When Voices Through Time opens at the Flatirons theater, it will be the U.S. theatrical premiere. How does Boulder get such an honor? Because of a man named Bruno Bossio.
Bossio lives in Boulder part-time (he also lives in Italy). When in town, he manages his Italian clothing store, CineModa, on the Pearl Street Mall. Lately, he’s been doing another job: promoting the film that he calls “a contemplative film in its truest sense,” and “different, but not difficult.”
Bossio has always been involved with movies on some level. “My path goes close-by to a lot of great Italian filmmakers. I was in the school called Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, whose president was Roberto Rosselini, the great Italian director.”
From there he went on to work in the Italian film industry, working as production assistant, assistant director, sometimes even as an extra. He even got to play a small part in Federico Fellini’s Roma. After delivering some papers to Fellini, the director asked Bossio for a photo.
Bossio says “I told him ‘but I am not an actor.’ So he told me ‘never mind, I’m not a director.’” After that, Bossio went to a photo booth and returned with his pictures. He got the part.
But Bossio grew dissatisfied with the commercialization of movies. More and more he started to explore non-traditional films at festivals. He sought out the kind of poetic, artistic films you couldn’t see at the average movie theater. That’s when he met Silvano Agosti, who was making a documentary called Cinema Machine.
“It was about love and hate people have with the medium of film. Even when the film business kicked them in the ass, they still have this love,” recalls Bossio. One of the subjects of this documentary was Franco Piavoli.
Piavoli had made a short film called Seasons, which he hoped to expand someday, but he had given up on filmmaking in order to make ends meet. After Cinema Machine, Agosti helped Piavoli get a government grant to make the movie he had been imagining for years: Blue Planet.
Like Voices Through Time, Blue Planet is a nonnarrative film. It consists entirely of images and sounds from the natural world and the Italian countryside. One critic said of it, “if Thoreau had been handed a camera, he might have made a film very much like Blue Planet.” It was a film that Bossio really loved, and he wanted the world to see.
Bossio explains that he changed from a production manager to a film distributor. “I started doing something with films in a different way, getting them shown, one way or another. Even when I had to splash them in the face of the people.”
While promoting Blue Planet in the U.S., he decided to return to a place he had visited while making a documentary about Alan Ginsberg: a hip, enlightened town called Boulder.
Bossio was given five days at the dying Art Cinema on the Pearl Street Mall. Blue Planet sold out on all five days. Bossio arranged to take over the Art Cinema for another 4 months during which he showed Blue Planet and other art films. Ever since then he’s been in and out of Boulder.
Ten years later, Piavoli made Voices Through Time, a human-centered followup to Blue Planet. Bossio thought he was getting too old to promote independent films again, but the audience response at the Palm Springs Film Festival changed his mind. An hour after the screening, audience members were still in the theater thinking and talking about the movie they had just seen. During the rest of the festival, people found Bossio in the streets and told them how much they loved the movie.
“Palm Springs convinced me to be Don Quixote again,” says Bossio with a smile.
So now Bossio will promote Voices Through Time to American audiences, and he’s starting with Boulder.
“First of all, because I live here. Second because this is a town, in some way, at a human scale. And it also is a town concerned with ecology, social ecology, balance, nature, health, all things that directly or indirectly, in a poetic way, are the matter of the film.”