EXCLUSIVE: John Turturro, nominated for the 2022 Emmy Awards (Breakup) came aboard the WWII documentary Potentially dangerous as executive producer. Director Zach Baliva’s feature debut will next screen at the Ferrara Film Festival in Italy on September 11.
Potentially dangerous uncovers 80-year-old secrets and shares untold stories about the Italian-American experience during World War II, when more than half a million of these immigrants were targeted as potentially dangerous by the US government.
During World War II, the US government restricted the actions and freedoms of over 600,000 Italian residents. All were declared “enemy aliens” and many were placed under curfew, banned from their workplaces, evacuated from their homes and communities, and sent to internment camps in Montana, Texas and elsewhere. Many of these individuals had been in the United States for decades, had children born in their adopted country, and had sons serving in the United States military.
At that time, Italians were the largest group of foreign-born people in the country. Interned Italians were not charged with a crime and were not allowed legal representation. They were subjected to “loyalty hearings” and detained for the duration of the war. The United States government considered them “potentially dangerous” based not on what they had done, but rather on where they were born. In the years following the war, most Italians refused to talk about what had happened to them. Even 80 years later, many have chosen to remain silent. So far. For the first time in cinema, their stories are about to be heard and the truth revealed.
Potentially dangerous was produced with a grant from the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Grant 2021. In partnership with the Italian Sons and Daughters of America and the National Italian American Foundation, the Russo Brothers Forum Grant awards several grants of $8,000 to filmmakers from around the world to create documentary, fiction or non-fiction films that explore the Italian-American experience for the benefit of future generations.
Zach Baliva, Noah Readhead and Naomi Baliva produced the film, which had its world premiere at the Boston Film Festival in April, and won its first Best Documentary award at the Little Rock Italian Film Festival the same month. Pic is currently seeking distribution.
“I’m so proud to give a voice to people who have had the courage to share their stories with us for the first time, and I’m grateful to have been selected by the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Fellowship to present this important story. and unheard of in our past,” Baliva said.Potentially dangerous reveals what happened to Italians in America during World War II and examines the lasting effects of these events on our culture. This story has modern implications on issues like immigration and justice, and it can help us learn to treat others with empathy and understanding.
“It’s an important and often overlooked time,” said Joe Russo, co-founder of Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Grant, whose action thriller The gray man directed with his brother Anthony Russo is currently climbing the ranks of Netflix’s most-watched films. “Our sincere thanks to the filmmakers for bringing this issue to light and preserving it for future generations.”
“Potentially dangerous is a critically important film that shines a light on a story that was nearly lost in the transience of history,” Turturro added. “As an Italian-American, I’m honored to help bring this film to a wide audience who will discover how the insightful questions it raises are still applicable today.”
Turturro is an actor, screenwriter, director and producer who is currently nominated for an Emmy for his role as Irving on Apple TV+. Breakuphaving already won for a guest role on Monk. The decorated actor has recently appeared in films like The Batman and The jesus rolls– the latter of which he also wrote and directed. Other recent TV credits include The Plot Against America and The night of.
Turturro is represented by UTA and attorney George Sheanshang. Watch the trailer for Potentially dangerous above.