Allah is Great

Synopsis: Frank Asmas and Salim are traveling together on the dusty roads of Indian hinterland. Frank is a Danish engineer, Salim a Muslim taxi driver. Their journey will reveal itself to be full of mishaps and inconveniences. Both, belonging to two completely different worlds, encounter difficulties in communication and mutual comprehension. From this discordant situation arises a revelation for Frank.

 

 

 

Andrea Iannetta Allah is Great

 

Director Statement: Allah is Great is a short Road Movie, a simple story, in which I wanted to capture the essence of the 6 years I spent in the Indian subcontinent. In particular, it is an attempt to showcase the absolute faith in humanity and optimism towards life, which I witnessed in this fabulous country.

The film is also a subtle reflection on the role of Islam in the contemporary world.  It is an artistic attempt to give a decisive response to the growing Islamophobia and intolerance we witness today. Allah is Great has been presented in over 20 film festivals worldwide and has won 6 awards across Europe and Asia.

 

Andrea Iannetta Allah is Great

 

 

 

Gewaltfrei und Gleich

Direction and production of the video “Gewaltfrei und Gleich” for TERRE DES FEMMES, BERLIN, focusing on domestic and sexual violence in Germany.

 

The light and her shadows

Set in the backdrop of middle-class Indian society, Avantika, a young Indian girl, develops an intimate relationship with Julia, a young American painter, who is temporarily visiting India. Despite mutual attraction, there is a meandering ambiguity in their relationship. The film depicts the complexities of a relationship between two women, coming from different cultural background. The shadows are not only visible, but also psychological: repressed desires reemerge in the form of dreams and they materializes as art.

 

What Really happened?

Living far away from one’s homeland in an unfamiliar culture, can be an alienating, even a demoralizing experience. The frustration can often provoke unexpected, sometimes violent reactions. Andreas Di Giovanni, a young German filmmaker who is currently in India, finds himself in a perplexing situation and is overcome with a violent instinct. But in the world of “Maya” nothing is certain. Did something really happen or was it all an illusion?

Link: https://vimeo.com/9252999

The Scarf

Synopsis

Berlin, when the winters were still cold!

Nicola, an Italian living in Berlin, forgets his scarf in the cinema. He immediately goes back to get it, but the doors are already closed and the cinema has strict security rules: no one is allowed in after the central lights have been switched off and the doors are locked. Nevertheless Nicola tries to convince the staff’s manager Mr. Özgür (a Turkish-German) to open: It is too cold outside to walk home without a scarf.
But Mr. Özgür, remains tough, the conflict escalates: Nicola against the inflexible German “No”. Of course: Nicola loses. He is oblige to walk home without his scarf and is supposed to get it the next day.

This incident starts Nicole’s journey. While he, supported by his clever girlfriend Sophia, try to sneak through the loopholes of German rules and keep fighting for his scarf, some interesting questions arise that also have to do with identity and sense of belonging: How German must Nicola become in order to adapt in a city like Berlin? What does this conflict reveal about Nicolas’ relationship with Sophia? And is Mr. Özgür really “more German than the Germans”? But most of all, will Nicola see his scarf again?

Based on a true story, DER SCHAL is a funny comedy about the everyday reality of different cultures living together in metropolis like Berlin. The goal is a new “pluricultural” and “plurilinguistic” society, result of the big melting pot who inhabits this city: Is this perhaps the start of a new quintessential European society?

 

Style

The film will be shot in a simple and minimalist style. We are inspired by authors like Guédiguian or Ozu, with a shooting style that gives the actors maximum freedom to express themselves. At the same time DER SCHAL is not an “impro-film”. All scenes will be extensively rehearsed in advance by professional actors.

For the cinematography of the film we will use a high quality camera (ARRI) to give the film a cinematic look.

In terms of sound design, we orientate ourselves to classical music because we want to give our story a timeless dimension. The canon and gigue in D major by Pachelbel has greatly inspired the process of writing the screenplay and we want to use it in the film.

 

Director’s view

A short comedy which simply goes in the right direction!

Despite his “short size”, this project aims to be an innovative one. It is the attempt to accomplish a Cinema which becomes “immediately European”, above the national border.

With a simple based-on-true-events story-plot , the idea is to portray the new pluricultural social reality which can be found today in many area of Europe, especially in big cities. The “thinning” of boarders have favourite the movement throughout the Union: individuals, friends, families, couples with different cultural background live together, speak different languages, creating de facto a sort of meta-national society. Unlike the migratory and multicultural set-ups this new phenomenon has not been yet portrayed much in films and could be an opportunity for the rise of a new European identity.

It is the case of Sophia and Nicola, the protagonists of the film. They are a couple who perceive itself as European more than a German-Italian one and communicate in European english, the only truly neutral territory between the two.

But this process of “shifting of identity” is not without obstacles. Difference in culture are still evident, and can bring to frictions, clashes or misunderstandings. Residuals of the old national-cultur-based-paradigma are still strong and suddenly re-emerge in those moments in which one has difficulties in understanding “the other”.

Incomprehension and disorientation are constant element of this new social environment. The simultaneous use of several languages increases the level of confusion. Memory and capacity of concentrate gets affected. Objects get lost. There is a need for a new equilibrium. Step by step every language starts covering a specific register: there is a language for the love relationship with the partner, a language for the bureaucratic matters and the language which is more instinctive and recondite, to express his most complicate thoughts, or reconnect with the beloved-ones, who live far away.

This and much more can be find in this simple story. But let’s then not forget the best of all ingredients: love, the only real power which can tear down obstacles and barriers and keep the world moving forward!

 

Sengas

A feature documentary about Sengas.
The word “Senga” literally means paternal aunt. Sengas are women responsible for the sexual education of young girls and women approaching the age of marriage. While in the past this task was carried out by members of the family, in modern Uganda, especially in the cities, it has become a profession. Commercial Sengas are technically entrepreneurs, who have seen the opportunity to provide the role of paternal aunts at a fee. One of their tasks is to perform labia pulling, the elongation of the labia minora of the vagina in order to enhance sexual pleasure.
Labia pulling, or stretching (Okukyalira ensiko in Luganda language, which means literally visiting the bushes) is an extremely controversial topic. Some argue that it is a method to enhance sexual pleasure in both men and women. Others believe it is just a myth. And others again consider it to be a harmful practice and a violation of human rights, especially being often practiced on very young girls who are not aware of the reasons, why this is done to them.

Until 2008, the World Health Organization classified labia elongations as a Type IV of Female Genital Mutilation. After further studies it has been re-classified to a “genital modification” practice.

Author’s perspective
While working on several projects challenging FGM in various African countries and in Europe, we got interested in the topic of labia stretching because it is much less known and also for its controversy. After some research on the topic we realized that a better understanding of this practice would only be possible by getting a deeper insight into the general sexual culture of the communities that practice it. That’s how we came to the idea to make a documentary about Sengas, the custodians of this culture.

A project about labia pulling and in general about sexual culture in modern Uganda should be seen as a small piece of a bigger picture. At the center of our artistic research stays the female body. A gender revolution is happening globally, challenging any uncritical conformation to tradition, constituted by its paradigms and norms. Social pressure for changes in the appearance of the female body is a reality which affects all cultures and populations of the world in different ways. The dynamics of roles among genders are a topic without borders which concerns humanity as a whole. In this sense our action is of global interest.

Against All Odds

Synopsis

A fictional film about the touching real life story of Charity N. Her community practices female circumcision as a rite of passage. After joining a boarding school, one day a group of missionaries came to her school with an old 16mm projector and they screened a black and white film about female genital mutilation. The film showed in very direct way the risks of the practice, portraying among other a young girl bleeding to death. After, the missionaries discussed in detail about all the terrible consequences of mutilation. This event was a turning point for Charity and gave her a completely new perspective about a tradition that was very dear to her and her family. She refused to undergo the rite of passage. It was the first time in her village that a girl dared to refuse it. That day her struggle for freedom has begun.

 

Director’s View

Against All Odds (Working Title) is a powerful story about human courage. A film about an exceptional young girl who has the strength to put in doubt the tradition of her community. The courage of challenging unjust aspects of society is both inspiring and contagious, it has a universal appeal and cannot be reduced strictly to the African thematic or gender injustice. Moreover, the encouraging and poignant turn in the end leaves the audience with a sense of hope for a better future.

 

 

Award

The research video of AGAINST ALL ODDS won Le Poulain d’Or (1st Prize) at FESPACO Film Festival 2019 (Burkina Faso) in the short documentary competition. FESPACO count as one of the most important Film Festival and a leading cultural event in Africa.       LINK