Directors' Bios

Afro-Napoli United (Loro di Napoli) - Pierfrancesco Li Donni

Pierfrancesco Li Donni was born in Palermo and studied editing at the Cineteca di Bologna. He worked with Paolo Pisanelli on the film Ju Tarramutu and started the first Italian web radio originating from a mental health center. He has worked with Repubblica TV and Sky TV, and has made videos for RAI and for Fox4dev. Among his films are two that delve into the years of Mafia massacres in Palermo, his debut feature, Il Secondo Tempo, and the short film Sempre Vivi.  In 2016 he made the TV documentary Prima Cosa Buongiorno.


Anna (Per amor vostro) - Giuseppe Gaudino

Giuseppe M. Gaudino (Pozzuoli) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples and from Rome’s National Film School. Among his most important films, he made Aldis in 1984 (Berlinale Forum and Venice Film Festival) considered “a masterpiece of merging audiovisual techniques” and Round the Moons Between Earth and Sea in 1997 (screened in Venice and winner of the Tiger Award in Rotterdam). With Isabella Sandri, he co-directed Scalo a Baku (2003), Maquilas (2004), Kabulrama - Storie d'armi e di piccoli eroi (2008), and Per questi stretti morire (2010). With Anna, presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2015, Valeria Golino won the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress.


The Beginners (Alaska) - Claudio Cupellini

Claudio Cupellini (Camposampiero, Padova) is a director and a screenwriter. He made his directorial debut in 1999 with the short film Le diable au vélo. In 2003 his short Chi ci ferma più was part of the collective film Sei pezzi facili. In 2006 he directed an episode for the film 4-4-2, Il Gioco più bello del mondo. In 2009 his first feature-length film Lessons in Chocolate won the N.I.C.E. City of Florence Award and in 2010 his second feature A Quiet Life was presented at the Rome International Film Festival, receiving the Marc’Aurelio d’Argento Award for Best Actor (Toni Servillo) and three nominations for the 2011 David di Donatello. In 2014, Cupellini directed the television series Gomorrah with Stefano Sollima and Francesca Comencini, based on journalist Roberto Saviano's eponymous non-ficion book.


Luca Lucini (Milan) started his career by self-producing small experimental productions, while shooting a number of music videos for various artists, finally becoming a director for advertising. After his first short Diana's Smile in 2004, he successfully directed his first feature-length film Three Steps Over Heaven, followed by The Perfect Man (2005), Love, Soccer and Other Catastrophes, Just a Father (2008), and Just Married (2009). In November 2010, he released The Woman of My Life, followed in 2015 by a documentary about the Teatro alla Scala, The Temple of Wonders. In 2015, he directed Leonardo Da Vinci - The Genius in Milan and Best Enemies Forever.


The Italian Cultural Institute and New Italian Cinema Events (N.I.C.E) welcome all journalists and media representatives to New Italian Cinema, which runs from November 16 – 20, 2016 at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco. Larsen Associates handles all Festival press accreditation and is the contact for any media questions. To be admitted to screenings, journalists and media representatives must be on Larsen Associates’ media list. Those currently on the list need not send a letter requesting accreditation. If you are not on Larsen Associates’ press list, you must have an email sent from your editor or producer that confirms your assignment to cover New Italian Cinema and indicates the proposed date(s) your coverage will appear in print, online, or on the air. After the Festival, we kindly request that you submit your Festival tear-sheet(s), either by mailing in your coverage or providing us with a link to your post or audio/video stream.


Valerio Ciriaci is a New York-based Italian documentary filmmaker. He graduated with a major in Communications from La Sapienza University in Rome, with a thesis on Jean Rouch and ethnofiction. In 2011, he moved to New York City to attend documentary classes at New York Film Academy. In 2012, he co-founded Awen Films and directed two short documentary films, Melodico and Treasure - The Story of Marcus Hook, which were selected by several festivals worldwide. If Only I Were That Warrior is his first feature-length documentary.


Stefano Alpini has a degree in Political Science from the University of Pisa, where he obtained a research doctorate in Visual Sociology. He taught Sociology of Communication at the University of Pisa and the University of Florence. He is an author and director of documentary projects aimed at scientific and social dissemination for the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. He directed the documentary Muzika Rom, which was acknowledged a project of cultural interest by the Cinema Department of Italy’s Ministry of Culture. He was assistant director of the films Sostiene Pereira, Marianna Ucria, and L’amante Perduto, all directed by Roberto Faenza. Alpini was the producer of Paolo Serbandini and Giovanna Massimetti's 211: Anna, a documentary about Russian journalist/human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, shown in competition  at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and winner of the Ilaria Alpi award at the festival of Annecy.


Latin Lover (Latin Lover) - Cristina Comencini

Cristina Comencini (Rome) made her debut as a film actress in 1969, directed by her father Luigi in Giacomo Casanova: Childhood and Adolescence. Her career as a screenwriter started with her father’s Il matrimonio di Caterina (1982) and Merry Christmas ... Happy New Year (1989); she was co-screenwriter of Ennio De Concini’s Four Women's Stories (1986) and co-author along with Suso Cecchi D'Amico of TV movie Heart and History, both directed by Luigi Comencini. In 1988, she made her directorial debut with Zoo, followed by The Amusements of Private Life (1990), The End is Known (1992), Follow Your Heart (1996), Marriages (1998), Free the Fish! (2000), The Best Day of My Life (2002), and Don’t Tell (2005), which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film and premiered at the Venice Film Festival—winning the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress (Giovanna Mezzogiorno). She also made made Black and White (2008) and When the Night (2011).


Edoardo Leo began his career as an actor on stage, screen, and television, becoming well-known to Italian audiences for his role in the sitcom Un Medico in Famiglia. A crucial event in his career was his encounter with director Claudio Fragasso, who directed him in TV movies such as Operazione Odissea and Blindati, and in his first leading role in La banda (2001). 18 Years Later (Special Mention at the Rome Independent Film Festival, 2010 and N.I.C.E’s City of Florence Award, 2010) marked Leo's directorial feature film debut. He also wrote and directed Out of the Blue (2013).In 2014 he starred in the box-office hit I Can Quit Whenever I Want, The Penguin Move and wrote the scriptfor Remember Me?


Paolo Virzì, is a writer, director, and producer from Livorno. He made his directorial debut in 1994 with Living It Up (La bella vita), which was presented at the Venice Film Festival and won the N.I.C.E. City of Florence Award. Among his film credits, Ferie d'Agosto (1995) won the David di Donatello Award for Best Film, and Hard Boiled Egg (Ovosodo) (1997) won the Grand Special Jury prize at the Venice Film Festival and was one of the biggest box-office hits of the year. Human Capital (2014) received awards at the David di Donatello Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival.


Second Spring (Seconda primavera) - Francesco Calogero

Francesco Calogero (Messina) is a law graduate with over twenty years of experience at the Taormina Film Festival and other festivals. In 1987 he directed the feature film La gentilezza del tocco, awarded at the Bellaria Film Festival and with Nanni Moretti's Sacher d’Oro. In 1989 he made Private Screening, and starting in 1995, he worked as a director of opera for Rita ou Le Mari battu, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Norma, La Sonnambula. His filmography also includes Nessuno, Cinque giorni di tempesta (awarded in Osaka and Annecy), and Night Watchman. In 2002 he directed the documentary L'implacabile tenente Rossi, followed in 2012 by the short In the Name of the Godfather, a preview to his medium-length film In the Land of the Godfather.


Giorgia Cecere (Castrignano del Capo, Lecce) studied directing at the Centro Sperimentale with Gianni Amelio, with whom she later on worked on Open Doors and The Stolen Children. Thanks to Ermanno Olmi’s lab Ipotesi Cinema, she made the medium-length film Mareterra. She wrote the story and the screenplay for Live Blood and The Miracle, both directed by Edoardo Winspeare. The First Assignment, her first feature film, was presented at the 67th International Venice Film Festival and won the N.I.C.E. City of Florence Award in 2011.


Street Opera (Street Opera) - Haider Rashid

Haider Rashid was born in Florence in 1985 to an Iraqi father and an Italian mother. At 19, he moved to London to study film and shot his documentary Between Two Lands. He then made Tangled Up in Blue, the first Italo-Iraqi co-production, which was released theatrically in the UK and screened in more than 15 international film festivals, winning awards at the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai and the I've Seen Films International Film Festival in Milan. His second feature film, Silence: All Roads Lead to Music, about a group of international musicians, has been described by Variety as “beautifully and masterfully constructed.” With Street Opera, he received the special DOC mention at the Nastri d’Argento.


Them Who? (Loro Chi?) - Fabio Bonifaci and Francesco Miccichè

Fabio Bonifacci is from Bologna. In 1998, he made his debut in film as a screenwriter, with the story and screenplay for Let's Mambo!  Scripts for Tandem, Radish Pale, Night Bus and Lessons in Chocolate soon followed. In 2008, he published his first novel Love, Soccer and Other Catastrophes, an adaptation of his screenplay for Luca Lucini’s film of the same name. In 2009, he won a Nastro d'Argento for Best Subject with two comedies Different From Whom? and We Can Do That. More recently, he has written the screenplay for Welcome to the North, The Unlikely Prince, and Welcome Mr. President! In 2015, he made his directorial debut with Them Who?

Francesco Miccichè is from Rome. His first short film, Forbidden Kisses (1997), was presented at the Venice Film Festival, winning several awards. After working on a number of TV shows, he made a documentary about his filmmaker father in 2013, Lino Miccichè, My father, involving some of the most influential Italian film directors and critics and winning several awards, including a Special Mention at the Nastro d'Argento. In 2015, he co-directed Them Who?, alongside Fabio Bonifacci.


Gabriele Mainetti was born in Rome and graduated in Film History and Criticism from the University La Sapienza in Rome.  He then attended the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in New York. He started his acting career in a number of TV shows, while writing successful screenplays, such as the short Basette (2008), which he also directed and presented in over 50 festivals, winning awards for Best Short at La25a Ora Festival and a special mention for its Screenplay and Best Actor at the Nastri d’Argento. His short film Tiger Boy won the Nastro d’Argento in 2013, while They Call Me Jeeg (2016) received seven David di Donatello awards, including Best Producer and Best New Director.

Follow us on: