London as Cinecittà: Italian actors are taking over

il ballo delle meduse
A shot from 'Il Ballo delle Meduse' (Dancing Jellyfish)

The best ideas come usually at odd times, or simply during a coffee break.
That is the story of NIAL, the Native Italian Actors in London association, founded in 2014 by four Italian actors: Anna Elena Pepe, Alessandro De Marco, Sara Laratro and Simone Douani who moved to the UK to improve their career and give a twist to their life.

‘At that time we were looking for auditions in London and we were a bit frustrated by the high level of competition’, said Sara Laratro, actress and founder of NIAL. ‘When the casting was for Italian speakers we used to find non-Italian actors who could not speak the language properly and vice-versa, so we decided to band together and create something helpful for all the Italian community’.

Last Thursday, 16th of December, the association had the official presentation at the Consulate General of Italy, at the presence of Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Consul General of Italy, supported by Clara Caleo Green from CinemaItalia UK and the Italian Cultural Institute.

Nial the Consulate

After almost two years, NIAL became the first directory for the Italian actors in London with more than 40 members and an executive committee which includes  also the actors Cecilia Gragnani, Manuela Maletta and Marco Gambino.

‘The aim of our project is to create a trustworthy community of professional performers who are fluent both in English and Italian, to offer casting directors and production companies a single point of contact when searching bilingual actors’, explained Sara Laratro.  ‘We hope that NIAL could become a powerful network inside the Italian community, in order to help our colleagues to find their way here in London’.

The special celebration has also been the occasion to screen the first trailer for the upcoming movie  ‘Il ballo delle meduse‘ (Dancing Jellyfish), a thriller by Aurelio Laino, Freeside Film.

‘For my last movie I chose all the cast from NIAL mainly for two reasons’, said the Italian movie director. ‘First of all because I moved to London two years ago and it was easier for me to be able to work directly with my cast before the shooting. Then also for the high level provided by these actors, which is quite hard to find in Italy’.

The plot is based on the dramatic story of two ‘outsiders’, Ahamed an illegal immigrant from Albania, and Valentina the partner of a violent Italian boss, who have to trust each other to run away from a sick illegal world.

‘For this project I focused on two important social topics: immigration and violence against women,’ explained Aurelio Laino. ‘I feel myself as an outsider since I moved in London and refused the Italian system’.

The movie was filmed in Genova last November by a fully Italian crew in eight hard shooting days.

‘The best of this experience is that we felt like a proper family’, said Alessandro Ananasso and Eleonora Cucciarelli, the two main characters of Laino’s last movie. ‘Luckily we worked hard before the filming thanks to Aurelio, who helped us to feel deeply our roles, but it was very challenging  for all of us to concentrate all the work in one week’.

‘The next challenging step would be making the English voice-over’, said Alessandro ‘which is nothing unusual for most of us, but is going to prove our versatility and open the movie to an international audience, basically what as NIAL we are working for’.



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