Mister Wonderland

2019 / 53 minutes

TRAILER [Italiano]  /  TRAILER [English]

U.S. Premiere:

Wed, Aug. 19th – 8:30pm

New Haven Documentary Film Festival

“Mister Wonderland” recounts the remarkable story of Sylvester Z. Poli, a humble artisan who emigrated from Italy to America at the end of the 19th century — only to become the greatest theater impresario of his time. The film chronicles his journey from rural Tuscany to the bright lights of the Roaring Twenties, revealing how a migrant’s ingenuity shaped the movie-going experience as we know it. Crossing continents and generations, “Mister Wonderland” sets out to find what remains today of Sylvester’s theaters and the communities they used to serve.


Festival dei Popoli  /  Nov. 6, 2019  /  Florence, Italy


• Winner, ‘Il Cinemino’ Award – Festival dei Popoli 2019

• Grant winner 2017 – APQ Sensi Contemporanei Toscana per il Cinema

IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program


Produced by Awen Films

In collaboration with Infinity Blue, Lucca Film Festival e Europa Cinema

With the support of Fondazione Paolo Cresci per la Storia dell’emigrazione e italiana, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca

With the support of Programma Sensi Contemporanei Toscana per il Cinema

Fiscally sponsored by Independent Filmmaker Project

Directed by Valerio Ciriaci

Written by Valerio Ciriaci, Luca Peretti

Cinematographer Isaak J. Liptzin

Editor Andrea Fumagalli

Original Score Francesco Venturi

Animation Avansguardi

Sound design Luigi Porto

Executive Producer Nicola Borrelli

Producers Isaak Liptzin, Valerio Ciriaci, Luca Peretti, Maurizio Bernardi, Cristina Gianni


Italian Cultural Institute, New York

The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College)

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò (New York University)

Provincia di Lucca

Comune di Coreglia Antelminelli

Comune di Gallicano

Associazione Lucchesi nel Mondo