Potentially Dangerous documentary explores little-known era when Italian Americans were “Enemy Aliens” during WWII. The Russo Brothers Film Forum grant recipient is coming to Kickstarter on May 11

May 06, 2021 950

It was once a crime to be Italian. That’s what Potentially Dangerous reveals. As America crept closer to its second World War, the U.S. government grew suspicious of some citizens based not on what they had done, but only where they were from. 

600,000 Italians and Italian Americans were persecuted during the war. Many were under curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. 10,000 were forced from their homes and businesses. Hundreds were placed in military camps without trial. Potentially Dangerous shares their stories.

“These events were traumatic,” says the film’s director, Zach Baliva. “Italians in America chose to forget their culture, and people in my generation feel the effects of that loss.” 

Baliva is a third-generation Italian who has lived and worked in both Hollywood and Italy. He hopes to revisit his great-grandfather’s hometown for the first time as part of Potentially Dangerous. He’s already interviewed several people including a 91-year-old man who remembers the night the police raided his home and confiscated his father’s radio. They had to register as Enemy Aliens and abandon a well-established family business. 

“If we get this project funded, we can tell more of their stories. When I connect with these people, I can hear in their voices what it meant to their families, and how it changed them,” Baliva says. “And also that double-effect of not having it known. And it doesn't have to be hidden anymore. We need to tell this story now while we still can.”

The documentary, which will feature leading historians, government officials, and first-person accounts, is launching a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter on May 11. 

Potentially Dangerous is part of the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum, an annual event created by Hollywood directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame) in partnership with the National Italian American Foundation and the Italian Sons and Daughters of America to support projects that highlight the Italian American experience. 

About Zach Baliva: Director Zach Baliva started his career on the hit NBC show ER at Warner Bros. and later produced My Name is Jerry, the independent film that gave this year's Academy Award Nominee Steven Yeun (Minari) his first on-screen role. He currently lives in California. 

About Noah Readhead: Cinematographer and co-producer Noah Readhead has worked for clients like Verizon and Sony, and produced the award-winning short documentary Always Coming Back. He currently lives in Chicago. 

Kickstarter Campaign Link: https://tinyurl.com/3xfnpmxw

For more information, contact Zach Baliva at 217-607-3276 or zachbaliva@gmail.com 

SOURCE: Zach Baliva

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