2016 - color - B&W - 4:3 NTSC
Approx 70 min. Valid in all areas - english : stereo
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The Barese Icemen of New York
About the documentary and the material we found
Icemen of New York" follows the story of the Apulia (Italy) emigrants who landed in the United State with nothing, and yet from the 1920's to the 1960's, these people dominated the ice business in the state of New York. A business that, until the popularization of refrigerators, was very stable and booming.
How could these Apulian people (in the greater New York area generally referred to as "Barese") accomplish this feat without any financial means, without even knowing the language? And why were the "Barese", specifically, the ones that dominated this market?
Being "Barese" myself, I know that in Apulia has never been a real tradition of an ice business, so I was very curious to find out about the circumstances surrounding this oddity.
So, with the collaboration of the United Pugliesi Federation of New York and Tatiana Gelfand, I produced and directed this documentary.
We filmed over 180 hours of interviews. These include inteviews with historians, individuals who currently work in the ice business, and, of course, former icemen and their families.
We have also collected hundreds of images of Icemen, their tools, ice wagon, the tracks for transporting ice, ice boxes, vintage refrigerator, as well as old archival footage on the ice industry.
But above all, we have gathered many exciting stories about what it meant to be an Iceman during that period. This gave us a chance to explore some interesting themes, such as:
how the ice business was passed down from the Irish immigrants to the "Barese" and the relationship that existed between these two "ethnic" groups.
The legendary physical strength of the Icemen (we found a lot of evidence and an incredible photo).
How the Icemen lived during the Great Depression.
The mutual aid societies of that time.
The rumors that circulated regarding the Icemen and housewives.
These are some of the topics covered in the documentary, "The Barese Icemen of New York". The film run about 70 minutes.
June 5th, 2019, 7 - 8:45 p.m. - Projection organized by St. Nick’s Alliance - at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center
211 Ainslie St. - Brooklyn, NY (USA)
November 11th, 2017, 10:00 - 12:00 a.m. - Projection and dialogue with the director organized by Italian Genealogical Group
at the Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Avenue, Bethpage, NY (USA)
November 7th, 2017, 7 - 8:45 p.m. - Projection and dialogue with the director - organized by the Ethnographic film club
at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen (Scotland - UK)
February 22, 2017, 6 p.m.
Projection at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute - Queens College, 25 West 43rd St., - New York, NY (USA)
November 14th, 2015, 7 p.m.
Premiere Projection with the presence of the director, at the Westchester Italian Cultural Center, 1 Depot Square, Tuckahoe,
New York (USA).