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(once upon a time there was the tree)

the disapearance of olivetrees

in southern Italy

a Film by René Worni

time: 90 min –  IT/engl



c o n t e n t

In Salento, in the south of Puglia, millions of olive trees die. Like huge cemeteries, abandoned olive groves dominate the peninsula. Millennial giants fall victim to an insidious drought. In 2013, a worldwide feared bacterium, Xylella Fastidiosa, was discovered.

At the end of 2017, 54,000 hectares and 6.5 million olive trees were affected. With them, the livelihood and identity of the Salento people is gradually dying. Ecodrama started long before Xylella. It is representative of changes that can be observed in many places in the world: extinction of species, degradation of biodiversity, poisoned soils, water shortages, desertification...


The film shows the feelings and fears of people who find themselves between the fronts of big producers, politics, the EU, environmental activists and science.

o r i g i n

The author of the film started shooting in the fall of 2017. The goal was to bring people to face the ecological catastrophe on film. After several stays over a period of almost three years, a framework with numerous chapters was created piece by piece, which are organically connected to each other.

"Working on the film was a journey with numerous stations and meetings, on which I learned a lot about nature, plants and animals. And about people, their destructive influence on the environment often knows no bounds. Despite all this I have found persons, who have not lost their hope".

In the past, René Worni was a journalist for the Swiss press and for various NGOs. He was co-founder and was part of several theater and music projects. He has made several documentary short films. “C0era una volta l'albero” is his first documentary feature film. 

The film received a nomination for the "Opera Prima" award (best debut film) at the 56th Solothurn Film Festival 2021. It was awarded the "Green Award" at the Apulia Web Fest 2021 in Lecce.

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Nomination OPERA PRIMA - 56. Solothurner Filmtage - 2021-2.png
OFFICIAL SELECTION - 56. Solothurner Filmtage - 2021-2.png

p r o i e c t i o n s


  • 15. 04. 2024 / CINEMA 2520 / La Neuveville



  • 02. 09. 2023 / PARK AM SEE / K & R RÜFENACHT  / Ligerz

  • 06. 08. 2023 / ATELIER MIRIAM VAUCHER / Twann

  • 28. 06. 2023 / PALAZZO DUCALE / Presicce-Acquarica

  • 19. 06. 2023  / ARCI - BIBLIOTECA DI SARAJEVO / Maglie


  • 17. 10. 2022 / BREITSCH-TRÄFF / Bern

  • 04. 10. 2022 / McGILL UNIVERSITY / Montreal / Canada

  • 25. + 28. 08. 2022 / KAMO / Sancey le Grand / France

  • 14. 07. 2022 / DOMAINE DE RESSEGAYRE / Anthé (Villeneuve sur Lot) / France




 stream for free 

version IT/engl.

© for private use only


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