TITLE Letizia Battaglia – Shooting the Mafia
COUNTRY Ireland / UK
YEAR 2019
DIRECTOR Kim Longinotto
LENGHT 94′ 00”
FORMAT Digital
SOUND Michelle Fingleton
EDITING Ollie Huddleston
PRODUCTION Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn White Dreyfous (Impact Partners) Lesley McKimm (Screen Ireland)
Elena Foster, Patty Quillin


Shooting the Mafia, dedicated by Kim Longinotto, one of Britain's leading documentary filmmaker, to the Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, a fundamental figure in Palermo and Italy between the Seventies and Nineties, is a strong and powerful documentary for the contents it conveys and thanks to Battaglia’s photographs that describe without veils and with crude objectivity the reality of the Mafia in Sicily in that period. Its strength lies on its double narrative: the documentary is in fact at the same time the personal and intimate portrait of Letizia Battaglia, and of her emancipation to the point of becoming a photojournalist for the newspaper L’Ora (a life lived without patterns: from street photography to document Mafia’s deaths, to the commitment in politics) and that of the history of Italy, its social changes and political battles. Images of a carefully selected amazing video footage, the living testimony of Battaglia herself and her photographs, intertwined in a skilful editing – with a selection of music that establishes the rhythm of the narration – are the driving elements of this extraordinary film.

Sicilian Letizia Battaglia began a lifelong battle with the Mafia when she first dared to point her camera at a brutally slain victim. A woman whose passions led her to ditch traditional family life and become a photojournalist, she found herself on the front lines during one of the bloodiest chapters in Italy’s recent history. She fearlessly and artfully captured everyday Sicilian life—from weddings and funerals to the grisly murders of ordinary citizens—to tell the narrative of the community she loved forced into silence by the Cosa Nostra.

SHOOTING THE MAFIA weaves together Battaglia’s striking black-and-white photographs, rare archival footage, classic Italian films, and the now 84-year-old’s own memories, to paint a portrait of a remarkable woman whose whose bravery and defiance helped expose the Mafia’s brutal crimes.


Kim Longinotto

Kim Longinotto is a multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker, well known for
making films about female outsiders and rebels. Among her 20 films, she has followed a teenager struggling to become a wrestling star in Gaea Girls (2000), looked at runaway girls in Iran in Runaway (2001), challenged the tradition of female genital mutilation in Kenya in The Day I Will Never Forget (2002), introduced Cameroon female judges in Sisters in Law (2005) and brave South African child advocates in Rough Aunties (2008), shown women standing up to rapists in India in Pink Saris (2010), and told the story of an Indian Muslim woman who smuggled poetry out to the world while locked up by her family in Salma (2013). Longinotto’s most recent film, Dreamcatcher (2015), looks at the life and work of an ex-prostitute who rescues Chicago girls from the street.

“I was saved by photography. I was a young, intelligent, desperate woman. My encounter with photography allowed me to express my thoughts, my rebellion, my social and political commitment.” – Letizia Battaglia