JCU Department of Communications Welcomes Director Fred Kuwornu

Director Fred Kuwornu

Director Fred Kuwornu

The John Cabot University Department of Communications was pleased to host Fred Kuwornu for a screening of his 2012 documentary, 18 IUS SOLI.

Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanaian award-winning filmmaker, producer, and activist born and raised in Italy. His films include two documentaries, Inside Buffalo (2010), and 18 IUS SOLI (2012), which examine issues of race, ethnicity, and national identity.

After a warm welcome and introduction by Professor Antonio Lopez, Kuwornu explained the purpose of his film as a means to inform and denounce the unjust, yet legal discrimination many second generation Italians face in their daily lives as a result of not having Italian citizenship: from being subject to deportation, to infinite residency renewal issues.

18 IUS SOLI highlights the inequalities between young people with Italian parents and second generation immigrants. Statistics demonstrate that nearly a million young people in Italy were born to immigrant parents. But despite being born in the country, they must wait until they are 18 years old to begin the long bureaucratic process that will lead to citizenship. On the other hand, in the United States and the majority of European Union countries, ius soli (“right of the soil”) laws automatically grant citizenship to anyone born in national territory.

Fred Kuwornu’s documentary tells the stories of eighteen young Italians whose parents emigrated from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Born, raised, and schooled in Italy, they speak Italian as well as local dialects and often do not speak their parents’ native language. They see themselves as Italian, and they are frustrated by the current Italian law that denies them citizenship.

The film, which is regularly screened in Italian schools, has led to an important social campaign aimed at voicing the experiences of the interviewees in the public arena in order to urge a response from Italian political authorities. Kuwornu has also been invited to present the film at many American universities including Columbia, Brown, NYU, and CUNY.

During the lively Q & A session that concluded the evening, several JCU students of multicultural backgrounds stated that they identified with many of the issues raised in the documentary. When asked what kind of impact the film had had, Kuwornu replied that no legal changes have taken place since the production of the film. At the same time, however, the film continues to play an important role in dispelling stereotypes and raising awareness of an unjust situation.

Learn more about the Department of Communications at John Cabot University.