For the 47 mud angels that attended, Breanna’s film made the event and their night. They were very emotional. Every angel present at the event last night at the FSU Florence study center implored me to send her their thanks.
On the night of November 4, 1966 the Arno overflowed its banks, reaching 10 feet above street level and filling many of Florence’s historic streets, museums, churches, and libraries with mud. After the disaster, the FSU students elected to stay in the city, in the most uncomfortable conditions, and assist with the massive spontaneous cleanup effort.
Citizens and foreigners living in Florence took to the streets, museums, and libraries to salvage masterpieces and manuscripts from the mud, for which they earned the title Gli Angeli di Fango. A New York Times article on the anniversary of the flood describes the endeavor, and the roll of the 121 students and faculty from Florida State University, one of the first American colleges to start a study-abroad program in Florence.
Bruner spent the summer of 2016 on the FSU Florence Program, experiencing the city and its cultural treasures as other FSU students have done for the last five decades. During that time she conducted research for her documentary. She presented that research and a trailer for the video at the President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence in September. A parallel project documenting her own experiences in Florence won the International Programs Annual Summer Video Contest. International Programs will use the short film to promote the study-abroad experience and to assist students in the orientation process.