WHO I AM

I am a media and communication specialist with a focus on international development, global health and human rights. I produce, write and direct documentaries on a wide range of issues, including political extremism, human trafficking, LGBT rights, education, and climate change.
My style is participatory as well as expository. Whenever possible, I immerse myself in the stories I tell, trying to live them from within to better understand first-hand the challenges we face as ordinary people.

As a media expert and advocate, I spend a considerable amount of time traveling the world, investigating and recounting the stories of individuals and communities of diverse backgrounds and aspirations.

I have a Master’s in Development Studies from SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a BA in Media and Cultural Studies from the London College of Communication. Companies and organisations I have worked for include Al Gore’s Current TV, CNN, NBC, BSkyB, Discovery Networks, Sony Pictures Television, Oxford Policy Management and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

MY INTENT

The leitmotif of my work is my dedication to concrete action to remedy social exclusion. This interest is at the center of my personal and professional life. I believe that ameliorating the status of the world’s most marginalised is the central challenge and imperative of our era. We cannot insulate ourselves from global realities, nor can we abdicate our responsibility to help and protect one another.

MY STORY

Born in 1979 in Heidelberg, Germany, I grew up in Turin, Italy. My early academic background is in the humanities and in music. At the age of 19 I moved to London to study Arabic and Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies and later pursued a B.A. (Honors) in Media and Cultural Studies at The London College of Communication.

I began my professional career in 2002 at CNN International working on a travel show, and after a spell at TimeOut magazine I moved to New York to work for MTV International on music formats for Europe and Japan. I then became the London representative for all MTV USA productions, such as The Osbournes, the MTV Europe Music Awards, TRL and All Things Rock. In 2003 I left MTV to work on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (UK, USA).

In 2005, as Founder and CEO of Chunky Punch Productions, I produced a reality show entitled Snaparazzi to launch the AXN channel (Sony Picture Television International) on the Sky Italia platform.

At that point I felt the need to integrate my long-standing interest for current affairs and human rights into my work. For that reason, in early 2007 I joined Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize Al Gore’s news and information channel Current TV, launching it in the UK and later in Italy. For the next 8 years, as Director of the International Desk and Chief Correspondent, I produced, wrote and fronted feature documentary films as well as shorter-form reports that highlighted issues of poverty and social exclusion in the developing world as well as in industrialized countries. My main achievement was the success of my hard-hitting TV documentary series Vanguard, a weekly 1-hour program on international affairs that ran for 4 years on primetime television. I reported on a wide range of issues, including political extremism, international human trafficking, LGBT rights, criminal gangs, prison conditions, child prostitution, and climate change. As Vanguard attracted large audiences, I was able to expose a considerable segment of the general public to significant social problems in a transnational context.

When Current TV was sold to Al Jazeera, I accepted a position with RAI 3, one of Italy’s three national TV channels, as the field reporter for Mi Manda Rai 3, a primetime social affairs program. I continued to pursue my passion for honest and heartfelt social affairs reporting. I then transferred to the Discovery Networks, where my independently produced documentary “Casa do Menor” (Inside Productions, 2013) was broadcast on television and screened in cinemas around the world.

Set in the favelas, or slums, of Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza, where I lived for several months with the documentary’s subjects, my film examines drug addiction and underage prostitution in a country known for political corruption and state violence against marginal populations. These problems were thrown into even more dramatic light by the preparations and marketing undertaken by the Brazilian government in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

My relationship with Discovery continued with the commission of two further documentaries. The first, which aired in November 2014, is an investigative report on domestic and gender-based violence in Italy. The other told of my journey through five African countries (Morocco, Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia) to investigate challenges facing women as they seek to contribute to Africa’s social, technological, and economic development. In September 2015, my photographs from this trip were featured in the exhibition “The New Faces of Africa.” The main focus of this showcase was the importance of child education and nutrition for sustainability and the alleviation of poverty.

My earlier experience in Brazil had intensified my interest in human trafficking and child exploitation, and, in November 2014, it led me to Thailand, which is another of the world’s major hubs for child trafficking for sexual purposes. With the assistance of Save the Children, The United Nations Population Fund, and the NGO Compassion Italia, I interviewed and photographed former victims of child trafficking and the various social workers, health-care professionals, and volunteers helping them.

In 2015, in order to explore my interest in hands-on development work in greater depth, I returned to Brazil to work with the Italo-Brazilian NGO Nuovi Orizzonti. On this occasion, I acquired valuable experience on the complex relationship between emergent institutions of civil society and the politics of foreign aid and humanitarian assistance.

Upon my return from Brazil, I became visiting professor in Social Documentary for Italian writer Baricco’s Scuola Holden, an academic institution dedicated to Storytelling and Performing Arts, where I produced numerous photographic and documentary projects that got considerable national press attention.

In the summer 2016 I moved back to London to embark on a new adventure: a Master of Science in Development Studies at SOAS (Department of Law and Social Sciences, School of Oriental and African Studies). My main areas of interest and specialization are sub-national and international security, global health and climate change, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. My dissertation was on the links between climate change, labour exploitation and health in Malawi.

Shortly after the completion of my field research I joined Oxford Policy Management as the media and communication specialist on Learning for Action Across Health Systems, a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and aimed at improving the ability of low income countries to learn from, and act on, the successes and failures of other country’s health systems. In June 2018 I joined the UNAIDS Technical Support Mechanism, a programme funded by UNAIDS and implemented by Oxford Policy Management, providing high-quality technical assistance on HIV/AIDS to over 55 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.