Back from Delhi.

Rome, 6th February 2017

I came back from India few days ago. The documentary shooting has been an emotional rollercoaster for the whole crew. We’ve been dwelling deep in some unbearable atrocities as torture, child abuse, violations of the basic human rights, everything that surrounds the specific crime of acid attacks.

I’ve seen the slums of Delhi, of Haryana, of Bhajanpura, places where human life is worth nothing, where stray kids and dogs roam the streets with no place to go.
I’ve seen the luxurious palaces of Gurgaon, where wealthy families live sheltered in shiny oasis protected by armed guards.
I’ve seen the dirty rooftops of Agra, the grey skyscrapers of New Friends Colony rising from the smog, the markets and the villages and the cows wandering on the highways.
I’ve seen the disfigured face of a two years old child attacked with acid and thrown in a dumpster because his mother refused the sexual proposals of a neighbour.
I’ve seen a woman who became blind after an acid attack thirteen years ago, forced to live in the darkness since then: as she said “all light, all colours were suddenly gone forever.”
I’ve seen a twenty years old girl who was forced into child marriage at the age of ten, abused by her husband and her mother in law since then, even after she gave birth to two children, and finally attacked with acid by her husband. Now she is forced to keep living with him cause he threatens to take away their children from her.
I’ve seen a woman abused by her husband for years, finally attacked with acid while she was pregnant. She got a miscarriage because of the wounds, then her husband escaped with their firstborn child, and since then they have never been found. She lost everything and was left blind in one eye, disfigured, heartbroken.
I’ve seen a brave father confessing that someone in a hospital suggested him to kill his own teenage daughter after she was disfigured with acid, because she was “ruined, useless, no one will marry her”.
I’ve seen a skinny female dog feeding her puppies inside a dumpster, her eyes full of despair.

I’ve seen so much desperation. In some moments I felt my whole being cracking up and falling into pieces.
But I knew we had a mission: to tell the stories of this brave women and children and fathers and brothers who decided to fight and not succumb to their destiny.
We had the mission to tell that there is hope even the darkest places.
This thought, and the restless support of the crew kept me going: the courage of Ria and Tania from NGO Make Love Not Scars, the passion and talent of Chiara, Greg, Alejandro, Karan, Thomas, and everyone who helped us around Delhi.

We accomplished our mission. Two weeks flied, and time came to get back home. The new chapter of the documentary adventure starts now: editing, post production, festivals submissions.
We’ll make the world hear those stories. Stories of despair and darkness, from where the light of Hope arises, undefeated.

In the upcoming days and weeks I’ll post more photos of my trip, both reportage and backstage of the documentary shooting.
I’ll end my post with a portrait I took in the poor area of Bhajanpura: a little girl with piercing eyes.
bhajanpura_girl

India, documentary shooting | day 2

Delhi, India

Today we shot some inspiring, touching interviews for our documentary about acid attacks: a prominent doctor passionate about women’s rights, a lawyer specialised in human rights who wishes for a revolution, a woman who got attacked when she was only thirteen years old and has been fighting for justice since twenty years cause her attacker has influential friends and never went to jail, an acid attack victim who never got justice and became an activist…

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Delhi, morning fog

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Shooting Anupama’s story

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Me and Ria Sharma, founder of NGO Make Love Not Scars

India, documentary shooting | Day 1

Dehli, India

I’m here to direct a documentary about acid attacks, focusing on the activity of NGO Make Love Not Scars. We will spend time with many survivors, listening to their stories and witnessing their everyday lives, and will interview highly qualified specialists (lawyers, doctors, human right activists). We just finished the first day of shooting. I’m so grateful to be here, visiting India for the first time, and getting to know extraordinary people involved in human rights. The whole team is passionated and incredibly talented. Together we will accomplish our mission of exploring this dramatic issue in a new light: with hope, courage, and most of all, trusting that a better future is possible. It’s up to us to create it.

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Our D.O.P. Greg Harriott shooting beautiful Sapna, acid attack survivor, who performed for us a traditional indian dance.

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Sapna

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Alejandro (Greg’s assistant), Greg and me setting the frame for the interviews

The sky over Kandahar

As we are flying over Afghanistan, the stars shine bright. Right in front of my eyes, the Orion belt. I wonder if anyone around there is looking at us.

Il cielo sopra Kandahar

Mentre voliamo sopra l’Afghanistan, le stelle scintillano fuori l’oblo’. Proprio davanti ai miei occhi, la cintura di Orione. Mi domando se qualcuno, da quelle parti, ci stia osservando.
nightlights

Invito al viaggio

voyage (n.)
c. 1300, from Old French voiage “travel, journey, movement, course, errand, mission, crusade” (12c., Modern French voyage), from Late Latin viaticum “a journey” (in classical Latin “provisions for a journey”), noun use of neuter of viaticus “of or for a journey,” from via “road, journey, travel”

Helsinki Airport, 03:47pm

What should you bring on a journey?
Comfortable shoes.
Your favourite camera.
An handshake of melancholy.
A will for silence.

What should you leave home?
Fears (lock them firmly in a closet)

And then, dear friend, abandon yourself to the embrace of the Uncertain: what more promising than that?

*

ita

Aeroporto di Helsinki, 03:47pm

Cosa dovresti portarti in viaggio?
Scarpe comode.
La tua macchina fotografica preferita.
Una manciata di malinconia.
Desiderio di silenzio.

Cosa dovresti lasciare a casa?
Paure (chiudile per bene dentro un armadio)

E poi, caro amico, abbandonati all’abbraccio dell’Incerto: non c’e’ nulla più ricco di promesse.

Music video “Io non mi inchino”

“Io non mi inchino” (“I don’t bow”) is a courageous song against the italian mafia, from the female rock band Le Rivoltelle. Dealing with such a delicate, controversial topic, I decided to represent the mafia through the eyes of the children.
Io non mi inchino

Two bullies “kill” a boy (he represents the numberless journalists, sindacalists and writers killed or threatened by mafia). Then they threaten a group of kids, steal their toys and destroy their little kiosk. Again, a metaphore of the numberless men, women, youth, who saw their shops or small bussiness burned to dust when refusing to pay mafia for their “protection”.
The bullies take the smallest child, the most innocent, and they tie him up like a little Jesus. Then, they get on their knees and pray. It’s a key part of the song. In the south of Italy is common to see the most dangerous mafia killers praying at Church or during the village procession. It shows the hypocricy of people who dedicated their lives to kill, threaten, torture and abuse, and then expect an absolution.
But in the end there is hope for a better future. The children gather together, holding hands, against the bullies. And the bullies disappear, as a bad dream.

I truly believe that innocence can save us from horror and from violence.
There is good in this world, and if we make it grow in the heart of our children, humanity shall know a better tomorrow.

Thanks to the production and to the manager of the band for believing in my script.
Thanks to the outstanding team which made it possible.
My precious assistant director Fausto Romano, DOP Maestro Francesco di Pierro, editor Andrea Bandinelli, art director/stylist Pablo Patane, mua & hair Sabina Pinsone & Martina Camandona, steady operator Simone Lucarelli, and of course all the technicians and assistants.
And a final, big thanks to our amazing protagonists, such incredibly talented boys and girls.

Music Video “Golden Leaves”

A dreamy and melancholic circus fairytale that I wrote and co-directed for russian popstar Lena Katina (ex t.a.t.u.) featuring italian singer Noemi Smorra.
A great adventure with an amazing team! “Golden Leaves” received many awards at Film Festivals all around the world.

Producer: Maqueta – Alessandro Paolinelli

Director: Livia Alcalde & Francesco Sperandeo
Cinematography: Francesco Di Pierro
Editor: Francesco Galli
Production Designer: Daniele Fabretti
Costume Designer: Maria Letizia Della Felice
Make Up & Hair Stylist: Valeria Orlando
Line Producer: Fernando Alba

Assistant Director: Giacomo Di Niro
Focus Puller: Marianna Fratantonio
2nd Assistant Camera: Graziella Piras
Key Grip: Giordano Spadoni
Gaffer: Fabio Policastro
Grip: Pierpaolo Pietropanico
Electrician: Andrea Di Biase
Production Designer Assistant: Virginia Smorra
Production Assistant: Domenico Azzolina
Make Up & Hair Crew: Donatella Alberino, Sara Stile, Stefania Di Cristo, Veronica Gargour, Francesca Beyouty, Antonio Genova, Sabina Pinsone, Lia Favale
Costume Designer Crew: Ambra Onofri, Paola Mazzola
Property Master: Enzo Ferraro

CAST

Young Noemi: Valentina Chierichini
Young Lena: Greta Berguiny
Master of ceremonies: Mirko Dettori
Aerial artists: Elisa Alcalde, Ylenia Cosco
Burlesque dancer: Benedetta Barlone
Clowns: Lorenzo Grilli, Jean Pierre Contri
Jugglers: Matteo Gizzi, Daniel Berguiny

Still Photographer: Alessandro Marchetti, Giacomo Canestrale
Backstage: Max Gordiani – One More Lab
Backstage Editor: Leonardo Mirabilia

MUSIC

Authors: Fernando Alba & Kathleen Hagen

Recorded by: Fabio Ferri, Fabrizio Frezza, Sven Martin, Davide Palmiotto
Edited by: Piero Bernardini
Mixed by: Roberto Rosu
Mastered by: Bruno Gruel

Drums: Marco Rovinelli
Bass: Domenico Azzolina
Piano: Luca Bellanova
Lead Guitar: Simone Gianlorenzi
Acoustic Guitar & Orchestration: Fernando Alba
Strings: Ensamble Dream Team Roma
Concertmaster: Eunice Cangianiello
Director: Emanuele Bossi

SPECIAL THANKS

Noemi & Lena wear: Sonia Lupo Atelier
Make-up products: V)OR – Valeria Orlando
Woman & Bride Magazine: Erika Gottardi, Massimiliano Piccinno
Location: Zoo delle Star
Service: AMG International
Post production: Direct2Brain
Cars: Morini Rent
Press: Lunatik, Comunicazione Globale

Publishing: Limited Music Trade S.r.l.
© Maqueta 2014-2015