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. Sophia (a “Berliner”) and Nicola (Italian) are in their bedroom looking at each other. Nicola tells his girlfriend what happened in the cinema.

After watching a film with friends, he forgets his scarf inside the cinema. He immediately goes back to get it, but the doors are already closed. Nicola tries to convince the cinema manager Mr. Özgür (German with Turkish migration background) that it’s too cold outside to go back home without his scarf, but the cinema has very strict security rules: no one is allowed inside after the centralized light system has been switched off and the doors have been locked. Nicola tries to convince Mr. Özgür to open, but the cinema manager firmly sticks to the rules. There is no way out of the conflict: Nicola vs. the mighty German “Nein”. Of course Nicola loses! Freezing his neck off, he has to go home without his scarf and has to return the next day to collect it.

While Sophia starts making fun of her boyfriend’s incapacity to adapt to the hostile nordic environment, Nicola enters a dangerous mental loop and he is troubled by deep philosophical questions. Which were the real reasons behind Mr. Özgür’s stubborn behavior? Was it mere grumpiness? A lack of empathy towards the “foreigner”? Or did he maybe want to demonstrate, with a meticulous compliance with the rules, his being even more German than the Germans? Moreover, should safety regulations really be more important than a simple but human gesture: returning a scarf to a person who feels cold? And last but not least: will he ever regain his scarf?

Based on a true story, DER SCHAL is a 25 min. long European comedy about the everyday reality of different cultures living together in metropole like Berlin.

 

 

Director’s view

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 some 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.

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 on top of their mother-tongues they communicate in European english, the only truly neutral territory between the two.

But this process of “shifting of identity” and “crossing the borders”  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”.

DER SCHAL is  a dramatic, humorous and happy comedy which underlie the meaning of small gestures. With this film I want to show how important it is to admit one own mistakes and sometimes simply take life with a touch of irony and laugh about oneself and : only if we remain open and we are willing to see the world from the perspective of others, we can keep alive our hope to live in a good society.

DER SCHAL is produced by Controcorrentefilms by Laura Weber. The project has been selected at the Short Comedy Pitch program of Torino Short Film Market 2020 and won the Short Comedy Award Prize granted by IDM Südtirol /Alto Adige Film Commission. 

 

 

THE SCARF_Pitch Video from andrea iannetta on Vimeo.

My Journey to Womanhood

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.

Andrea Iannetta - sengas

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.

 

 

Recognitions

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

– Film Research Grant  “Grenzgängerprogram” (Crossing Borders) by Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany).