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The Joys of the Women

30th Anniversary Screening of the Documentary Classic



proudly present an ELECTRIC PICTURES / REALWORLD PICTURES documentary.


The Joys of the Women was broadcast on ABC TV in 1993


Date: Saturday 1st July, 2023, 4pm

Venue: NEW FARM CINEMAS – Purple Room701 Brunswick St, New Farm QLD 4005The event will also feature performances by
Kavisha Mazzella, local Brisbane Italian folk band ZumpaTaranta Meanjin Dancers
and a Q&A with the Director Franco Di Chiera.

Kavisha Mazzella
Anna Cerreto Taranta Meanjin

The Joys of the Women (Le Gioie Delle Donne) documentary is about to relive its glorious past with a special screening to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. A heartfelt musical journey, the film traces the search by singer/songwriter Kavisha Mazzella (OAM) to find the lost songs of a generation.  It captures with wit and warmth the larger-than-life characters in the Fremantle Italian women’s choir and documents last vestiges of Italian folk music in Italy and Australia. With an unmissable performance by Kavisha and Italian folk band Zumpa, followed by a Q&A with Kavisha and the film’s Director, Franco Di Chiera.

First screened in 1993 on ABC TV, the film introduced the Choir to a national audience, helping them to become a cultural phenomenon. The film included the song, ‘Wedding Sheets’ which won Kavisha a Songwriting Prize at the West Australia Music Industry Awards (WAMIA). A clip of the song is part of the permanent exhibit at the Museo Italiano in Melbourne, complete with Kavisha’s original hand-written lyrics.  Other excerpts from the film are featured on Australian Screen Online.  The music CD became one of ABC Enterprises’s highest selling sound-track albums.  Kavisha is an ARIA Award winner and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the performing arts, and to the community, through the development of musical projects promoting awareness of multicultural, refugee and Indigenous experiences.

The Joys of the Women was first released in the cinemas around Australia in 1993 including sell out seasons.  The documentary garnered rave reviews with Filmnews reviewer Stephen Bennetts writing: “Here and elsewhere, the use of black and white footage makes powerful associations with Italian cinema of neo-realism of the forties and fifties, and its focus on the everyday lives of Italian working-class people…As each woman talks about her life she is framed dramatically inside a small vignette of her own home, speaking volumes about life histories and culture. One woman stands in the middle of a vast expanse of Great Australian Suburban Backyard, singing an Italian immigrant’s song which encapsulates her own life story, a powerful image of Italian peasant culture in the Australian suburbs which becomes symbolic of the cultural and historical contradictions of migrant life in Australia”.

The film screened at prestigious international film festivals including the 34th International Festival dei Popoli Florence, Treizieme Bilan du Film Ethnographique Paris and the Sydney International Film Festival. It was also nominated for Best Documentary in the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards. After three decades, it still screens at festivals including the Sguardi Altrove Film Festival in Milan where it was part of a special section “sull’Australia”, exploring Italian migration to Australia.

In a fitting tribute to the women themselves The Joys of The Women Choir was invited to sing at a luncheon in Canberra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Australian women winning the vote – in the presence of then Prime Minister Paul Keating. The Choir also recorded the theme song for the Fremantle Docker’s football team and sang it at their grand final match in Perth, making front-page headlines. One member of the Choir, the late Emma Ciccotosto, became something of a talk show celebrity with her award-winning book Emma: A Translated Life (the stage play adaptation, Emma, was a critical and box office success). Her later book A Recipe for Life is part autobiographical, part musical and theatrical performance, and part cookbook with over 150 Italian recipes. Emma and the Choir helped personify the joyous celebration of Italian immigrant women in Australia and their multi-faceted lives.

Director Di Chiera commented, “I’m very proud this film continues to have a long life and is being appreciated not just as a piece of entertainment but a joyous celebration of Italian immigrant women in Australia and their multi-faceted lives”. Other projects of Di Chiera have won an Australian Film Institute Award (AFI/AACTA) for Best Minsieries/Telefeature, Best Documentary at RomeFictionFest and screened at the Venice Film Festival. His feature film Big Mamma’s Boy was released nationally by Madman Entertainment and sold to Fox Movies. He is currently involved in the Queensland film, Photos in the Attic and the Victorian-based project, Bonegilla.

Joint Producer Andrew Ogilvie now heads one of the most successful documentary production houses in the country, Electric Pictures. The company has developed particular expertise in blue chip docs, drama docs, and factual series, often tackling hard subjects like the exploitation of children as soldiers, and the drama of war, but are also expert at cultural histories, science stories, political intrigue, and a more fun approach to topics such as the Eurovision Song Contest and the Australian wine industry. The company has produced content for global public broadcasters and cable TV, and more recently has found great international success with the long running factual series, Aussie Gold Hunters, for Discovery.

The Joys of the Women was broadcast on ABC TV in 1993 and the first of a new genre of music documentaries centered on community choirs. The rest is history!

For Further Information Contact:

Peter Souriss                                                                                   Jude Cockburn-Campbell                     

Email:                                            Head of Distribution and Publicity

Mobile: 0413 597 659                                                                      Email:

New Farm Cinemas: 07 3358 4444                                                 Tel: 08 9339 1133  Mob: 0409 501 133

Dharma Kavisha Mazzella                                                              Franco Di Chiera

Singer/Songwriter                                                                           Director

Email:                                                         Email:

Mobile: 0412 893 355                                                                     Mobile: 0414 552 197

David De Santi                                                                                                                                                    


Mobile: 0409 571 788                                                                                                                                   

LINKS:New Farm Cinemas:—30th-anniversary-screening
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