In Search of Fellini
20-year-old Lucy Cunningham has never kissed a boy, never had a job, and never really had friends. Her best — and perhaps only — friend is her mother Claire, who has shielded her from all the bad in the world, including Claire’s own terminal illness. Claire’s no-BS sister, Kerri, urges Claire to break her silence and tell Lucy the truth before it’s too late.
Lucy, aware that something is up with Mom, leaps into adulthood and her Vespa to Cleveland for an ill-fated job interview. There, she stumbles into a bizarre and wonderful festival of the films of Federico Fellini, the great Italian director, where she sees his Oscar-winning “La Strada” (1954) and is instantly swept away. But this movie doesn’t have the happy ending she’s used to, and the cleverly enigmatic tragicomedy leaves Lucy restless and aching for answers. In a burst of courage, she leaves her small-town home to find the filmmaker and unlock his mysterious enigma and her own.
What follows is a strange and spectacular journey through the romantic dreamscapes of Italy, as Lucy encounters not just characters from Fellini’s films, but the fantasies and nightmares that defined him. Her journey of discovery and life, counterpoints Claire’s gradual decline into death. Apart but connected, they fulfill both of their dreams as truth and fiction intertwine into the ultimate Felliniesque journey.
Directed by: Taron Lexton
Starring: Ksenia Solo, Maria Bello, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Written By: Nancy Cartwright, Peter Kjenaas
Executive Producers: Nancy Cartwright, Kevin Burke, Monika Bacardi, Andrea Iervolino
Producers: Peter Kjenaas, Monica Gil, Nathan Lorch, Milena Ferreira, Taron Lexton, Michael Doven
Production Services: Nicola Rosada, 360 Degrees Film
Runtime: 100 minutes
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|CAST AND CREW|
|Kerri||MARY LYNN RAJSKUB|
|Directed by||TARON LEXTON|
|Written by||NANCY CARTWRIGHT|
|Executive Producers||NANCY CARTWRIGHT|
|Production Services||NICOLA ROSADA/360 DEGREES FILM|
|Director of Photography||KEVIN GARRISON|
K. SPENCER JONES
|Production Designer||TODD JEFFERY|
In Search of Fellini has been a truly strange and wonderful project. I’ve always had a deep love for Italy and spent time there growing up. I always dreamed of finding an excuse to film there.
In 2014, when Nancy Cartwright sat me down over coffee and relayed her extraordinary true experiences pursuing Federico Fellini in her youth—which inspired her screenplay—I was electrified. Like most people, I had seen a few of Fellini’s films, but I seized this opportunity to watch every single one of them. I sought out every book, documentary and personal friend of Fellini that I could find. I began to discover the complex and fascinating world of Fellini himself and saw how strikingly it intertwined with Nancy’s own story.
As the cast began to assemble, including the brilliant trio of Ksenia Solo, Maria Bello and Mary Lynn Rajskub, each brought new layers of depth and richness to the film. The process was incredibly collaborative, and was an amazing evolution from Nancy’s original experience in 1985, to her one-woman show in 1995, to the screenplay in 2015, including the daily discoveries of filming in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
The film grew, steeped in authenticity and symbolism, a dreamscape of real Italian locations, true stories, fantasies and Fellini’s own films and pathos. It is a love letter to Italy, an homage to Fellini and an exploration of Nancy’s beautiful true story. At its core, it’s simply a story about growing up and about the thrilling and sometimes terrifying few inches between childhood and adulthood.
-Taron Lexton, Director