Ermanno Olmi was born in 1931. He moved to Milan as a young man to enrol in the city’s Academy of Dramatic Art. To make a living, he worked for EdisonVolta, where between 1953 to 1961, he directed about thirty documentaries including La diga sul ghiacciaio (1953), Tre fili fino a Milano (1958) and Un metro è lungo cinque (1961). His cinema debut came with Il tempo si è fermato (1959), a feature film about the friendship between the guard at a dam and a student. In 1977 Olmi made his masterpiece, L'albero degli zoccoli, which won prestigious awards. In the following years, his work was acclaimed by both public and critics alike. After Centochiodi (2007), Olmi announced that he would no longer make fiction films but would return to his first love, documentaries. The following year, he was awarded a Career Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.