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Production   /  Trevor Graham

My Big Fat Italian Kitchen

A delicious, feel good story with entrée, main course & dessert.


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR Trevor Graham

  • PRODUCER Lisa Wang



Antonio De Benedetto is an Italian chef on a quest to change the world with food. His apprentices in the kitchen are Mirko Piras, a young man born with Down syndrome, who dreams of becoming a great chef and Jessica Berta who wants to be a pâtissière. Their kitchen is the beating heart of a restaurant and revolutionary hotel like no other. Both are staffed by young men and women with Down syndrome who come from across Italy to train and work in hospitality so they can take their place at the table of life.
My Big Fat Italian Kitchen, is their closely observed story told in first person by Mirko, Jessica and Antonio as narrators and story tellers. It’s a journey through their lives and dreams: a delicious, three act personal story with entrée, main course and a yummy dessert.

We have 95% of our budget committed - supported by Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Antidote Films, Soundfirm, AndyInc, and Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). The World Premiere will be MIFF 2020.

Support this project

247.72% funded
  • $25,000.00

  • $61,930.00

  • 4

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Donor List to 3JUN19 $60,780.00
Denise Haslem $300.00
Peter McBain $100.00
Frank Bruzzese $750.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In the world of disability, the Albergo Etico and the Tacabanda Restaurant are offering ground-breaking models for social change and how the general public perceives and interacts with people with Down syndrome, and or, intellectual disabilities. My Big Fat Italian Kitchen through its story and characters will engage audiences around these social needs and challenge viewers to reflect on and qustion their own notions of, ‘What is normal ?’ and What is disability ?’. On completion, My Big Fat Italian Kitchen, will resonate with a variety of audience’s, TV, festival and the many Disability sectors locally and internationally. Disability and disability rights are becoming more of a focus in Europe, the US and Australia. Since the establishment of the NDIS in Australia there has been more interest in integrating people with disabilities into the workforce as a matter of not only of social justice, but economic and cultural arguments come into play also.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

My Big Fat Italian Kitchen offers a window into a world where employments rights are taken for granted. It tells personal stories that in the end offer a social model for disability rights. But this isn’t ‘placard’ filmmaking. It’s character and story led – with an appreciation of ‘diversity’ as its goal. Humour and food too are integral to the story. Through the personal stories we gain empathy with the characters and insights into the processes of developing ‘human potential’ within all of us.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

1. Audiences will have a clear understanding of the positive role employment and engagement with the public can play in the lives of people with Down syndrome or an intellectual disability. 2. Audiences will question in their own lives and circumstances the notions of 'normality' 'what is normal' and 'what is disability'. 3. Audiences will gain insights into the lives of Down syndrome trainees in the film and come to an understanding of our common humanity. 4. Audiences will have an enjoyable 'feel good experience' watching the film - laugh, cry, be moved. This serves to break down barriers and prejudice. The impact is measured via the audience reach, number of community based screenings, engagement with the disability sector and territories which the film sells into or is screened in at festivals and its ability to penetrate the educational market.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have a strong partnership with the Albergo Etico in Italy. The experiences and training of people in this organisation are constantly being discussed and monitored as the film project develops.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope that viewers will have a greater empathy and understanding of what it means to be human and that no matter who you are we all have similar needs, desires and aspirations in our lives, Its a positive, 'feel good' take away from this film that magnifies the issue of human potential, rather than barriers, boundaries and limitations.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

International and national demand - the film is being distributed and seen by wide general audiences and interest groups .