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Gomorrah Author and Journalist Robert Saviano Makes His Directorial Debut


Most animation directors come from within the animation industry. It's typical for animators to work their way up through the ranks, paying their dues along the way. But occasionally someone comes from outside the industry, often from live-action film or television. Even more rarely someone comes from outside the TV and film industry entirely. 

Robert Saviano is a newcomer to animation and is working on his debut feature. Saviano is an author and journalist behind the book Gomorrah, an expose of the Neapolitan crime family The Camorra. Since the publication of the book in 2006 Saviano has been marked for death by the mob. He turned his experience into the graphic novel I'm Still Alive, and it is this that is being adapted into a film.

The graphic novel recounts how the 26-year-old Saviano witnessed Camorra assassinations in broad daylight on the streets of Naples. Following the publication of his book, which was subsequently turned into a film and television series, his life is forever changed. Living under police protection, his life involves an escape to a desert island and living in New York under an assumed name, all the while continuing his crusade against organised crime and corruption in Italy.

The film will feature artwork from Israeli artist Asaf Hanuka who illustrated the graphic novel and previously worked on the Oscar-nominated Waltz With Bashir as well as the graphic novel The Divine.

Saviano has co-written the script with Naples-based animator Alessandro Rak, director of Cinderella The Cat, and writers Filippo Bologna and Stefano Piedimonte.  The film is being lead produced by Italian 3D pioneer Ivan Cappiello and animation director and illustrator Mario Addis.

I'm Still Alive is being co-produced by Mad Entertainment and Lucky Red in Italy, Gapbusters in Belgium and Sipur in Israel.

"We immediately fell in love with Roberto Saviano’s graphic novel ‘I’m Still Alive,’ grasping the strength in the story of his tragic, powerful and exceptional life," said Mad Entertainment CEO Luciano Stella. " [The]Goal is to make an animated film with a style capable of captivating the general public while also of realizing a great artistic vision.”

Lucky Red founder Andrea Occhipinti adds "We are thrilled to be able to work together with the talented team of Mad Entertainment on this animated film where Roberto Saviano tells his life story for the first time. Saviano is literally a hero of our times and his tale is incredible."

Sipur chief Emilio Schenker stated: "It is an honour to work with a writer as significant as Roberto to realize his first animated feature film as director, and to see Asaf’s illustrations take life for the first time. If there was ever a project worth jumping into new waters for, this is it,” he said.

The original I'm Still Alive graphic novel is available in English from Boom Studios and Archaia.