Annigoni

Stephen Smith is the director, writer and a producer of Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist. He’s an award-winning filmmaker and photographer whose films have been shown worldwide and are placed in such collections as the Centre du George Pompidou – Paris and The Canadian High Commission, Canada House – London, England. Smith is a producer of the film Road to Castagno: A Renaissance Dream. Currently he’s working on: Lustron: An American Dream House and has recently completed a screenplay on the life of the world’s most beloved poet, Robert Burns. Smith’s been documenting city wildlife in the Humber river watershed for a soon to be released photo book.

Maestro Stefano Burbi composed and conducted the magical and award-winning musical score for Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist. Maestro Burbi is an accomplished musician who has a rich repertoire of original work that has been performed worldwide. “I first encountered Stefano Burbi’s music in Toronto when he was conducting the Canadian Chamber Academy in a performance dedicated to the restoration of Florence after a murderous terrorist explosion outside the Uffizi Gallery in 1992. I was extremely moved by the composition “Adagio Per Firenze.” Our ideas and personalities clicked and we soon became friends.” Stephen Smith

Burbi is also a true Florentine and a fan of Annigoni, so it seemed like meeting Stefano was divine inspiration. Our time together became a collaboration of a lifetime. I can not imagine the music being more “in tune” or sympathetic with the images in the film, and the ideas of Annigoni.

The music was recorded in the ancient mountain church of Sacra Famiglia, which is perched in Fiesole, overlooking Florence. Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci attempted his first flight on the mountain side beside the small church. Each evening with all the musicians packed into vehicles we climbed the meandering roads to the top of Fiesole. Under the direction of Maestro Burbi his  orchestra played without stop, sometimes into the early hours of the next day.

Maestro Stefano Burbi describes his work as, “music of memory and nostalgia, it is melancholic because we remember like Pietro Annigoni, a paradise that has been lost. I would like to leave the same impression, the same feeling, that was instilled in the work of Annigoni. That is, every person should leave something of worth to be remembered by and what they do in this life is not done in vain.”

 

The music has garnered critical acclaim as well as winning the “Best Musical Score” at the Toronto International Hot Docs Film Festival. Since completing the film, Mr. Burbi continues to compose, conduct and tour with his newly expanded orchestra, The Orchestra da Camera Nova Harmonia di Firenze.

Richard Bond was one of the driving forces behind getting this film off the ground and seeing it fly. As a Producer his commitment to this project was unfailing. As an editor he has seamlessly joined the many complex and disparate ideas and images. The film owes much to his creativity, spirit and generosity. Bond operates Artatak Films, a production company specializing in films on fine arts. Bond is the director of: Road to Castagno: A Renaissance Dream.

Amy C. Barnes together with Duilio Ringressi was our Italian Producers. Amy was a genuine gift to the production, it was through her herculean efforts that we secured the rights to photograph hundreds of paintings. Everything from the famous “war sketches” in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, to The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This was a long and grueling task as many of the paintings were in private hands, some had been lost, and some had never been photographed before. She also was able to gain access to sacred and previously unattainable locations, thus greatly enriching the production. It was Amy’s quiet determined resolve that gave us our most valuable asset, the works of Pietro Annigoni.

Amy Barnes is a producer and owner of Rainbow Films a production house located in the heart of Florence, it was founded in 1979.

Ilona Kauremszky was our Associate Producer and on location in Florence, Italy during the post production and music recording of the film. She was invaluable during the promotion phase, handling all the public relations, media scheduling, promotion and sales. She is a producer of mycompass.ca. Her writing and editorial services are available through this website.

Duilio Ringressi Over a period of four years on location, we spent over a year shooting in Tuscany, giving us the opportunity to scout our locations in detail and wait for the right light, day, and even the right season before exposing a shot. Since Florence plays such an important role in the life of Annigoni we wanted to make the city a changing character. The Director of Photography – Duilio Ringressi was inspired to try and capture “the spirit” of Annigoni’s “lost” Florence. His mission was to photograph his home town of Florence as never captured before. This meant at times, the near impossible task of photographing the bustling tourist mecca without people. These beautiful, surreal images came to represent the deserted Florence of Annigoni’s dreams.

The film’s visual poetry is born from these images and is due to the talent, patience and diligence of Duilio Ringressi. My dearest friend has since passed away. Duilio’s friendship, humor and intelligence will forever be missed by all those who knew and loved him.

Renato Cortesi From his first words, in a deep baritone resonating voice, scarred by cigarettes and stained by Chianti he says, “I signed my work using the cipher ‘C’ followed by three crosses representing the via cruicis, the hard road to the cross which the artist has to travel.” Pietro Annigoni’s words came alive. Cortesi the great actor, whose voice is famous and instantly recognizable throughout Italy, gave meaning and intimacy to the old artist. Indeed some people who knew Pietro Annigoni have sworn the voice was none other than Annigoni himself speaking from the grave.

Mr. Cortesi has a long and distinguished career as an actor. From 1968 to 1986 he voice dubbed six of Federico Fellini’s films. During this time, the actor acquired the trust and lasting friendship of the Maestro Fellini. Renato Cortese continues to perform in theater, radio and television.

Annigoni Biography

* Pietro Annigoni born on June 7, 1910 in Milan, Italy.

* As a child he shows early promise in drawing. His father said, “You will become a great artist.”

* 1925 – Family moves to Florence.

* 1927 – Enrolls in the Accademia de Bella Arti.

* Annigoni’s first love was art. In those days he was a “young man mad about drawing.”

* 1932 – First one man show of paintings and drawings at the Palazzo Ferroni, Florence

* 1934 – Sold out show in Galleria Botti – portraits of prominent Florentines.

* 1937 – Starts first major fresco – Convent of San Marco, Florence – “Descent from the Cross” and “Death of Abel.”

* Travels extensively throughout Italy and Europe.

* 1945 – Commissioned by the British Fine Arts Office to sketch the destruction of Florence.

* 1949 – Exhibits numerous self portraits in London at the Royal Academy where his work causes a stir among artists and art lovers.

* Mid 50’s – Starts commissions from notable society figures: Lord Moran; Juliana Forbes; The Duchess of Devonshire.

* 1956 – Commissioned to paint what became Annigoni’s most famous portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

* Receives an enormous amount of publicity worldwide. The portrait and Annigoni achieve tremendous fame.

* The portrait exploited on commonwealth currency and postage stamps around the world.

* Pietro Annigoni becomes world famous. He travels around the world.

* Paints the rich and famous – Margot Fonteyn; Princess Elena Corsini; Princess Margaret; Prince Philip; The Queen Mother; The Maharanee of Jaipur; John F. Kennedy; Pope John XXIII. etc.

* He uses his new found wealth to pursue his first love frescoes. He paints monumental religious narratives at:
Cathedral of San Antonio in Padua
San Michele Arcangelo in Ponte Buggianese
San Marco in Florence
San Martino in Castagno.

* Annigoni’s work hangs in:
The Vatican, Rome
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The National Portrait Gallery, London.

* Pietro Annigoni dies in Florence in 1988.

* 1992 Annigoni is given a state funeral and is interned to his final resting place in San Miniato overlooking his beloved Florence.

AWARDS & EVENTS

  • Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist won an Award of Merit at the 1996 Chicago International Film Festival in the Arts and Humanities category.
  • Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist was awarded The Best Musical Score at the 1996 Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival.
  • Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist had its World Premiere on October 23rd 1995, at the historic and largest movie theater in Toronto, The Bloor Cinema. It played to sold out houses during its week long run at the Bloo, and continued to be featured at repertory theaters for 10 years as well as being broadcast internationally.
  • The World Television Premiere was on BRAVO! television on March 3rd 1996.
  • Italian Theatrical Premiere in Florence Italy, July 1997.
  • Broadcast on TVO on the Masterworks series, in rotation from 1997 – 2006.

Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist

Digital Link – VODPrice: $9.95
This is the award-winning, critically acclaimed motion picture based on the life and times of the last century’s most famous portrait painter, Italian master Pietro Annigoni. “The 100 best movies you’ve never seen.” Richard Crouse. “Exquisite… a superb and memorable film.” The Globe & Mail,


DVDPrice: $25 – FREE SHIPPING in USA & Canada
Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist is the critically acclaimed arts documentary based on the life and times of the last century’s most famous portrait painter, Italian master Pietro Annigoni.  “amazing hours of televisual excellence.” Patrick Watson CBC.

For International orders additional shipping charges may apply.

MOVIE POSTERPrice: $39 – FREE SHIPPING in USA & Canada
Limited Edition Annigoni Movie Poster – size: 27″ X 40″  

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CD of MUSIC SOUNDTRACK – Price: $25 – FREE SHIPPING in USA & Canada  This original classical music score to Annigoni is sung in Latin and was the winner of the “Best Musical Score” at the Toronto International Hot Docs Film Festival. Composed and conducted by Stefano Burbi leading his Orchestra da Camera Nova Harmonia di Firenze to astonishing heights. Maestro Burbi describes his work as, “music of memory and nostalgia, it is melancholic because we remember, like Annigoni, a paradise lost.”

For International orders additional shipping charges may apply.

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