Michael Cavalieri is an Actor/Writer/Director originally from New York. His Directorial Debut “Ritornato” was awarded a special grant by the Russo Brothers, the Directors of “Avengers: Endgame” (the highest grossing film of all time), the National Italian American Foundation and the Italian Sons and Daughters of America.
Based on a true story about finding his roots, "Ritornato" was shot entirely on location in Limina, Sicily, the hometown of his Grandfather Agatino Alibrandi. "Ritornato" went on to win many film festivals worldwide and was one of the only American films selected for the prestigious Taormina Film Festival in 2020.
His new documentary film called “La Porta Dell’Inferno” (The Door to Hell) is a true story of courage, sacrifice and the love of family.
This documentary chronicles the inspirational stories of some of the last surviving men who worked in the sulfur mines in central Sicily. These Marvel superheroes, as he calls them, give us a deep insight into the slave-like conditions they were forced to work under by private ownership for many years up until 1963. Their courage, will, and determination is the centerpiece of this film as they discuss their families and relentless pursuit to keep them together. There was only one choice they could make if they wanted to keep their families together, it was immigration or the sulfur mines... they all chose the sulfur mines.
Michael recently returned from premiering “La Porta Dell’Inferno” in Piazza Armerina, Sicily to the families of the carusi and some of the surviving men that worked in the sulfur mines. During that same period, he is proud to say the film was shown to over 1,000 children as a history lesson for the schools. Afterward, he accompanied them to the Floristella mine so they could see firsthand how these men and boys worked in terrible conditions and toiled in the deep bowels of the sulfur mines. Michael stated, "It was an incredibly moving experience to see the look in the children's eyes when they learned this history for the first time."
This summer after the release of this documentary, Michael went on an eight-city tour around Sicily. The film's New York premiere was at the Columbus Citizens Foundation on October 21, 2022. In September 2023, Michael was invited to bring the film to Buffalo, NY by the Italian Culture Institute and to Hamilton, Canada by The Sicilian Canta/Italian Cultural Institute.
This past summer, “La Porta Dell’Inferno” was invited by the city of Agrigento, Sicily as the honorary film to celebrate the history of sulfur mining
and to commemorate the men who toiled and lost their lives working in the sulfur mines.
The Cleveland showing will be at the Strosacker Auditorium on the campus of Case Western Reserve University on Wednesday, October 11, at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available at Veale Athletic Center Parking Tower, Severance Hall Garage or East Blvd. meters.