Project: When Elephants Fight
Scrs: Domenico Distilo, Filip Gravino, Guido Iuculano
Estimated budget: TBC
There is not much evidence of 'la dolce vita' in Domenico Distilo's vivion of Rome.
The first film by the Italian film-maker, Unexpected (Inattesco), explored the lives of asylum seekers camping on the streets of the city. It won a slot at the Berlinale's Forum. His new project is When Elephants Fight, and it promises to inhabit a similar world.
This time, says Distilo, he is focusing on three intertwined lives: Wani Mousampa, a future leader of the Sudanese liberation movement; Dalmas, a Sudanese man living in London; and Isabelle, his British wife.
Following the death of the leader of the liberation movement, Wani flees Sudan to the UK in fear of his life. He meets Isabelle, who leaves her husband after they fall in love. Wani is jailed when his immigration status is revealed and he tries to contact his son in Sudan for help.
Isabelle - joined by Dalmas - travels through Sudan looking for the boy. In a twist of fate, the duo are caught by child guerrillas.
Dalmas saves them from harm by saying the only words that can help them: 'My name is Wani Mousampa.'
'During a year of research, I collected several stories,' Distilo explains. 'Seeking asylum in Europe is the only way to survive for a large number of people escaping from their country because of war, fascism and other humanitarian disasters. In most cases, the Western nations have to take responsibility for these events.'
Distilo, who studied at Rome's renowned Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, is now shooting a further feature called Dawaz, The Rope Over The Sea (Dawaz, La Fune Sul Mare), backed by Eskimosa-Feltrinelli and Rai Cinema.