The Mulberry Affair – Europeana Content Mashup

Ever heard the story of the mysteriously disappearing mulberry trees?

The Mulberry Affair is a mockumentary about missing reporter Robert Petillo and the finding of his documentary videotapes about the sudden disappearance of mulberry trees. The videos reveal, aside from the story, the prodigious properties of that fruit and the existence of an international conspiracy that has been boycotting its diffusion. The disappearance of the reporter seems to be related to his own investigation after visiting his birthplace, Urbania  in Central Italy, and noticing there were no longer any mulberry trees around his house.

Europeana and Mulberries

The movie mashes up videos, images and historical records under public domain or Creative Commons license (CC BY – SA 3.0 / CC BY 4.0.) from Europeana . Many of the inserted videos are reportages from the Twenties, provided by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, and have been used by simulating old home movies. In other points of the story the audiovisual materials recreate traces of the historical conspiracy against the mulberry: intelligence agencies, scientific labs, nursing homes. Historic sources, such as photographs, portraits, poems and manuscripts have been inserted to reconstruct the story – true and false – of the tree and its fruit.

Mulberry in Europeana
Sourced through Europeana: Aardbeienpluk, Three men carousing beneath a mulberry tree, First cooperative freezer in the Alblasserwaard
Incubation Trailer

The Mulberry Affair trailer is the first stage of product enhancement in the frame of the incubation program of the Europeana Food and Drink OpenLab Cultura (Uniroma1 – Digilab):  Open Lab Cultura incubation aims at supporting videomakers on developing the submitted video for Europeana Food and Drink Second Challenge into a professional product.

The incubation package provides training with experts in storytelling languages and practices, licensing, marketing and business. Moreover, the audio video sector of Europeana Food and Drink Open Lab “Cultura” is giving support for improving videomakers’ technical skills in video production and postproduction up to the creation of a new and high quality release. In fact, next incubation stage will concern the revision and the optimization of the entire video in its long version.


By the way – the fake documentary ends with an appeal for useful information to solving the mystery of the missing reporter. Check out the full video  and  share your personal memories of mulberry trees and mulberry fruits use.

By Raffaella Marandola and Angelika Leitner