Not Far From Here

Is speaking out against injustice worth the price you might pay?

Project type: Fiction Short
Project status: Development
Producer/Co-Writer/"Renzo": Will Graziano
Director: Francesca Castelbuono
Executive Producer: Bradley Gallo
Executive Producer: Olivia Hurd
Co-Writer: Daphne Di Cinto
Co-Writer: Alanna Bennett
Script Consultant: Angelica Pesarini
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A Nigerian-Italian girl secretly witnesses a white Italian boy she grew up with commit a hate crime, and wrestles with whether to speak up or not when the boy shows up to her home the next day.


With her parents away in Southern Italy for an extended period, 12-year-old Leola Taiwo lives in her hometown of Rome with family friends V and Renzo, who are newly engaged. One night, Leola secretly witnesses two white Italians — including Ettore, a friend she grew up with — throw glass bottles at Moussa, a Senegalese gelato shop owner. Shocked that her friend would commit such an act, Leola struggles with what to do: stay silent and maintain her own safety as a young Black woman, or stand up and speak the truth.

Unaware of this crime, Ettore’s mother Nora drags her son to Renzo and V’s apartment for an English lesson the next day. Ettore is overjoyed to see Leola there, mentioning nothing of the night before. During the lesson, he unapologetically spouts xenophobic rhetoric about migrants in Italy. Unable to keep silent, Leola takes Renzo aside and tells him what Ettore did to Moussa. She suggests they sit down and talk to Ettore, but Renzo, wanting only to keep Leola safe, tells her to stay away from the boy for the rest of his visit.

Leola, sensing this isn’t the right solution, decides to confront Ettore herself — but as she does, a looming threat of violence hurtles towards her doorstep.

Meet the Filmmakers

Francesca Castelbuono – Director
Francesca is a London-based writer and director who has worked with companies including Universal Pictures, New Regency and See-Saw Films. Her short Undone screened at Aesthetica, Inside Out, NewFest and Pan-African Film Festival amongst others, and was picked up for distribution by Peccadillo Pictures. Other previous work includes The Flood and Lynch. Francesca was mentored by director Gina Prince-Bythewood, with whom she worked extensively on Netflix’s The Old Guard. She worked with producer Andrea Cornwell on Apple TV+ series The Essex Serpent and was a visiting writer on Season 3 of the HBO hit show Succession.

Daphne Di Cinto – Co-Writer
Of mixed Italian background, Daphne definitely brings multicultural wealth to her work. Born and raised in Italy and now based in London, Daphne received her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York, after which she took her first steps as a writer. Daphne recently wrote and directed the short film Il Moro, based on the true story of the first Duke of Florence and Black member of the Medici family, Alessandro de’ Medici. Her acting credits include Netflix’s Bridgerton and Sky Atlantic’s Diavoli, as well as film and theatre in both Europe and in the US.

Will Graziano – Co-Writer/Producer/”Renzo”
Will has starred in several videos for life coach and motivational speaker Jay Shetty, which have collectively garnered more than 100 million views on social media. He’s also written for and appeared in numerous independent films, regional theater productions and web series, including the upcoming short film Honeywell. Will holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut.

Alanna Bennett – Co-Writer
Alanna is a screenwriter and culture writer whose works have appeared on BuzzFeed News, Vulture, TV Guide, Eater, and The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico. Born in Hollywood and raised in Portland, Alanna studied Cinema Studies at Oberlin College and seeks to tell stories that move conversations forward while providing a balm to the daily stresses of human existence. She believes that the personal, the political, and the pop cultural are all deeply connected, and that we should all try to be a little more like Nora Ephron and Ava DuVernay.

Bradley Gallo – Executive Producer
Bradley is a co-Founder and the President of Film & Television of Amasia Entertainment. He has over 20 years of media and entertainment industry experience including film, television, commercials and journalism. With Amasia he has produced several films including John Patrick Shanley’s Wild Mountain Thyme starring Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm and Christopher Walken; the 2019 Sundance and SXSW selection Them That Follow starring Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever, and Jim Gaffigan; Mr. Right starring Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick, directed by Paco Cabezas; and The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. Prior to Amasia Entertainment, Mr. Gallo served as the Head of Production and Development of Troika Pictures where he produced films such as The Road Within and Careful What You Wish For.

Olivia Hurd – Executive Producer
Olivia Hurd joined Amasia Entertainment in 2019 as Executive Assistant to Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo. Before joining Amasia she interned at Heyday Films, as well as in writers’ rooms at FOX and CBS. Originally from Minneapolis, Olivia received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Playwriting from Bennington College in Vermont.

Angelica Pesarini – Script Consultant
Angelica Pesarini, Ph.D. is a Lecturer in Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU Florence where she teaches Black Italia, a course dedicated to the intersectional analysis of racial identity in Italy. She previously worked at Lancaster University as a Lecturer in Gender, Race and Sexuality. Her current work investigates dynamics of race performativity with a focus on colonial and postcolonial Italy and she also examines the racialization of the Italian political discourse on immigration. Dr. Pesarini is currently writing a monograph on the negotiations of race, gender and identity in colonial and postcolonial Italy.

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