When Being Born Somewhere DOESN’T Automatically Make You a Citizen

18 IUS SOLI is an upcoming documentary, originated and executed in Italy, which addresses the issue faced by children of immigrants within the country. Italian law governs citizenship by the social policy of “jus sanguinis”, meaning that one’s place of birth does not determine one’s citizenship, but rather this is determined by one’s lineage. So, if a person cannot prove they are the direct descendent (child or grandchild) of an Italian citizen, they are not granted citizenship even if records show they were born on Italian soil, and have lived there all of their life. This means that, if you are the child of immigrants, after you turn 18 you are not recognized as a citizen, and must complete a complicated application for simply the chance to call yourself a citizen of the country in which you grew up, with no guarantee of success.

18 IUS SOLI, directed by Fred Kurwornu, is an attempt to expose the hardship that children of Italian immigrants face. These problems come in the form of technical — not having a passport after 18, and psychological — a feeling of isolation from the very country you’ve come to call home. The documentary sensitively presents the cases of 18 children born in Italy, who’s family lineage ranges from Asian to South American to African, as they discuss the hardships they have faced as a result of Italy’s particular citizenship law. Kuwornu also interviews Italian politicians about the subject, in order to comprehend the law and its effects from all angles. The film was apparently envisioned as a jumping off point for a campaign to create awareness about the citizenship situation, with the ultimate goal being to inspire a change in the law’s structure.

Check out the preview below 18 IUS SOLI, a fascinating documentary that has been shown recently in several film festivals, and for which screenings can be requested here at the film’s website.