A coffee with Nino Chirco, independent film and music producer, who produced the film BRICIOLE SUL MARE directed by Walter Nestola, currently running for the David di Donatello award. How is our meeting with him born? Accidentally. He contacted us because he was impressed by our work on Socials and wanted to know if could have been achived to cooperate.
From there arose this interview that wants to be the story of a dream and the path that led to its realization. Two things, to skin (as they say) we were struck by Chirco. The smile and being “ahead” compared to the normality of people.
The smile is that of a person who, whatever argument you are dealing with, tells you “ok I listen to you and find a solution“. The smile of those people that if you had a bad day, they straighten it out for you. Yes, not only because they are kind or polite but with a smile they transmit calm and tranquility.
Being “ahead” because if someone thinks that a person class ’44 feels arrived and on the avenue of “I already know everything, what you want me to teach you”, with Nino Chirco he takes a slap on the teeth. Already. He is a curious person, attentive and adjourned on every subject. And if he doesn’t understand, he asks and you don’t have to explain things to him a second time. Let’s put it this way, he’s not afraid of the new. Also of all the technology that today accompanies our daily life.
I hope this interview can be a source of inspiration for someone.
This interview is published today one year after Nino Chirco’s death, as a tribute to a respectable person.
A dreamer who realized his goals one by one and always had new ones.
I expect you’re wondering why it was not published when Nino Chirco gave it to us and the reason is to support his request. He had a new project and he wanted us to publish it in conjunction with the beginning of the work, but… unfortunately, destiny got in the way and then we publish it now as a commemoration, I said before, of a good man. Perhaps this word can make someone smile, but believe me… being a decent person is the most difficult goal that an individual can achieve in the course of his life. The most difficult. He succeeded. Nothing else matters.
Another reason is that on May 14, 2019, in Crema, during the Shot Film Festival MEMORIA IN CORTO 2019 (dedicated to Nino Chirco) his latest short film will be screened: “Aggrappati a Me” (Hold on to me) directed by Luca Arcidiacono and with Walter Nestola.
Enjoy the reading.
Gabriella Ruggieri for 1blog4u
What was your course of study? Did you choose it or was it imposed on you?
Yes, it was my choice from all points of view.
There were 5 of us at home (6, one sister died as a child) and my father’s was the only salary, so he didn’t want me to continue my studies (we’re talking about middle schools), but to get me to work right away.
Fortunately I was helped by a person who followed me and understood my passion for studying, so I was able to continue and then enroll in accounting.
Did you choose accounting for passion or why did you think it was one of those diplomas that could give you more chances to find a job right away?
Pure passion for numbers.
As a boy, in my spare time, I went to a tailor’s shop to try to learn how to sew. At home there was a long tradition in this regard. My mother and my sisters were all seamstresses, so they tried to get me into this profession, but… I didn’t have the stuff, the skills. It wasn’t for me.
I also tried to learn how to be a carpenter, I liked it, but I immediately understood that it was not my aspiration.
I worked so hard in my studies and not to weigh on my family, during the holidays, instead of going to the beach, I worked in a big store of fabrics and accessories, helping them in accounting. What I earned I used to dress well, I always had to present myself always in order and to pay for my studies, my great passion.
What did you do after graduation? Did you immediately find a job related to your diploma or did you do others before finding the right one?
My father was the porter in the Cantine Florio establishment (famous all over the world for the production of Marsala dessert wine) and therefore we had the house inside the company.
As soon as I graduated I was hired by Florio as an accountant and stayed there for about 2 years.
Passion for study, for numbers, to pay one’s dues for not weighing on your own and immediately after graduation, work in a prestigious company. Why only for 2 years? Did you feel bad?
It is true, a lot of ranks, a lot of study and then employed as an accountant in a very important company. I remember that I graduated on July 23rd 1963 and on the 24th I was already in Florio.
Absolutely not, I didn’t feel bad, on the contrary…
I have always been treated very well, but I wanted to travel, to have new experiences, to see new things.
I was my father’s despair.
He could not understand the thing. Usually those who left were because they had no work and therefore they looked for new opportunities elsewhere. At the time, having a “permanent job” was like winning a lottery (editor’s note: even now!) So he couldn’t understand my desire.
I had participated in a competition at the Ministry of Finance, I won it and they transferred me to Crema, where I still live. Marsala is always in my heart, it is part of me, of my life, my soul. I go to Marsala very often. The film “Briciole sul Mare”, for example, was shot in part in Marsala.
Mine was and has always been the desire to travel, as I said before and live new experiences. Not an escape.
You arrived in Crema, you worked for the Public Administration and then you decided to start your own business and open an accountancy firm. Not many people they’ll do, to leave a job of this kind. How did this passage come about?
Yes, I worked in Public Administration for 17 years and then I set up an accountancy firm. The trigger was bureaucracy. Then as today, there was no dialogue with the tax payer and so I decided to put myself on the other side of the desk, on the citizen’s side. I had already enrolled in the Register of Accountants and in January 1983 I resigned and opened a studio in Crema. I must say that this choice has given me very big satisfactions. It may sound rhetorical, but feeling useful for something or someone makes you feel good. Never had regrets in this regard.
You practiced this activity until you retired, then left it to your sons. Was it a difficult passage?
No, absolutely. At 68 I left the business to my sons. One is accountant and so after 10 years working with me I passed the baton. I was lucky, it is not said and there is no writing anywhere that your sons must necessarily follow in your footsteps. In my case, you get to a certain state, so you have to leave the reins, pass the baton. You must leave them free to make mistakes and enjoy their successes.
That will be theirs, not mine.
I am very proud of my sons, I repeat, it is not said that everyone follows in the footsteps of the father or the family, but above all that they bring added value, in my case to say that I was lucky is to say the least. Of course, not because they continued in the office of accountants, but because they are good guys.
Speaking of reins, I know you love horses, you’ve had to do with horses, do you want to tell me more about this subject?
I was in the midst of my business as an accountant in 1990, and I was going through a very bad and painful moment from a personal and private point of view. On the one hand I had work, which supported me on the other side of friendly people who were close to me. Understanding that I was going through a very bad period, one day a friend, an entrepreneur, who had a breeding farm and also a horse stable, convinced me to accompany him to an auction. To get me out, distract and even see a different environment. There I saw this horse, it was called Humor del Rio and it was love at first sight.
The owner was also there and we decided to buy it. From a son, as I called him, they then became nine.
Then for logistical reasons, because I could no longer follow them, the team in the meantime from Crema had moved to Reggio Emilia, with pain, I stopped working, which in any case has always been a hobby, to which I dedicated my free time, to distract myself.
We were saying, you left the office of the accountant’s office to your sons, but… how does your being a film and music producer fit into all this? It is not that one in the morning gets up and says: “from today I am a producer…” How does it all start? What was the path?
Coincidences. Randomness. Some call it destiny…
Sometimes you meet people who only bring you disagreements, other times instead, from a chance encounter something beautiful can come about. Unimaginable.
I was in Sicily and a friend of mine, Alessandro La Vela, spoke very well of a girl, a singer, asking me if I was willing to meet her and hear her. She had already participated in the talent of Gerry Scotti “Io Canto” and I said yes. The rest is history, this singer is called Paola Gruppuso. But this is an example to understand the concept of randomness.
So you were born as a music producer, cinema came later… How did the idea for the film “Briciole sul Mare” come about?
Yes, the music came first, although very often things are closely related to each other. In my case, as I said, I produced the first CD by Paola Gruppuso called “Grazie in anticipo”, inside is the song “Il ragazzo che non c’è” written by Loriana Lana.
They introduced me to Loriana by phone, then I met her in person and involved me as a music publisher. Loriana Lana needs no introduction, she has a resume that deserves a bow, woman Wikipedia… in short, to understand that I had a musical talent in front of me is not that it required long meditations. I remember that it was a matter of setting a theatrical performance taken from Pirandello, I listened to the songs, one more beautiful than the other and there our friendship and collaboration was born.
At the premiere of the show, in Rome, I was introduced to Guido Cerniglia (voice actor, actor and screenwriter) and Walter Nestola (actor, singer and director), wonderful people. Really beautiful.
Here comes the cinema discourse, almost in symbiosis with music.
We started with a song “Maledetto treno” (Loriana Lana) and we decided to make a short film. With Walter Nestola and Guido Cerniglia who wrote the screenplay, it was shot in Sicily and I can say that this short film gave us great satisfaction. (TOLFA Film Festival, Civitavecchia International Film Festival and premiere at the Denver Sport Yacht Club in Boston).
One day I said to myself, since we shot a short film, with good results, why not make a film?
And since I’m a guy that if you put something in your head, do everything to reach it and get to the end, we started off on this adventure.
With a rather ridiculous budget and between friends and friendships, we managed to make the film “Briciole sul Mare”, with the participation of professional and non-professional actors. I am grateful to them all because they participated for free, only with a reimbursement of expenses. The real cost of the film was the editing and everything behind it, post production. The same Sergio Friscia, dear friend, participated for free, in friendship.
You have been asked to produce a short film, you are passionate about the idea and the results have been seen. Can we say that you already had a passion for cinema?
No, it would be wrong to say it. It is through music that I discovered cinema. Everything started with music. I remember when we started shooting the short film, seeing how a song turned into something visible… the shooting itself, the transformation step by step… here we say that in those moments the passion began.
Let’s return to the question, how was Briciole sul Mare born? I imagine that the dynamics and the difficulties are different compared to a short film.
Absolutely yes. When I was presented with the budget, I got scared. I am not a great entrepreneur, but since I liked the idea and I like to solve the problems that life can put before you, I accepted the challenge, even in this case.
And what happens next? Once the film is finished, what happens?
The real battle that sees me alone begins. Actors, screenwriters, director and the whole team have finished their task.
The producer must see how to carry the film around, how to distribute it, promote it. We begin to meet dozens of distributors. Do you have to be ready to hear you say “who is Nino Chirco”? In the cast there were no high-sounding or famous names (removed Sergio Friscia and Guido Cerniglia) so, many have twisted their noses. Others make you economically unacceptable proposals and so I said to myself “rather I distribute it myself”. So it was. Supported by a lawyer from Rome, from the sector, who put me in touch with the movie theaters and by Walter Nestola who as well as a director has become a dear friend and has worked in a thousand ways for the promotion of the film.
So this is the important ingredient for a musical or cinematographic production to be successful: distribution. How did you come to be a David di Donatello candidate?
Before arriving at the David di Donatello, which is undoubtedly an important goal, I must tell you that the satisfactions we received were enormous. Think, it all started with Paolo Mieli, to whom (thanks to Walter Nestola) we sent a copy of the film, which was kind enough to see the film and interviewed on Canale5, called it “a jewel of Italian comedy…”
Everything started from there. A magic. A real magic.
Everyone took an interest in the film. Cinemas, Rai3, Rete4, there is no broadcast where we were not invited. Think, some big producers have asked me: “but how much did Nino pay you to get this”? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Was Paolo Mieli your lucky charm?
The famous coincidences, as I said before.
When there was the premiere in Rome, Rai phoned me and told me that they were sending a crew to interview the public at the end of the screening… the shots were then used in the broadcast Cinematografo by Gigi Marzullo when they invited Walter Nestola and Lorena Noce.
It is all this set of things that led to the nomination for the David di Donatello.
Remaining on the subject, the most beautiful was when I received the call from the secretary of the David. I saw the prefix 06 and I didn’t want to answer. I thought it was one of the countless phone spam calls.
I replied by pure chance. On the other side of the thread I hear a voice that tells me: “here is the secretariat of the David di Donatello”…
and I: “no, thank you miss, I already have many encyclopedias. Thanks, bye bye”.
“No, wait, wait, aren’t you Mr. Nino Chirco? The producer of “Briciole sul mare”? Your film was selected for the David di Donatello… (“he also thought, this is stupid”)
and I: “Okay, send me an e-mail and explain to me what I have to do“.
I’m not telling you when I told my press officer and Walter Nestola about it… They are laughing again now.
I wanted to tell you this anecdote to make you understand how sometimes you share with wanting to create a project you believe in, but you don’t have the slightest idea of what lies ahead, what the future holds for you, the dynamics and the problems to it connected. The only thing you know is that you firmly believe in it and that you have to work hard and commit yourself and gradually it takes shape and takes shape, you get things that never, even in your most daring dreams, you would have thought could be verified. That could happen.
During the first part of your life journey, have you ever met someone who told you: why do you bother? Where do you think you’re going? Someone who got you demotivated? In general, I say…
Even at home, they see me so busy that they tell me “but… who makes you do it”, in the sense that you spend time on a project, making room for the family. When I go to Rome I am always around and they are themselves, but in an affective sense, telling me this phrase.
Joking aside, I remember two episodes, when I left the permanent position at Cantine Florio, my father’s perplexities and when I gave way to the Finance Intent to open my studio, the lecture of my former boss.
We say that the sentence was just this, “why do you bother? Where do you think you’re going?” but… I answered in both situations that I had confidence in my abilities and my strengths. If you are convinced of what you want to do, there is no criticism that holds. No one can demotivate you.
Was this also the case for the second part of your life? For the experience of music and film producer?
He laughs… well let’s say that in this phase of my life, more than anything else I found confirmation, people who told me: “do well! Rather than sitting in an armchair!”
So at this stage did you meet people who motivated you? Can we say so?
That’s right, probably because they see a man of a certain age and therefore don’t dare. (Smile…).
I’m joking, of course, in this second part of my life I’ve had the chance to meet young people, like Walter Nestola who is a dear friend and who, being young, motivate you, give you a job. Sometimes they tell me “we can’t keep up with you”.
Were there people who inspired you?
If you refer to the work of music and film producer, no. As I said before it is an adventure born almost by chance and that, like so many small pieces of a puzzle put together, have formed a beautiful picture.
As far as my previous work is concerned, one was the Plant Manager of Florio who in some ways mentored me and then, when I had moved to Crema, a friend of accountant. It was the latter that taught me so many things and that led me to open a studio, believing in my potential. It is not that one morning I got up and said to myself: “starting tomorrow I will leave my permanent position and open a studio and become an accountant”. It was an idea that slowly took shape and this could have happened because I had someone who mentored me or taught me or believed in me.
And outside of your circle? Was there anyone who impressed or inspired you?
Absolutely not outside. Well I admired the good people like Zoff and Scirea, in football, but not as a model of life.
Those that inspired or taught me I had close. At your fingertips if you can say so.
Future projects? Excluding the US tour and the David di Donatello nomination? Boil something in the pot?
Yes, I’d like to shoot an autobiographical film (or almost) not as a self-celebration, I look at it well, but because I’d like it if it was inspiring for someone. A bit like your interviews, which tell a dream or a realized project or a goal achieved. To shoot in Crema or Sicily. If they are roses they will bloom, but I’d love to do it, I’ve been thinking about it for a while.
Unwittingly you anticipated the final question of all our interviews. If a person comes to you, you drink coffee and say, “I want to realize this dream, what advice do you give me”? What do you answer?
Do not stop at the first station. It’s a way of saying, of course, but it means you can’t stop at the first hurdle. You must believe it. You must fight, today, more than ever in the artistic sector, it is not easy to navigate. However, it applies to every area.
If I see that one puts in front of the lament… if, but, perhaps, etc., I would immediately tell him to let it go.
The dream is that thing you think of in the morning as soon as you open your eyes and keep thinking about it all day, until you go to sleep.
The dream is that thing for which you fight, for which you put passion, heart and love. Many told me that they were convinced of something that I proposed for how I told it, when it was still on paper. Because looking at me, I was bursting with enthusiasm on all sides. Here’s what I mean by “believing”. Another thing that I think is fundamental, we need to surround ourselves with positive and proactive people.
If in the first part of your life you had not worked as an accountant, what other profession would you have chosen?
Ah, you tell me so? This is pure belief. Why?
The doctor is a profession that has always fascinated me, but not the surgeon, I’m not excited to see blood. When “Elisir” was on television, I always looked at it and continued to watch health programs.
But… I am absolutely happy with the choices I made. No regrets.
I want to tell you something. I went to the university, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, but for a variety of reasons, I did not graduate, although I only had 7 exams left. Giving my mother a regret that she cared so much.
But I have studied and deepened the same, the facts prove it. Over the years I acquitted myself, I realized that what defines you are the facts, not a piece of paper. I realized that if you have the opportunity to study, it is good to exploit it, get to the degree, also take two and even a Master’s degree, but… the facts are the most important thing. Many see the degree or the master as a point of arrival, I see it as a starting point. That’s why if a person tells me he couldn’t do something because he didn’t have the chance to study… I already took the picture with the whole book. It’s Mr. Excuse Ready.
Is there something you wanted to do and that didn’t work out?
Yes, I have it, thanks to the question, as politicians would say. (Smile).
I wanted to learn to play the piano. When I was little, in the Florio Cantine guesthouse there was a pianoforte and sometimes I played it, helped by the stickers that you attached to the keys. At the age of 63, 10 years ago, I bought a piano and for a certain period of time, three times a week, a teacher came home to give me lessons. It lasted a year and a half. Initially I blamed the master who hit me heavily, although I told him I didn’t want to become a concert performer. In reality there was no fabric and he, the piano, is in the room where I work and keeps me company.
Another unrealized dream?
Perhaps speaking fluently English. I get angry when I hear someone speak English and I send them back like cod.
I took lessons with a native speaker, but it ended up like studying piano. Ride. In the end it was she who learned Italian.
Memories of people dear to him, friends:
“Everyone can enroll in a school, attend courses, workshops, etc., but not everyone will be lucky enough to meet people who teach you how to face the days, here, I am one of those lucky ones, who have met a person, capable to teach, a Master: Nino Chirco, “life is a lost good if you did not live it as you would have wanted” he always said, or “for everything put us; Heart, Love and Passion” and then “make people laugh if they don’t want to laugh”.
I could tell you about the days I spent in Sicily, in Marsala, memories I remembered in the streets of Salento, then moving from Crema, Milan, Rome, to overseas, to Boston, etc., how many days I spent well, ideas, dreams, anecdotes, a film in your hands that begins by saying “Listen to this land as it breathe … listen to this silence… let the sea command you and then let the wind bring you… listen to the noise… join earth and sea, it seems like a dream, but it’s just yours life like that of so many crumbs that from the ground, fly, turn, blow on the sea”.
Then, a great desire, to make a film about the down syndrome, determined and persevering as always, on May 28, 2018 the filming of the last scene of the film ends, “Aggrappati A Me” (Hold on to me) directed and written by Luca Arcidiacono where I play a doctor. These days the film has been selected by the best national and international festivals, numerous interviews and awards, Nino from who knows where or around the corner, he will surely be laughing, happy with the result obtained.
To conclude a pill from the set: “Shortly before the end, in the silence of the set I listened to the unspoken words, that friend of mine, he laughed as always, while I was on a plane never seen before, he kept laughing, the silence was louder… it seemed all over, but a moment later, Luca, a strong pat on the back, then laughed and slipped into my doctor’s coat””
Walter Nestola for 1blog4u
“I will always remember Nino Chirco as a boy enthusiastic about the great Toy that he had given himself: the Cinema. He was always ready for any new experience and he dragged all those around him with him. I hardly heard him say the word “no”, for him everything had to be possible, everything he could achieve his dream, a generous and vital man who gave courage and confidence to those close to him, his sudden lack created how many of us had been lucky enough to work with him, a deep emptiness. We will always miss that sincere smile and that touch of goliardia that characterized him. Hello Nino and thanks”.
Guido Cerniglia for 1blog4u
“Ninuzzo was a good person, with the enthusiasm of a child at the playground, a good man who with his joy and sympathy infected everyone who had the luck and the great pleasure of knowing him. I had the honor of being his friend.
We had fun, we laughed like crazy and shared wonderful moments.
It was the only one who managed to convince me to sing with my voice, without imitating famous singers like I’ve always done on TV or in the theater.
He was so “crazy” that he produced my first (and I believe also unique) CD entitled “L’altro me”. A record I dedicated to my dad who unfortunately flew to the sky four years ago.
I am grateful to Ninuzzo for having transmitted and taught me so much.
It was like an older brother to me. And still today his wonderful family welcomes me as if I were one of the family.
Nino is there and will be there forever! I am sure that at this moment he will be laughing as only he could do. Heartfelt thanks, dear friend!
Thanks for everything, Ninuzzo!
ph. courtesy Nino Chirco and 1blog4u
thank you so much to Maria Elena Savini for the English traslation