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“Bella Ciao!.. a poem to the notion that art and resistance nourish each other.”   – Adrian Mack, The Georgia Straight

Taran J. Kootenhayoo as Niki in Bella Ciao!

Taran J. Kootenhayoo is no longer with us. Our loss is immeasurable. He was a gifted and disciplined collaborator, a warm and generous friend. Words don’t capture our deep respect and affection for him. We wish him well on his journey.

Carolyn Combs’ ensemble drama is a film about home and displacement, isolation and solidarity. Set during the arc of one day, the film stars Carmen Aguirre as Constanza, a refugee who fled the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile, and now calls East Vancouver home. Bella Ciao! weaves the stories of her friends and neighbours – activists, artists, hustlers and coffee house consiglieri – to capture how traditions of solidarity renew across cultures and generations. Viva East Van!


“BELLA CIAO! is an urban tale set at the interface of the Latin American, Indigenous and Italian communities in my neighborhood. The work evolved slowly, and I was privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with an exceptional ensemble cast (here). I am proud of their work and what we have accomplished.”

Director Carolyn Combs working on set

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