“Better to die of cancer than of hunger,” are words you may well hear on Priolo beach in Sicily. In the shadows of the lovely city of Syracuse lies one of Europe’s largest petrochemical complexes. 70 years after the arrival of the first refineries, the area seems to have been abandoned to its fate as poison taints the sky, water and land. Woven around fragments supplied by residents who resist, are resigned or choose to look the other way, the film Toxicily sets out to tell the tale of a place sacrificed on the altar of progress, modernity and globalisation.
SCREENINGS & AWARDS
World Premiere: Festival dei Popoli 2023 – Italian Competition
- Special Mention for Best Editing at Festival dei Popoli 2023
Sobering, accurate and tragically poetic, Toxicily gets straight to the heart of the matter, exploring a health and environmental emergency which can no longer be ignored and which continues to claim victims against a backdrop of more or less generalised indifference. Paradoxical, wonderful but also terrifying, the Sicily depicted by the French-Italian directorial duo urges us to ask what our future will look like if we keep on refusing to open our eyes.Giorgia Del Don, Cineuropa
“stunning yet heartbreaking documentary” … “What is stunning about Toxicily is that while the subject matter is downright tragic, the way the film is shot and how its stories are told, is both visually stunning and emotionally relatable.”E. Nina Rothe
AUTHORS’ BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
François-Xavier Destors’s films explore the invisible side of mass crimes. His first feature-length documentary, Rwanda, la surface de réparation (86′, 2014) tells the story of this popular genocide through the social, political and cultural role of sport in Rwanda. Author of several historical documentaries (Les voix de Srebrenica, Paris une histoire capitale, Les Années 68…), he shot in the polar city of Norilsk, a former gulag transformed into a closed city forbidden to foreigners and controlled with an iron fist by the world’s leading producer of copper and nickel. Norilsk, l’étreinte de glace (2018) is a cinematic exploration of our ability to adapt to and survive the collective history of our industrial societies. François-Xavier Destors continues his cinematic exploration of sacrificed territories with Toxicily (2023) by lifting the veil on an ecocide at the gates of Europe.
Alfonso Pinto is a geographer and researcher. After a course of studies in cinema and visual cultures and later in history and geography, in 2016 he defended a doctoral thesis at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (France) on urban imaginaries in disaster cinema. From 2018 to 2022, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the École Urbaine de Lyon directing the images hub. His research invests the field of relations between human and social sciences and audiovisual practices and the topic of environmental and industrial catastrophes. He is the author of numerous scientific and popular publications and in 2021 he published the essay The Lighter of the Anthropocene. A brief history of industrial disaster. The film Toxicily is his first film experience.
Authors Alfonso Pinto, François-Xavier Destors
Direction François-Xavier Destors
Photography Jean-Gabriel Leynaud
Editing Matthieu Augustin
Music Jorge Arriagada, Danilo Romancino
Sound Sebastiano Caceffo
Sound editing Martin Dezelscaux
Producers Christilla Huillard-Kann, Chiara Andrich, Andrea Mura
Heads of production Corinne Delpech, Chiara Andrich
Production assistants Clarisse Belondrarde, Mavi Calcinotto, Gaia Vianello
Production company Elda Productions
Co-production Ginko Films
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
Eurimages, Centre National Du Cinema Et De L’image Animée, Dgca Del Mic, Region Hauts-De-France, Sicilia Film Commission, Rai Cinema, Bip Tv, Rsi Radio Televisione Svizzera, Procirep-Angoa, Cricd, Ecole Urbaine De Lyon
PRODUCER’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Christilla Huillard-Kann is the producer and co-founder of Elda Productions, a French production company of documentaries. Previously she served as the Deputy Director of New Medias and was in charge of editorial at Radio France, the major French Public Radio Station. She was the commissioning editor at ARTE FRANCE (documentaries department), producer and Head of documentary department at Image et Cie, a French production company (Lagardère Group) and journalist at France Inter, the major French Public Radio channel. Christilla also worked as a demographer at UNESCO and is co-founder of “l’air numérique”, an out-of-competition selection of digital works of the European First Film festival “Premiers Plans”. She holds a M. Philo in Demographics and Econometrics at SciencesPo and an MSc in Economics at the Institute for the Study of Economic and Social Development.
(Treviso 1982) She is an author and editor of documentary films. In 2013, she co-directed the documentary “Bring the sun home”(premiered at Locarno Film Festival) with Giovanni Pellegrini and in 2015 “Ali di tela” (premiered at Italian Film Festival de Annecy). She edited, selected films at the international festivals: “Soledad “by Ricardo Iscar, Tobia Scarpa “L’anima segreta delle cose” by Elia Romanelli, “Internat” by Maurilio Mangano, “Aquagranda crescendo” by Giovanni Pellegrini. She has been the artistic director at the Sole Luna Doc Film Festival since 2014.
(Cagliari, 1980) He directed various documentary films, short films, participating in international festivals. His work creates new perspectives and is inspired by social traditions that are contaminated by contemporary everyday life. He also conducts audiovisual language training activities through workshops in schools, at SPRAR centers and associations that deal with mental and social distress. He has been the creative director at the Sole Luna Doc Film Festival in Palermo and Treviso since 2014.
ELDA° productions is a production company created in 2015 by Christilla Huillard-Kann and Corinne Delpech in France; they both have a 20 years experience in cinema/TV/web production, share the same taste for innovation and the same involvement in the media and cultural sphere. ELDA° produces documentaries, original fiction series for TV and animated films as well as digital programs. Christilla and Corinne often and successfully worked with French and European coproducers, partners distributors, administrations (CNC, EEC Media Plan, Regional aid funds, Tax shelters systems, private foundations).
Ginko Film is a film and audiovisual production company based in Venice with a special focus on documentary cinema. The Ginko tree, an incredibly resistant plant that was able to survive the extinction of the dinosaurs and the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, inspires the name of the company. Ginko Film suggests that its films are like miniature Ginko trees, able to inspire us and resist the passing of time.