Filming Italy

Visioni dal Mondo 2020, Milan

The documentary Paperman – Beyond Boundaries produced by Metropolis Produzioni and directed by Domenico Zazzara, has been selected for the official competiton at the Documentary Festival Visioni dal Mondo in Milan.

In its sixth edition, the festival offers an entirely online format broadcasting from September 17th to 21st 2020. Anyone can register and watch the films for free.

Paperman – Beyond Boundaries takes its name from the giant sculpture built over the course of 5 weeks in Lucca out of cardboard and paper by British artist James Lake. Already widely respected for his cardboard sculptures, the artist had been invited by the organizers of the Cartasia-Lucca Biennale in 2018 to build Paperman and exhibit it outside in Piazza San Frediano. The documentary retraces Lake on his journey from Devon to Lucca and the creation of Paperman, how the materials were chosen at the paper mill, the meetings with city officials, setting up the workshop at the Cavallerizza in Lucca, the challenge of building a 3m high sculpture in cardboard and then setting it up outside in Piazza San Frediano.

But the documentary goes further and takes us into the life of Lake, now 44, who at the age of 17 was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to undergo amputation of his right leg. For months he was immobile, confined to his bedroom. It was during those dark times that he came to the realization that he wanted to be an artist and that he had to find a medium light enough for him to sculpt. And so he developed his unique technique with paper and cardboard, making sculptures of rare beauty and expressivity. “Lake's is the story of a person who did not give up and was not crushed by the events that overwhelmed him. It is a very fascinating parable on the therapeutic value of art and creativity, " comments Domenico Zazzara, the director of Paperman – Beyond Boundaries.

The documentary was supported by the Toscana Film Commission as part of the Programma Sensi Contemporanei Toscana per Il Cinema.

Marinella Nicolson is a freelance television production manager and fixer living and working in Italy