer.
I think there is a real appetite for the lesser known stories of the Second World War and there is a particular interest to those I have spoken to it in England. They’re so shocked to learn that we arrested more than twelve thousand people! I think a lot of people just don’t know about this aspect of the war.
The cast includes a mix of UK, Italian and Manx actors. Manx actors, Laura Gill, Gráinne Joughin and her daughter, Lowenna will all be featuring in the film. The central role of Sante is played by Italian actor, Niccolo Besio best known for his portrayal of Goffredo Borgia in the TV Show "Borgia". Other notable actors in the film include Enzo Squillino Jr., Carsten Hayes, and Marc Pickering.
Niccolo Besio in a scene with Lowenna Joughin.
Manx Actor, Laura Gill and Director, Marco Petrucco. Laura went to drama school with Marco and they both trained as actors together.
Brothers of Italy will be a short film of about twenty-five minutes and it is hoped that it will be shown at many short film festivals around the world including the Isle of Man Film Festival.
I was talking to Yvonne Cresswell at the Manx Museum and she was telling me how popular the Italian prisoners were with the farmers, the local people and especially the children. They made the children toys and they got on very well with the people living here. It was a very interesting social interaction which did not happen the other way around. In the German internee camps it was very segregated and the prisoners did not integrate at all. The guards were totally hostile to the British in prison.
On location on Peel Promenade.
The story of internment on the island is very interesting as it saw a real mix of prisoners who had vastly opposing beliefs and were expected to live together. Though there were some hard core Nazis, there were also many Germans interned on the island who were very much opposed to what was going on in their own country including a famous German artist, Kurt Schwitters played by Carsten Hayes.
That’s the irony of it and the irony of the whole thing and I think that’s why there was no trouble, no mutiny. We’ve had to introduce an unpleasant English military policeman played by Marc Pickering because we’ve got to have some kind of antagonism to make it a drama.
A guesthouse in Peel used to shoot some scenes for Brothers of Italy.
The film has been shot on location on the island. We visited the set whilst filming on a very wet and windy day on Peel promenade at one of the guesthouses that would have been used to house internees during the war.
I think there was no choice. Filming anywhere else wouldn’t have been the same. And we’ve had no antagonism from the people living here. Everyone has been very receptive and helpful whilst we’ve been filming.
Adam was the Drama Production Manager at the BBC where he wrote, directed and produced Drama for 10 years. He has also produced Hollywood blockbusters, most notably The Ninth Gate (Artisan Entertainment) directed by Roman Polanski and starring Johnny Depp.
Stay up to date with the project by following Hoofprint Productions on social media: