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A New Home Celebrates St. Louis’ Bosnian Community

A New Home

New Documentary to Premiere at 2022 St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase

A New Home, the latest documentary from Director/Producer Joseph Puleo and Executive Producer Rio Vitale, will premiere at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase on July 17, 5pm at Washington University’s Brown Hall. In a follow up to America's Last Little Italy: The Hill, their new film examines the story of Bosnian War refugees fleeing to St. Louis, Missouri, 30 years ago. With the war in Ukraine currently raging and thousands of its citizens displaced and seeking new homes, the plight of the Bosnians remains as relevant as ever.

When Bosnians fled their homes to escape the war in 1992, many ended up in St. Louis, largely because of its affordable housing and available jobs. The new arrivals began assimilating, starting their own businesses and transforming a once dilapidated South City neighborhood in the shadow of the Bevo Mill into a thriving “Little Bosnia.” Over the ensuing three decades, an estimated 70,000 Bosnians have migrated to St. Louis, making it the most inhabited area for Bosnians outside of Bosnia itself.  A New Home tells the story of these refugees' perseverance and determination to not only start life over but prosper.

Pre-production on A New Home began in the spring of 2021 with hours of VHS footage and more than a thousand photographs generously donated to the project to utilize during the editing process. The film also includes interviews with luminaries including Patrick McCarthy, author of After the Fall: Srebrenica Survivors in St. Louis; Ben Moore, Senior Researcher at the Center for Bosnian Studies; Anna Crosslin, past president of the International Institute of St. Louis; Francis Slay, former Mayor of St. Louis; former Missouri congressman Russ Carnahan; and Doug Moore, a former journalist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as well as 5 Bosnian War survivors and refugees.

 

“This film was made as a complete labor of love,” said Puleo. “To be trusted with telling the harrowing and triumphant story of the Bosnians in St. Louis was not a responsibility that I took lightly. Their courageous resolve inspired me to give this film all I could give and I cannot wait for the opportunity to share this film with them and the St. Louis area.”

 

Similar to their last collaboration, Americas Last Little Italy: The Hill, Puleo and Vitale hope to generate buzz for their latest project via word of mouth and self-distribute. “We’d love to emulate that model with A New Home, ultimately, having the film be available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime,” explains Puleo.

 

About The Creators:

Joseph Puleo, Director/Producer

Joseph Puleo was born on July 13, 1992, in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Lindenwood University and graduated from their school of film in 2014. His short film, Top Son (2016) was a Top 5 finalist in Kevin Hart's LOL Network "Eat My Shorts Competition" where it screened at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. His debut feature-length documentary, America's Last Little Italy: The Hill (2020) was shown on PBS stations across the country and received multiple awards.

Rio Vitale, Executive Producer

Rio Vitale was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has 40 years of experience in the financial brokerage industry. In 2014, Vitale published his first book, St. Louiss The Hill. In 2016, he was knighted by the Italian government for his extensive work in the Italian community. In 2020, Vitale began a new venture into film production, executive producing the award-winning feature-length documentary, Americas Last Little Italy: The Hill. 

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