“5 W” to report the results obtained from the initial phase of the project “Breaking Rays”


29 June – 7 July 2017, Castelgandolfo

“Breaking Rays”, First Phase

At the conclusion of nine intense days together, the participants of the Breaking Rays project (consisting of 3 phases: in Italy, Brazil and Philippines, respectively) write “It was a profound and sincere experience based on building true relationships, which clearly showed how, also in a technical context like this, true human values are the key of everything“.

Marco Aleotti, Kim Rowley and Paola Cipollone – the initiative coordinators – provided us with a full report of the event while trying to follow the rules of good journalism, according to the 5 “W”: Who, What, Where, When, Why.


Breaking rays Italy 1The participants were 22 young filmmakers from 10 countries (the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Burundi, Italy, Malta, Hungary, Germany, Brazil, Argentina) – from 20 to 41 years old, who already had experience and/or training in the field of audiovisuals. Most were filmmakers but others were graphic artists and/or photographers.
This varied composition, concerning age, experience and origin, was a very positive and enriching element and was expressed by many as the most interesting aspect of this formation phase.

In the same way, the group of tutors was composed by professionals with different experiences and skill sets. Among the ones who spoke: Gianni Bianco, Declan O’Byrne, Michele Zanzucchi, Aurelio Molè, Saverio D’ercole and Laly Hernandez. Each one of them generously shared with the participants their technical/professional experience, as well as very meaningful personal life experiences

The sessions on technical aspects were very successful: Storytelling for audiovisuals, shooting, interviews and point of view, lighting, audio, editing, social media. To lead them along with Marco Aleotti and Kim Rowley were professionals such as Carlo Sgambato (Director of photography), Nino Giuffrida (audio engineer), Giulio Mainenti (director and editor), Ivan Turatti (corporate communication and social media expert)

The dialogue and the active participation of everyone built true communion on several levels. This dynamic interactive approach was much appreciated and was an effective method of learning from one another.



Breaking rays Italy 3The project was held from June 29th to July 7th 2017. But in a certain sense it started well before the 29th!
At their arrival, several participants shared their challenges with getting visas, obtaining permission from work, trepidation in leaving the family (one was newly married, another one had a 3 months old daughter).
There were those who felt they didn’t have an enough valuable contribution to offer, and felt too inexperienced.

The invitation to leave everything behind in order to share talents, thoughts, suggestions, ideas, making space for each other, was fully embraced by all and turned everyone into a protagonist. This laid the foundations for an experience where there was no “hierarchy” of tasks, rather collaboration and sharing of responsibility in harmony.



Breaking rays Italy 5The focus of this first phase of the project was preparing a News Report. It was important to have a common vision about what makes a story valid and also about how we offer it to our audience.

In addition to the workshops and the moments in the main hall, two and a half days were dedicated to a real life work experience in small teams of three, where the participants filmed and edited a story, 3 to 5 minute long.

Each group carried out the entire process in its entirety: research and pre-production, shooting and assembly. This exercise, besides providing an opportunity to put into practice some of the things that were just learned, was also a way to live shoulder to shoulder and produce something worthwhile together. Some worked well into the night in order to meet the delivery deadline.

The stories collected were of various natures: from the Vatican Astronomic Observatory to a start-up business of a young farmer; from a “historian” of Castel Gandolfo, to a family trying to manage the use of cellphones of their teenage children; a school that teaches English to Italian schoolchildren; as well as viewpoints and testimonies on immigration.
The Press Office of the Castel Gandolfo City Hall followed the Breaking Rays’ program and spoke about it in their social media channels

The stories were screened all together in a plenary session where each group recounted difficulties and successes throughout the production process. Usually in this field a critique of one’s work is often perceived as a personal criticism; however here the evaluation of others, even when pointing out weak points or errors was always constructive, with no sign of personal judgments. Everything that was said was offered and received as an extremely useful exchange and perceived as a tremendous opportunity to grow.



 Breaking rays Italy 6The workshop was held at a house on the lake in Castel Gandolfo, and turned out to be the perfect place for this kind of experience. As someone noted, the landscape conveyed peace and serenity and … favored creativity

Being able to live together 24 hours a day meant that everything – from the main sessions to lunch, from the workshops to the breaks – everything was training, and was time and space for creating trust and sincere relationships. And it was this strong fabric that made it possible to have productive and effective moments of learning.

Another important moment was the visit to the house of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, and the emotional meeting with Eli Folonari, one of Lubich’s first companions and the one who was entrusted with communications.



Breaking rays Italy 4

In summary, the project coordinators wrote: “It seems to us that this first phase of Breaking Rays highlighted a formation path focused on raising sensitivity to group work and relationships: even while using a movie camera, a microphone, or a video editing program, we are called to build relationships among people.”


Breaking Rays Video-summary: Phase 1