Article Novato Advance 092007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Novato’s Hometown Newspaper Since 1922


Nicki Scioli, background, works on the
computer while her parents Christine and Don Scioli check out
footage in the office of their San Marin Drive home.

Our Town: Filmmaking is a family affair

By Jamie Oppenheim Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:01 PM PDT



Think Bonny and Clyde with a twist: Don Scioli shoots and
Christine Scioli plots.

But the Sciolis aren’t nihilistic
robbers – they’re filmmakers.

For 27 years, the Novato couple
has had their hands in everything from political videos, commercial
ads and documentaries to “The Beckoning,” a feature-length
horror film the family created.

Their production company, ZAN
media, named after their three children Zach, Alexandra and Nicki,
exists within the walls of their San Marin Drive home and it truly
is a family affair.

Don Scioli got his start in the film
business after attending the University of Southern California’s
film school. Christine was practicing law before Don convinced her
they could make a living filmmaking.

Once Don landed a deal
with Weinstock’s department store in Sacramento, Christine began to
see the possibilities.

“Our very first check was for
$7,000. The second check was for $111,000. It didn’t all go to us,
it went to the crew and the actors, but the fact that you could
deposit it in the bank before it went to everybody felt great,”
Christine said.

Their daughter Nicki, who is their associate
producer, came up with the idea of creating a documentary on North
Bay winemakers a little over a year ago after studying wine business
at Sonoma State University.

From that idea grew, “A State
of Vine,” a 60-minute feature documentary on the wine industry.

The film features interviews with famed race car driver Mario
Andretti, founder of Andretti Winery in Napa and Fred Franzia, maker
of “Two Buck Chuck,” among other wine celebrities.

culture, something often associated with exclusivity and
sophistication, rears its humble head in the film, Scioli said.

“(The winemakers) are extremely nice and gregarious – not at all
snobby,” he added.

Already in the works are plans for a
sequel to the documentary.

Christine said she and Nicki are
thinking of creating a documentary on the women of wine.

isn’t always ros for the Sciolis.

While ideas of wine
delicately float in their heads they are also faced with harsh
realities of making a living through their commercial public-service

One such project is a documentary on
methamphetamine addiction they’re producing for the Mendocino County
Sheriff’s Department.

Working on the film was eye-opening,
Don Scioli said.

Part of the film involved interviews with
three female inmates, all arrested for methamphetamine-related
charges. Some had lost custody of their children, Christine said.

Also on their plate is a public service video on a vaccine for the
human papillomavirus commissioned by Marin County Supervisor Judy
Arnold, a recruitment video for the Novato Fire Protection District
and video work for Comcast.

Giving back to the community and
using their creativity, is part of what keeps the Sciolis going. But
Christine admitted, “The complete diversity is the best.”