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Jonas Carpignano
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Jonas Carpignano © Rene Volfik - Fotvolfik
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Jonas Carpignano received support from Aide aux Cinémas du Monde for his film "A Chiara"

A migrant is not an outsider, an Other who is feared or celebrated according to ideological allegiance, but an increasingly essential component of the global world.

Since his earliest work, the Italian-American neo-realist director Jonas Carpignano has cultivated a powerful style of film making that borders on the documentary. Drawing on his own experience while keenly observing a world in motion, he focuses on the thorny issue of immigration in Italy. 

He received support from Aide aux Cinémas du Monde, co-managed by the Institut français and the Centre National du Cinéma, for his latest film, A Chiara

Updated on 19/04/2022

5 min

Born in New York on 16 January 1984, Jonas Carpignano split his time between the United States and Italy for many years before settling in Gioia Tauro, Calabria. He made a name for himself at key festivals from his first short films, winning several trophies for his entries. In 2011, he won the Best Student Short Award at Woodstock Film Festival for Bayou Black, with another award the following year at the Mostra de Venise for A Chjàna. Three years later, his fifth short film, A Ciambra, won over Cannes Festival, where he won the Sony CineAlta Discovery Prize. 

In 2015, he returned to the Croisette for his first feature film, Mediterranea, which he presented at the Semaine de la Critique, marking the definitive start of a close relationship with Cannes Festival. For his second feature project, he adapted his short A Ciambra in 2017 and presented the film at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, before winning the Europa Cinemas Label. In 2021, he won the award again for his third film, A Chiara, which he once again wrote and directed. 

Right from his earliest projects, Carpignano has explored the stories of immigrants in Italy, injecting snippets of his own experience. With his three feature films, Mediterranea, A Ciambra and A Chiara, the director has created a trilogy around his town, Gioia Tauro in Calabria (Italy), from which to tackle race issues in the country. With his keen, hard-hitting perspective on our society, he reveals an unsettled community where each person has to gradually find their place in a new world. 

An admirer of films by Luchino Visconti, Andrea Arnold and Matteo Garrone, Carpignano works mainly with amateur and local actors who he films for several years, following their progress. With each film, the director seeks to strengthen ties and delve deeper into his exploration of their lives and hopes. With a style that is raw and realist in equal measure, his work teeters between documentary and fiction, offering up fully-formed characters that come alive on screen. 

Having become one of the regular directors at Cannes Festival since his first selection in 2015 for A Ciambra, Carpignano has received a host of prizes from other prestigious festivals. In 2017, his adaptation of short A Ciambra ended up being co-produced by Martin Scorsese. The following year, the filmmaker was decorated in his own country by the equivalent of the Italian Oscars, the David di Donatello awards, where he won the coveted Best Director prize for A Ciambra. Having been chosen to represent Italy at the Oscars, the film was not nominated, although Carpignano did end up on the Best Director shortlist at the Independent Spirit Awards that same year. 

In 2021, the final element of his trilogy, A Chiara, won him the Europa Cinemas Label, with the jury praising his innovative approach to what is already a crowded genre in film. At the start of 2022, Neon chose to acquire the film for distribution in North America. 

A CHIARA - bande annonce VOSTF
A CHIARA - bande annonce VOSTF
  • 2015

    2015

    Carpignano’s fifth short, A Ciambra, is awarded the Sony CineAlta Discovery Prize at Cannes Film Festival.

  • 2017

    2017

    He adapts his short A Ciambra into a feature and wins the Europa Cinemas Label.

  • 2018

    2018

    Carpignano wins the David di Donatello Best Director award.

  • 2021

    2021

    He ends his trilogy on Gioia Tauro with A Chiara, for which he once again wins the Europa Cinemas Label.

The Institut français and the work

Jonas Carpignano benefited from the support of the Aide aux cinémas du monde fund, co-managed by the Institut français and the Centre National du Cinéma, for A Chiara

The Aide aux Cinémas du monde is a selective fund reserved for projects involving feature films, animated films and creative documentaries aiming to be screened for the first time in cinemas. 

Find out more about the Aide aux cinémas du monde 

L'institut français, LAB