Tam Tam – Outside the Lines

The right to citizenship at birth, ‘ius soli’, is still unapproved in Italy, denying over a million children, born of immigrant parents, automatic citizenship.

The film captures the story of an Italian basketball team, who were refused access to regional leagues because of the Italian born players’ immigration status.

Former Italian basketball champion, Massimo Antonelli, started the team at a disused holiday complex in Castel Volturno, an area that is made up of 25,000 inhabitants, a fifth of which are registered migrants. Being free to join, it offered local teenagers a chance to participate in after school sports and was sustained by generous donations.

The FPI (Italian Basketball Federation) rules stated that to compete, only 2 players per team could be migrants, which posed a problem for Antonelli and his team of hard working and committed players. Given his media status, he soon found himself at the centre of a debate about Italian citizenship and integration, and the question ‘what does it mean to be Italian?’ was brought to the fore.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

Having seen an article written by Sophia Seymour, alongside Giulio Piscitelli’s photography, I asked myself how I could help get this seemingly insignificant, unjust story some more attention. For me, it was a story so worth telling I took it on as a personal project. So, I called Giulio and arranged to fly over to meet with him and the boys. For me, the story of the team and their journey into the league was a good metaphor for a wider conversation about what being a ‘citizen’ actually means and the hurdles that migrants and their children can face in the everyday.

I was taken aback by the story itself; how this team took their plight to the government and won! It was inspirational, yet as humble as you can get. They were just 14 year old kids that wanted to play basketball, who dreamt of living a normal life and doing things we all do, but ultimately live with the uncertainty of their future due to bureaucracy out of their control. I loved my time with them, their energy and passion for the sport. Some of the guys have to walk 7+ miles each way to practice down country roads with no paths, in the dark. They’re a shining example to us all.’