Mark Spano named 2020 Outstanding Italian-American in North Carolina

Sep 30, 2020 217

BY: Kim Weiss

The Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy, a member of the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America, has named author, filmmaker, and We The Italians contributor Mark Spano of Orange County, NC (USA) as its 2020 Outstanding Italian-American in North Carolina. The organization will present the award during its Annual Picnic and General Membership Meeting in Raleigh on October 11. 

"This is an unexpected and exciting honor," Spano said after receiving word of the award. "I am deeply grateful." The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Mark Spano has been a prolific and well-known member of North Carolina's film and television production community for many years. Over the last decade, he focused his talents and energy on his family's homeland as he wrote, directed, and produced "Sicily: Land of Love and Strife," a feature-length documentary. 

His goal, he said, is to introduce viewers to "the many facets of the island nation that are relatively unknown to the public: the natural beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights, and historic places." 

After its official premiere in Spano's hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, in April 2018, "Sicily: Land of Love and Strife" played to packed houses during an initial limited theatrical run in the U.S. and Canada. It was warmly received at the Toronto Italian Film Festival and has aired on select public television stations both here and in E.U. markets. (He discusses his documentary during an interview airing now on YouTube.) The film and companion book are available on Amazon

During the coronavirus quarantine, Spano has channeled his passion into producing a short video tribute entitled "Dreaming of Sicily." He is also working on a show about Sicilian wines. 

For more information about the 2020 Outstanding Italian-American in North Carolina and his work, visit MarkSpano.org

Sons & Daughters of Italy in America, the Triangle 

Established in 1905 as a mutual aid society for early Italian immigrants, the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) is the largest and longest-established national organization for people of Italian descent in the U.S. with over 600,000 members and 700 chapters coast to coast. 

Local Italian-Americans founded the Triangle chapter in 2004. Since then, the group has funded scholarships to support students studying the Italian language and conducted a series of programs designed to "celebrate and preserve our culture and heritage and to promote and enjoy the warm family relationships so many of us grew up with." For more information, visit trianglesonsofitaly.org.

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