"This excellent film fills a real gap in our understanding of the complexity of the Italian immigration experience… It is a must see!" Carol L. McKibben, Historian, Stanford University
Italians first came to California in large numbers with the Gold Rush. While most found little gold, they did find a “mother lode” (the rich vein of gold that the gold miners sought) in farming, fishing, commerce and making wine.
“Finding the Mother Lode” documents the experience of Italian immigrants in California, which was markedly different from that of their compatriots elsewhere in the United States. Through stories set in seven Italian communities throughout California, this film examines how economic and social mobility became possible for many Italians in the Golden State. It is also a look at how immigrant identity is maintained and transformed as immigrants become assimilated into mainstream America.
The current film is a follow-up to the filmmakers’ critically acclaimed “Pane Amaro/Bitter Bread” (2009) on the Italian immigration to the East Coast. “Finding the Mother Lode” too, is based on extensive research and weaves together oral histories by community members with scholarly analyses which provide the larger historical context.