The Great Salami Breakout

The story unfolds within Nonno Giacobbo’s car. They have collected Jake, who with help from his mother Maria, has just escaped from the mental health hospital. His tempestuous grandparents assumed he was on holiday and they had just picked him up from a hotel. They are oblivious to the fact that he is still wearing a straight-jacket.
The breakout is commandeered by the chaotic cantankerous Italian grandparents with salami, seismic events and saints.
The question begins to arise who is actually on the run in this car ride from Italian hell.

  • Josie Montano
  • Liam V Power
    Attack of the Incels
  • Josie Montano
  • Josie Montano
  • Robert McLachlan
  • Robert McLachlan
    Key Cast
    "Nonno Giacobbo"
  • Josie Montano
    Key Cast
    "Nonna Pina"
    see acting CV
  • Laura Fois
    Key Cast
  • Pierce Gordon
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 39 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 18, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    9,500 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Italian
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital Pro-res UHD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Rome International Movie Awards
    August 3, 2021
    Best Comedy ; Best Trailer ; Best Poster
  • New Jersey Film Awards
    New Jersey
    United States
    September 1, 2021
    Best Comedy Short
  • Accord Cine Fest
    September 4, 2021
    Best Comedy Short
Director Biography - Josie Montano, Liam V Power

Josie is a storyteller, primarily an author having written and traditionally published over sixty works over the past twenty years. This is Josie's debut as not only a Director, but also as script-writer and producer. She also played Nonna Pina, one of the major roles in The Great Salami Breakout.

Most first generation of Italian migrants can identify with her characters. They are the foundations of a traditional Italian ‘casa’ ie: A nonno and nonna who because of their long-term struggles of settling in an unknown country have held onto their culture and traditions for dear life and live in their Little Italy bubble.

In the first half of her life she wanted to discard anything to do with her cultural upbringing, and yet the older she became the more she yearned to become closer to her heritage, to share the stories of her parents generation.

As a writer, she has discovered a pattern whereby she tends to stereotype characters into three generational boxes. Yet this has been therapeutic not only for her but for fellow ‘sandwich’ generation. They deal with awkwardness, embarrassment and shame of being migrant children who are trying to fit into the caucasian way of life … with humour. Laughing about themselves and their culture has been the best medicine.

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Director Statement

A Comedy of Errors is a perfect way to describe my short-film. The phrase is generally used to describe a situation so full of mistakes and problems that it actually becomes comical. This was not only describes the script but the process of getting this film off the ground and on its way into festivals. It’s been a long two year process from pre-production to now, with many hiccups including Covid-19 which slowed down the production side due to lockdowns and restrictions. Once we were able to film again, we assigned two Covid Supervisors who ensured the set, cast and crew were all compliant with covid filming regulations.

As the film is predominantly shot requiring green screen, this made it a very tedious task in post-production, and created a lot of heartache and headaches for not only myself as producer but the editing team. When I wrote the script, green screen never entered my mind, yet I wouldn't have had it any other way, and this has been a massive learning curve for myself and the team. I am so glad we had this challenge and can proudly say we went above and beyond to get the car scenes just right.

We had another major hurdle on our last day of filming, for the green screen car scenes it was set up in a hot enclosed garage. Sitting in a car for hours on end, the cast began to feel the effects of the heat, particularly myself playing Nonna Pina. I have MS and by the end of the day, fatigue, heat intolerance affected my cognitive fog - basically wiping all lines and dialogue from my brain. The other director Liam Power, was very patient and made a decision to film my lines one at a time. This was concerning at the time as it meant I didn't have other cast to play alongside for the full reactions. But it was the best we could do with what we had at the time, and in the end it all came together.

I chose to co-direct this film because The Great Salami Breakout (TGSB)is based on a one-act play I wrote many years ago, seeing it play out on stage demonstrated that it was also very suited to the world of film. Because TGSB is semi-autobiographical, and based on a real car trip experienced with my son, a teen at the time who has Autism (diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome), and his Nonni (my Italian parents) I needed to ensure the story held its authenticity for not only the characters, costumes, set, props and historical component (the Italian village scene), especially the salami.

Italians are a joyous, festive yet hard working and passionate people – and growing up within that community I learnt that even in the darkest moments there was always a way to get through those emotions, through food & surrounded by company, I guess they utilise the principals of their village. They were a resilient lot, and because I’m proud of my heritage and culture, as one of the Directors I wanted to ensure that I respectfully delivered a hilarious dramedy whilst also peeling back some layers that expose the tragicomic situations of all three generations.