“Thanks Michele” – a short film from Italy that is an Oscar Qualifies

The Italian Cultural Institute, with the support of the Italian Consulate of Los Angeles and in collaboration with Leaps n Boundz, presented the short film “Thanks Michele” on December 5, coinciding with the International Day of People with Disability. The cinematic gem, directed by Rosario Errico and produced by Immagine Corporation in collaboration with RAI Cinema and the contributions of MIC, Nuovo Imaie, and Lazio Region, has garnered attention in Hollywood, with discussions about its qualification for the Oscar nominations.

At a special screening at the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, esteemed guests included influential professionals and stars. The event was graced by the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Emanuele Amendola, the Italian Consul General Raffaella Valentini, and a video message from the Minister of Disabilities, Hon. Alessandra Locatelli.

“Thanks, Michele” was conceived and written to shed light on the lives of people with disabilities, challenge retrograde concepts of discrimination, and celebrate their abilities, moral strength, purity, and support. The film, directed by Rosario Errico and executive produced by Antonella Salvucci, has received acclaim and multiple awards, including the Festival Tulipani di Seta Nera and the prestigious Golden Globe 2023 in Italy.

The plot revolves around Michele, a young man with Down syndrome, portrayed by Valerio Catoia, a swimmer of the Fiamme Gialle, named Standard Bearer of the Republic by President Sergio Mattarella. The co-protagonist, performed by actor and dancer Andrea Salcone, also has Down syndrome. The cast features renowned names such as Andrea Roncato, Antonella Ponziani, Luca Lionello, Massimiliano Buzzanca, Alessio Errico, and Kletia Rusi.

The technical cast boasts accomplished individuals, including director of photography Blasco Giurato, Oscar-winning for “Cinema Paradiso,” editor Ugo Rossi, set designer Alfonso Rastelli, costume designer Maria Fassari, and musician-composer Maria Chiara Casà, who created the evocative soundtrack.

In a world where individuals with disabilities often feel excluded, “Thanks Michele” portrays the story of Michele, a boy with Down syndrome, who, with his infectious positivity, transforms the lives of those around him. Michele’s friendship with Adriano, a paraplegic teenager, becomes the focal point of the narrative as Michele attempts to bring joy and love to Adriano’s life. The film explores themes of inclusivity, happiness, and the transformative power of positivity.