Resisting Sicily’s timeless charm is a difficult task, as was once again proven by the film industry. Recently, the island at the hearth of the Mediterranean Sea welcomed several international production teams and movie stars such as Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Geraldine Chaplin, Jonas Smulders, Can Yaman as well as Italian household names like Beppe Fiorello, Francesca Chillemi, Claudio Gioè, Luigi Lo Cascio and Claudia Pandolfi. Thanks to its varied landscape, comprised of big cities and unique villages, natural beauty paired with hidden and mysterious locations, Sicily has managed to become an open-air set, capable of satisfying the needs of many productions.

An unprecedented popularity in which Sicilia Film Commission has played a pivotal role, as its director, Nicola Tarantino, explains: “On one hand, we promote the land, on the other, we help the cinema industry involving local workers such as tailors, artisans, electricians and so on”. The unique example of Inspector Montalbano has proven the island’s potential: “The show owes its impressive viewing figures in part to an international distribution, which is also essential to the tourism industry. In order to continue this success, we have developed other important collaborations with US cinema majors who have shown interest in filming in Sicily, but these projects are currently top secret”.

So, which upcoming movies will feature Sicily as one of their locations?

INTERNATIONAL SET. Among the productions supported by the Sicilia Film Commission, there is Fortress, film adaptation of Dino Buzzati’s novel The Tartar Steppe by Jessica Woodworth. Initially, the movie was supposed to be shot in Armenia, but it was then decided to move the production to Sicily. The reason? Fortress required barren and almost ʻlunarʼ landscapes which the production found in places as Madonie mountain range, Mt. Etna, Ceturipe, Cava Pirrea in Melilli and the dam in Blufi.

Jessica Woodworth’s Fortress

Where will his spirit take Indiana Jones? In Sicily, of course. Everyone’s favorite archeologist will come back to theatres on the 30th of June 2023 directed by James Mangold. Harrison Ford, together with an exceptional cast, have filmed the fifth and long-awaited episode of the loved saga. The first scenes were filmed in two symbolic places of Siracusa, the Maniace castle and the Ear of Dionysius, while others are set in Cefalù, Castellamare del Golfo, Marsala, San Vito Lo Capo and Segesta, which the crew restored to their 1969 glory.

Set to hit the theatres on January 22nd, Cyrano, the musical film by the British director Joe Wright is inspired by Edmond Rostand’s homonym play of late XIX century. The pictures released in preview by Eagle Pictures showed the protagonists Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennet and Kelvin Harrison Jr. in the historic centres of Siracusa, Noto, Scicli and Parco dell’Etna.

Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett in Cyrano by Joe Wright

FILM AND TV SERIES. High expectations for the debut of Beppe Fiorello as director of Stranizza d’Amuri, produced by Iblafilm, Pepito Porduzioni with Rai Cinema. The movie tells the story of homophobia in 1970 Sicily and is based on a real dramatic event that occurred in the province of Catania during the 1980s. The sets chosen are located in the province of Siracusa, between the baroque Noto and Ferla, a small village on Monti Iblei.

Trapani, there and back again: Màkari 2, the TV series produced by Palomar and Rai Fiction, whose first season got record ratings, is set to return to the westmost province of the island. Claudio Gioè (the detective by chance played by Saverio Lamanna) and Ester Pantano (the charming Suleima) will be probably on TV next spring with three new episodes. The charming medieval village of Erice is the set of the first scenes of the fiction that then will then move to Mondello, Agrigento and San Vito Lo Capo.

The shooting of Makari 2

Palermo and its surroundings will be the main locations of the new light crime fiction by Mediaset, Viola come il mare, based on the novel Conosci l’estate? by Simona Tanzini, that will air on Canale 5 next fall. The protagonists, Francesca Chillemi and Can Yaman, have been photographed by fans around the seaside villages of Arenella and Mondello.

Cantieri culturali della Zisa and Partinico (both in Palermo) have been chosen as the set of Letizia Battaglia, a miniseries by Rai about the life of the ʻphotographer of mafiaʼ, who is well-known for her political and social activism. Actress Isabella Ragonese will star the series directed by Roberto Andò.

The set of the miniseries Letizia Battaglia

WEB SERIES. For the web series lovers, The Bad Guy will be released next year. It is an Italian show by Amazon Original which combines crime and dark comedy. Palermo is the background of the battle against mafia by the prosecutor Nino Scotellaro (Luigi Lo Cascio). The female protagonist is the actress Claudia Pandolfi.

After the successful La fuitina sbagliata, the web-famous comic duo from Palermo, I Soldi Spicci, announced on their social pages the release of a new film: Un mondo sotto i social. It will be distributed by Medusa in 2022. Annandrea Vitrano and Claudio Casisa are both protagonists and, for the first time, directors of the movie, whose shooting began among the streets of Castellammare del Golfo (Trapani) and Palermo.

Translated by Daniela Marsala