Shepherds in the Cave
An international team of art restorers and archaeologists begin work on the restoration of medieval frescoes inside a network of ancient caves. Faced with local bureaucratic challenges and systemic neglect of archaeological sites, the team encounters a community of shepherds and migrants that have used the caves for centuries and discover a living culture worth preserving most of all.
Produced with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) Film Festival (2017, Bristol, UK)
Ethnografilm Festival (2017, Paris, France)
Cinema on the Bayou (2017, Louisiana)*
Special Jury Prize, Documentary Feature Category
The Fornello Restoration Project is a cultural conservation initiative founded by Tonio Creanza and Giovanni Ragone, and devoted to restoring religious frescoes and traditional cultural practices in an extensive network of caves near Altamura, Italy. The Byzantine and Latin era frescoes range from 12th to 14th century CE., the surrounding cave dwellings date back thousands of years earlier, and nearby Neanderthal remains have been determined to be older than 130,000 years. The documentary Shepherds in the Cave chronicles the meticulous work of art restorers working on the frescoes, archaeologists exploring the network of caves, and shepherds and farmers in the surrounding countryside - locals, visitors, and migrants alike - their passions indivisible from one another.
Tonio Creanza (left), Art Restorer and Co-founder Fornello Restoration Project
Emar Donato Laborante (right), Narrator and Storyteller