–Who is Gina Cunningham?
I’m a novice director, who also happens to be a disabled mom and grandmother. After various careers as a restaurateur, social activist, high school teacher, and visual artist, I felt compelled to make my documentary film at 66 years of age when I researched the history of my great Aunt Pasqualina.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I needed to tell the true story of my Italian immigrant family following a familiar path to pursuing the American Dream. In Pasqualina of Springfield, the mafia anti-hero is a powerful, complex woman. The gangster movie genre has not been about female central characters. Pasqualina of Springfield couldn’t be timelier.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?
Cinema has contributed to many societal shifts for more than a hundred years continues to influence culture in sometimes positive, other times negative ways. Cinema is one of the most influential and powerful art forms. Movies have shaped the world we live in, and their power can’t be ignored.
-What would you change in the world?
My list is too long for this interview, but to start; I’d like to stop the injustices caused by racism. I’d raise awareness of the fact that North Americans occupy and continue to destroy land stolen from Native Americans. I’d change the situation where I live in Los Angeles. The United Nations has declared certain areas humanitarian crisis zones because as many as 70,000 unhoused people exist on the streets in this wealthy city in absolute squalor. Far-right nationalism grows around us. War, out-of-control capitalism, and all the destruction it brings, I wish I could change these problems and more.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
Ha-ha! I really do not know where the film industry will be in the next 100 years. When I was growing up, I was clueless. I didn’t know we would have streaming, digital images, online platforms, etc. I’m not super high-tech. So, I can’t imagine what experiences the future will bring, but I know human beings are natural communicators. There’s cave art 40 thousand years old telling stories. So, I assume we will always be storytellers.