Welcome to Italy

The story starts with one of the possible Italian scenarios: a cultural centre that is going to close. The personal events of the characters revolve around the fate of a radio station, a place, a home, a hope for the reconstruction of true democracy, a value to be defended with nails and teeth. In this way, the Palestinian Assad, leader and speaker of Radio Baobab, becomes the reflection of a great metaphor for freedom, to give voice to those seeking for a fertile ground for planting new roots. "Welcome to Italy" looks at the reality of integration, inserted in a new and experimental change of perspective that intends to transform the figure of the immigrant from mere object of the news, into active participant in the construction and dissemination of the news itself.

The story is set in Rome, in a welcoming ethnical environment, home to Radio Baobab, run by a group of second-generation immigrants: the Palestinian Assad, the Ukrainian journalist Luba, the Philippine Jeffrey in the radio control room, the Peruvian Milagros, the Somali Jamal, and the globetrotter actor Bashir. The radio station, however, is in serious danger: it was approved the demolition of its building to create a fee-paying car park. Our protagonists are subject to direct attacks by the citizens of the neighborhood, as a protest against immigrants.

The personal events of all the characters - love, disaffection, conflicts and reconciliations - are interwoven with the destiny of the radio station, that they all defend with their nails and especially with their heart. Even Giorgio, an Italian man arrested by the police and sentenced to three months of social work in the radio station, for participating in a stone-throwing against the building. Giorgio, in his evolution, will tell us about the most significant history of integration. With him we enter the difficult, sometimes paradoxical daily lives of immigrants, who must toil for everything, absolutely everything: even the right to be considered at the same level as the others.

  • Terry Paternoster
    Director
  • Donatella Altieri
    Writer
  • Andrea Beluto
    Writer
  • Andrea Cancellario
    Writer
  • Federico Cervigni
    Writer
  • Anna Moretti
    Writer
  • Terry Paternoster
    Writer
  • Antonio Riscietti
    Writer
  • Donatella Altieri
    Producer
  • Daniel Zaggay
    Producer
  • Emanuel Caserio
    Key Cast
  • Irma Carolina Di Monte
    Key Cast
  • Maziar Firouzi
    Key Cast
  • Daniele Monterosi
    Key Cast
  • Amin Nour
    Key Cast
  • Ania Rizzi Bogdan
    Key Cast
  • Benjamin Vasquez Barcellano jr
    Key Cast
  • Amir Issaa
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Television, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 26 minutes 49 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 18, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    60,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
    Italy
  • Country of Filming:
    Italy
  • Language:
    Italian
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Rome
    April 17, 2016
    Rome Web Awords
    Merit Awords
Director Biography - Terry Paternoster

Terry Paternoster was born in 1979 in Milan. After her diploma in Dramatic Arts she gets a degree in Dramatic Arts and Sciences – Theatre and Performing Arts in Sapienza University. She then starts her professional career in theatre. She obtains many acknowledgments as best actress and director: a prize for Radio Rai Microfono di Cristallo, The Prize Scenario per Ustica, The Prize Napoli Fringe Festival, Rome Web Awods, Imola per il Teatro Prize, Chiave d’Argento given to her by the president of jury Roberto Herlitzka. The Prize “In Breve” Teatro Puccini di Firenze. She publishes several books: in 2011 with Arduino Sacco Editore: “Lo pozzo Magico” (The Magic Well) / in 2010 “Meridioni nel Mondo” (Souths in the World) Antologia Il Federiciano (Aletti Editore) / 2010 “Prega che torna” (Pray that he’ll return) Antologia Passim – Premio Letterario Panchina. In 2011 she writes “Al di qua della strada” (On this side of the Road) selected as one of the best pieces foe publishing in the Anthology of Premio Internazionale Mario Luzi (taken care by the omonima Fondazione con l’alto Patrocinio del Presidente della Repubblica). This acknowledgment is highly recognized and given to the most important exponents of culture in Italy and abroad. She is founder, president and artistic director of INTERNOENKI (Social Promoter of Research Association – Independent Theatre Collective since 2010). She directed, wrote and interpreted several plays, last one -In the Name of the Father-, among the finalists for Premio Calcante per la drammaturgia, a very important prize founded by Italian Society Drama Authors (Societa’ Italiana Autori Drammatici) and from S.I.A.E. Other plays are “La zia Vestuta” –The dressed Auntie - (about homosexuality), “Noi brava gente” – We good people - (about the new drugs among young people), “Quando piangono le Capre” – When goats Cry - (about a young soldier who’s brothers die in Afghanistan), “Volevo essere come loro” – I wanted to be like them - (about female infibulations), “Paola s’e’ fatta fregare” – Paola has been tricked - , “La Iatta Mammona” – The Mammona Cat - (from a real reports).

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Director Statement

"Welcome to Italy" has been a big gamble, an adventure began with a challenge: writing and shooting a web series dedicated to second generation immigrants. I have mainly been working for theaters, thus writing a web series was not one of my main artistic priorities.
The thing that scared me the most was the delicate subject and the limited time available: I only had one month to get an idea, writing and directing 8 episodes of 10 minutes each.
To my nature I do not follow trends but needs, and since I started I felt that this was not at all a simple challenge, but a liability; it was an absolutely necessary action, and I was in charge of respecting the opportunity I was offered.
For far too long I had felt stuck into the illusion of a "virtual community", as the illusion of being in a group while in front of a smartphone or a pc. Welcome to Italy has put again into play a vision of change, and it tells that it is still possible to come together, it is still possible to contrast the dynamics of a system that considers us smaller and smaller and more and more alone, it tells that it is still possible to make something happen.
Here something happened, resulting into an union movement, where everyone has felt like being, at one point, a part of a large "us."
Many people have come together around this responsibility, which I felt at first as only mine, a responsibility that has become a collective struggle against time.
And a little miracle happened. I had the opportunity to share my vision with several working groups that have accompanied me up to the online broadcasting of the web series, making me rediscover the value of a word that I had almost forgot: MEETING. "I am because we are", says an old African saying, and "Experience is a school where a man learns what a big fool he has been" (this instead said Josh Billings, from the heights of his flawless American humor).

Meeting the communities

The mediators of eight immigrants' communities in Rome have collaborated in the selection of the informational priorities and of the communication codes to be used.
Thanks to the positive debate with them, it was possible to make the real needs of each community stand out, in order to transfer them conscientiously to the group of screenwriters who accompanied me in all the stages of the writing process - an additional and valuable opportunity to "meet together" and reflect upon the infinite and possible narrative reworking on the contents acquired by the communities.

The Screenplay

The story starts with one of the possible Italian scenarios: a cultural centre that is going to close. The personal events of the characters revolve around the fate of a radio station, a place, a home, a hope for the reconstruction of true democracy, a value to be defended with nails and teeth. In this way, the Palestinian Assad, leader and speaker of Radio Baobab, becomes the reflection of a great metaphor for freedom, to give voice to those seeking for a fertile ground for planting new roots. "Welcome to Italy" looks at the reality of integration, inserted in a new and experimental change of perspective that intends to transform the figure of the immigrant from mere object of the news, into active participant in the construction and dissemination of the news itself.

Working with the actors

The work with the actors was another important moment of the journey. I tried to transfer to each of them the importance of revealing little by little the secret that animates each character, in order to keep alive both the relationship with the viewer and the curiosity that came out of what was not openly said. In fact, today the children of foreign parents are about a million, and we cannot pretend nothing is happening. In ten years the numbers are likely to grow, and these are the "second generations of immigrants". They are the new Italians, an army that does not forget its roots but that wants to grow here, with the same duties and the same rights as everyone else's.
I feel that I have chosen an amazing cast, made up of extraordinary actors, who evoked with confidence the right emotional temperature, fully hitting the goal: treating the subject with the right balance of biting humor and valuable depth.
I'm an art director, but first and foremost an attentive spectator of life, and every day I discover that additional little bit that encourages me to go ahead, with curiosity and optimism, despite of the neglect of a (worldwide) political system that seems to have triggered the self-destruction mechanism. A catastrophic vision supported by a hint of objectivity, that I hope and wish to drop out as soon as possible.

An ironic title
"Welcome to Italy" - An ironic title, summarizing the endless contradictions of a Country like Italy. It is not just a web series, it is a work that has united so many people with different cultures, including the Italian one, creating a spontaneous and genuine intercultural relationship.
It's a social outcry, a gesture of association, that wants to unite populations and people divided by imaginary geopolitical boundaries, in a single multi-ethnic and multicultural society.
And to all those who keep watching the end of a mirage, I say: "Brothers, Welcome to Italy."