30,000 Miles to the Finish

Francesco’s set to compete in one of the most extreme races in history. Huge expenses. An untried boat. A relationship headed toward the rocks. He’ll have to scale a mountain to even make the startline.

Francesco Cappelletti is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. He’s the only Italian competing in the Golden Globe Race 2018, an around-the-globe single-handed regatta without stops, outside assistance or modern navigational aids. More than a race, the GGR’s a way of life for sailors seeking to commune with the sea on the deepest level. Francesco will compete against the best offshore sailors along a 30,000-mile race course in some of the world’s deadliest waters. Over the course of a year, our crew follows Francesco as he races against the clock to rebuild 007, his vintage yacht, encountering one setback after the next. With no major sponsors on the horizon to cover mounting costs, and with personal relationships hanging in the balance, Francesco begins to shut himself off to the world, more determined than ever to attain his dream. Ultimately, his resolve to compete will come at a high cost. The unfolding drama on land and sea drives the action in 30,000 Miles to the Finish, one man’s personal odyssey -- against all odds -- to sail to the furthest reaches of the earth.

  • Gia Marie Amella
    Director
    Terror In Tuscany (CNN International, 2011), And They Came To Chicago: The Italian American Legacy (WTTW-PBS, 2007)
  • Giuseppe Mangione
    Director
    Terror In Tuscany (CNN International, 2011)
  • Gia Marie Amella
    Writer
    The Arab Americans (WTTW & PBS, 2016) Terror In Tuscany: World’s Untold Stories: World War II Atrocities (CNN International, 2011), Escaped!: Sex Slave in the Heartland (Investigation Discovery, 2009), And They Came To Chicago: The Italian American Legacy (WTTW-PBS, 2007, Storm Stories (The Weather Channel, 2005), American Justice: Child’s Play, Deadly Play (A&E, 2004), Storm Stories: Sarno Slides (National Geographic International, 2004) The German Americans (WLIW-PBS, 2000); Serving with Dignity (PBS, 1996)
  • Gia Marie Amella
    Producer
    Project Impossible (HISTORY Channel, 2017), The Arab Americans (WTTW & PBS, 2016) Terror In Tuscany: World War II Atrocities (CNN International, 2011), Escaped!: Sex Slave in the Heartland (Investigation Discovery, 2009), And They Came To Chicago: The Italian American Legacy (WTTW-PBS, 2007) Storm Stories: Sarno Slides (National Geographic International (2005), American Justice: Child’s Play, Deadly Play (A&E, 2004), Storm Stories: Colorado Blizzard (The Weather Channel, 2004, The German Americans (WLIW-PBS, 2000) We Do The Work; Serving with Dignity (PBS, 1996)
  • Giuseppe Mangione
    Audio Mixing
    And They Came To Chicago: The Italian American Legacy (WTTW-PBS, 2007), The Arab Americans (WTTW & PBS, 2016)
  • Francesco Cappelletti
    Key Cast
    "Himself"
  • Giuseppe Mangione
    Music
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    30.000 Miglia al Traguardo
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Genres:
    Extreme Sports, Adventure, Lifestyle, Travel
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 19 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 18, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    Italy
  • Country of Filming:
    Brazil, France, Italy, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Italian
  • Shooting Format:
    Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Barch-in
    Venice
    Italy
    July 28, 2021
  • Festa del Cinema di Mare
    Castiglione della Pescaia
    Italy
    August 26, 2021
    Tuscany Premiere
  • Caorle Independent Film Festival 2021
    Caorle
    Italy
    September 21, 2021
    Best Documentary Award
Distribution Information
  • http://www.movieday.it/movie/index?movie_id=1323
    Distributor
    Country: Italy
    Rights: Theatrical
  • http://anandamedia.net/programs/30-000-miles-to-the-finish/
    Distributor
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Internet, Video on Demand, Pay Per View, Hotel, Airline, Ship, Free TV, Paid TV, Console / Handheld Device
Director Biography - Gia Marie Amella, Giuseppe Mangione

Along with long-time collaborator Beppe Mangione, Gia, a writer producer and director, is co-managing partner of Modio Media Productions, Inc., an award-winning production company founded in 2006 in Chicago. Today, the duo specializes in creating non-fiction content across Italy for a diverse line-up of international clients. Their work has aired on A&E Networks, National Geographic International, Investigation Discovery, CNBC, The Weather Channel, CNN International, HISTORY, and PBS.

Most recently, Gia served as writer and consulting producer on The Arab Americans, a feature-length documentary tracing Arab migration to the United States from the late 19th century to the present day. This groundbreaking show aired on PBS nationwide between 2017 and 2018, garnering nearly 1 million viewers. The previous year, Gia field produced and directed multiple stories across Europe for HSTORY's Project Impossible, a 10-part series looking at extraordinary feats of engineering around the globe; she also served as contributing writer on one episode entitled Battling the Blackout.

Her company's original productions include: Terror in Tuscany, which investigated Nazi atrocities committed in Italy during World War II that went unprosecuted for over half a century. The show premiered in 2011 on CNN International’s award-winning doc strand World’s Untold Stories, winning the 2012 Peter Lisagor Award for Outstanding Feature Reporting from the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Narrated by actor Joe Mantegna, And They Came To Chicago: The Italian American Legacy, premiered as a prime-time special on WTTW-Chicago, among the most-viewed ethnic heritage shows in the station's history. It went on to win a Chicago/Midwest Emmy nomination for Best Historical Documentary and five Silver Telly Awards in individual craft categories.

Gia holds an M.A. in Radio-Television (1993) from San Francisco State University, where she served for three years as a lecturer in the Broadcast & Electronic Communications Department, and a B.A. in Italian Literature (1988) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After graduation, she worked at PBS affiliates KQED-San Francisco and KCSM-San Mateo, earning her production chops in variious supporting roles on everything from cooking series to talk shows. During the same period, she served as an instructor and mentor in the Bay Area Video Coalition's media training program for women and people of color.

A 1998-99 Fulbright Fellow to Palermo, Italy, Gia has lectured widely as a guest speaker and panelist on her work in the U.S. and Europe. She has received numerous grants for her media work, including from the Illinois Humanities Council, the California Humanities

Council, the National Italian American Foundation, Order Sons of Italy’s Commission for Social Justice, among others. She is the recipient of the 2011 Public Service Award from the National Immigration Council, Washington, DC; the 2007 Impresa Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans' Women's Division for outstanding contributions to her field; and holds honorary citizenship in the municipality of Bucine, Tuscany.

Fresh from completing 30,000 Miles to the Finish, she and producing partner Beppe will resume principal filming on their feature doc, Wine Is Our Blood, a sweeping tale of wine, tradition, family and the fight for the land set amongst Piedmont, Italy's fables Langhe hills.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In the summer of 2017, a good friend rang up. In a very excited state, he told me about a man from our town in Central Italy, now working as a professional skipper, who would be competing in an historic single-handed regatta around the world that first took place in 1968. This was to be the second edition for the first time in fifty years. Landlocked as we were, we were intrigued. We met up with Francesco to hear his story and what would compel him to embark on an extreme test of endurance in an outdated boat with no modern navigational aids. The race route was 30,000 miles in some of the most treacherous waters; much of that time he'd be navigating a very long distance from land—alone. At the time, we didn't know where it would all lead. But, I remember bowled over by Francesco and his confidence —and it would be a complete break from other subject matter that we'd covered before. And so we set off with no expectations. As we got deeper into filming, we understood that the story was going to be about much more than an individual attempting to fulfil a dream. There were deeper nuances that began to surface. About a man eager to break free from the confines of small-town life in the hinterland of Tuscany. Who had seen the family business that once employed many dozens, shutter its doors when the global recession hit. Perhaps the most unsettling truth to surface was that not everyone in Francesco's life was on board with the dream, that he was potentially risking his life for some sort of mad glory. Later on, there would be consequences for him and for others. But, if there was one thing that we took away from the experience of creating this story, it is this: sometimes the underdog has a more compelling tale to tell than those who actually take home the prize. Maybe there's a life lesson that's better learned, that makes one kinder, more human. For all these reasons, we felt it this Francesco's story to tell in his own voice—another break from what we'd ever done in the past. But was he up to the task? Could he convey the right emotions? Would he come off as egotistical, humble? It was a risk, we knew, but the right choice.
Francesco's first-person narration shows vulnerability but also a willingness to share his innermost thoughts at critical moments in the story. During stretches of dead calm far out at sea, he often turns the camera on and simply talks, at times impulsively, at others deliberately, but always with self-reflective eye. As an expat living and working in Italy for many years, it's easy to forget that, wow, you're filming a story in this mythical land. I remind myself that this is a wholly Italian story from the mountains to the sea about the only Italian who, against all the odds, rose to the challenge to compete in the Golden Globe Race 2018. In one scene, the race start date is closing in on Francesco and, lacking funds and with his boat still in need of a lot of work, there's a chance he may have pull out of the race. One of his volunteer helpers quips that even in moments of great difficulty, history has shown that Italians accomplish great deeds. Perhaps Francesco's greatest deed was having the courage to never give up on his dream. If you don't have dreams, you don't have life.