Our territory / Notre territoire

country, year
Belgium, 2019

short documentary

running time

directed by
Mathieu Volpe

French, Italian


about the film
»When I  had returned to Rignano, the ghetto residents said: ’You mustn’t keep any trace of our lives here. Our despair is not yours to display’. Yet the misery in the ghetto was the first thing that struck me, the first thing I wanted to show.« The director Mathieu Volpe returns to the places of his childhood, armed with a few feet of film, to meet those who are absent from his summer memories: the migrants from North and South Africa who are  picking the vegetables in modern plantations. With grace and humility, Volpe reveals a parallel economy and gives a name and a history to the invisible people by means of  a sensual, contrasted cinematography, without resorting to misery.

about the author
Mathieu Volpe (Rome,  1990), a son of an Italian father and a Belgian mother, lived in Bari, in the very South of Italy, till the age of 19. In 2009, he moved to Brussels to study film directing at the Institut des arts de diffusion at Louvain-la-Neuve. His graduation film, Il segreto del serpente (2014), has been selected by several international festivals, such as Torino Film Festival, Filmer à tout prix, Lussas, and Huesca. He has just completed his second documentary short, Our Territory, about the lives of immigrants inthe “Rignano Ghetto”, a slum located in the countryside near Foggia, in southern Italy, with the international premiere held at Locarno film festival in 2019. He has co-authoreds several documentaries (Moshta by Talheh Daryanavard, Terre noire by Jean-Marc Turine and Alpes by Nael Khlefi).

festivals and awards
Brussels Short Film Festival (Brussels); Résonances (Brussels); Locarno Film Festival (Locarno)
Castellorizo International documentary film festival (Castellorizo) Corsicadoc (Ajaccio)
Festival Mémoire Commune (Nador); Les quatre saisons de Cinérgie (screening in Brussels)
FIFF (Namur, Belgium); Festival Signes de Nuit (Paris); Main Award Dok Leipzig (Leipzig)
Ecrans documentaires (Paris); Le mois du doc (screening in Liège); Festival del cinema di Salerno (Salerno); Festival Segni della notte (Urbino); Retro Avant Garde Film Festival (Venice) : Best Retro
Short Film Aguilar Film Festival (Aguilar de Campoo); Bogoshort (Bogotá); Le jour le plus court (screening in Liège); Flickerfest (Sydney); FIPADOC (Biarritz); Tallyshorts (Tallahassee)
Miradasdocs (Tenerife); Festival La 1ère fois (Marseille); Visioni Italiane (Bologna); La caravane du court (screenings in Belgium); Firenze ArcheoFilm (Florence); DocuDays UA (Ukraine); Oakland Short Film Festival (Oakland); Festival Millenium (Brussels) : best script; Liberation Docfest Bangladesh (Dhaka); Ismailia International Film Festival (Egypt); Mediawave online film fest (Hungary) cellu l’art; Short Film Festival – B-Sides programme (Germany); Busan International Short Film Festival – Belgian Focus (Korea); Festival Internacional de Cine sobre el Trabajo (Buenos Aires) : Premio a la Excelencia; Festival Format Court (Paris); Festival Coupe Circuit (Brussels); Le court en dit long (Paris); River Film Festival (Padoue) : Best documentary En ville! (Bruxelles); La Guarimba (Amantea); Fest – New directors (Lisbon); Les Percéides (Canada); Saturnia Film Festival (Saturnia, Italy); Cine a la Calle (Colombia); Night of the Short film (Antwerpen); Interférences (Lyon); French Film Festival UK (Edinburgh); Aesthetica Short Film Festival (York); Foggia Film Festival – hors compétition (Foggia)

Il segreto del serpente (2014)