Why The  Finellis?


Historically, comedy has thrived during periods of the greatest uncertainty and war. A good example of this phenomenon were the escapist entertainments produced in Hollywood during the Great Depression and the World Wars. Since the Presidency of Donald J. Trump, there has been a great deal of unease and uncertainty across the globe. Trump's personal communication style and political inexperience caused fear, anxiety, unrest, and turmoil both economically, politically, and in the realms of environmental and social causes both in the United States and worldwide. Since his Presidency, personal and political discourse has sunk to all-time lows. In the moment, the general population is reeling with insecurity caused by the wars in the Ukraine and the Gaza Strip; the continuing turmoil in the UK and EU caused by the “Brexit” crisis; and the looming threat of global warming. Audiences are searching for certainty, for comfort, and for hope.  

The Finellis tells the story of Tony Finelli, a once-famous singer who never quit, and who remained the “eternal optimist” regardless of whatever life has thrown at him. Tony is a middle-aged man who, like Rocky Balboa of Rocky fame, lost everything but still stands up, again and again, to fight for his dreams.

Since its inception, The Finellis was modeled after the very successful template of the legendary writer/producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, etc.) Like Lear's great comedies, The Finellis mixes both comedic and dramatic elements while tackling such “hot topics” as racism, age discrimination, sexism, and LGBTQIA+ rights. For example, The Finellis features a storyline with a transgender woman of color, using comedic situations as starting points to develop an intelligent discourse about trendy “hot topics,” while still remaining a family-friendly entertainment.

The universe of The Finellis was written and created by Mark Janicello and many of the stories, characters and situations have been culled from his own life. He is a man with a very unique, quite extraordinary life experience and a completely distinct point of view. 

PHOTO:  (l to r) Timo Merkhoffer, Mark Janicello and George Pollock as Juergen Drahtseil, Tony Finelli and Pete Finelli in The Finellis Movie

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