Costa Concordia – Chronicle of a Disaster (2022, SKY, RAI)

User-generated content can be an important part of good story telling. For the ZEITSPRUNG documentary about the sinking of the Costa Concordia, I sought contact with many of the cruise ship’s passengers at the time to get exclusive video footage of the dramatic night. It was a very demanding production in which the tragic fates of the passengers could never be left out of the picture.

Story: At around 9:45 p.m. on January 13, 2012, the cruise ship Costa Concordia rams a rock off the coast of the small Italian island of Giglio. Hours later, the last survivor is evacuated – but for 32 people, any help comes too late.

As captain, Francesco Schettino was responsible for the 4229 people on the Costa Concordia. He instructed his crew to sail past the coast of Giglio for the traditional „bow.“ When his ship rammed the rock, he did not initially activate the distress call despite the incoming water. Mario Pellegrini, the deputy mayor of Giglio, went to the coast and had one of the lifeboats take him to the capsized ship. He encountered an empty bridge and disoriented crew members. Captain Schettino is already ashore by that time. Mario Pellegrini remains on the ship until all survivors are rescued.

Passengers tell of the night of the accident

Among the passengers were friends Marcel Zuhn and Matthias Hanke from Germany, in the interview they recall the dramatic events. They tell how they suddenly noticed a vibration during dinner, how the ship became increasingly tilted and more and more water penetrated, and how they were able to save themselves to the outside with the last resort. Passenger Giuseppe Miccoli reports how people desperately fought for a place in one of the lifeboats. Using the ship’s voice recorder recordings and official radio traffic, the film meticulously reconstructs the dramatic hours on the bridge of the Costa Concordia. With reenactments, previously unpublished archival footage and actual eyewitness interviews, „Costa Concordia – Chronicle of a Disaster“ examines this night and, with new insights, gets to the bottom of the question: how could such a disaster occur in modern cruising?

Production Company: ZEITSPRUNG Pictures