Aldo Iulianos award winning film Penalty Review and Interview.

Aldo Iulianos award winning film Penalty  Review and Interview

By Scott Green

August 22, 2017

Aldo Iulianos award winning drama Penalty has been selected for five Academy qualifying Film Festivals and was recently screened in Los Angeles.


Penalty is the story of a group of guys playing football in the middle of nowhere. There is a much more than a simple victory at stake.

The Review:

This film opens on a group of men drawing lots to see who will play on which side of a pickup football (soccer) match. What progresses is that this is clearly more important than a simple football game. As the viewer learns this film is about life and death. The view of some people that life is cheap and can be put in terms of how much dollar-wise a person is worth. For those playing the game it is a matter of survival.

Penalty is a film with very little dialogue, but it doesnt need it. The emotions and feelings can be seen through the faces and eyes of those being forced to play this game. This is a powerful film that will make you stop and think about how much life is worth, and I think that the director has accomplished his goal of making the viewer think about the human condition and what people will do for a chance at survival.

If you get a chance to see this film it is a definite must see. There is a reason it has won awards and once you see it you will start to think about how important people are much more than just a question on immigration.

The Crew:

Italian director Aldo Iuliano began his career as a cartoonist. Since graduating University this talented director has already been recognized for his work. His award winning short films include Fulgenzio, NatalinoTattoo, La lezione and Haukna MatataAldo has also worked in Television, is a directing professor at the Film Academy Romeur and is currently working on his first feature film.

The actors in the film are not professionals, but men who the director got to know after living alongside them. Cinematographer Daniele Cipr is best known for his film It was the Son and was nominated for a David di Donatello award at the Italian Academy for Cinema. Award winning editor Marco Spoletini won the David di Donatello award at the Italian Academy for Cinema, for his work on Gommorah and he edited this special film. Producer Andrette Lo Conte studied in Italy and went on to obtain her masters degree in TV and Cinema at the Royal Holloway University of London. In 2013 she launched Freak Factory production company and is now in development for her first feature In Utero, a psychological horror.

Questions and Answers of the Director and Producers:

Q: Where did the inspiration for Penalty come from?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) The idea came to him and his brother, screenwriter Severino, 3 years ago. A story about survival, not migrants. The use of the football (soccer) match is used as a metaphor.


Q: How long did this take to film?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) Filming took 4 days. They used the storm as part of the story. The gray color of the storm is important.


Q: What was the budget for this film?

A: (Producer Andrette Lo Conte) The budget for the film was $30K


Q: Music was used differently in this film. Can you explain this?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) The “Voice of nature” was the only instrument used. The composer Enrico Melozzi worked with soloist Elsa Lila to create that “voice” mixed with the sounds of the nature around the protagonists. 


Q: What is the status of the actors in the film?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) Some of the actors are still in the refugee center in Calabria. Some have resettled in Europe. They were able to bring them to Rome for the premiere, but otherwise some are still in the refugee center.


Q: What is one takeaway from the film?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) He felt like he built a team with the cast and crew of the film, like a football team.


A: (Producer Andrette Lo Conte) It was a hard shoot. They had to move the crew from Rome to the south of Italy. It was difficult to do and she learned from that, that she can work in any situation after this film.


A: (Producer Shing Ka) The film touched him so much that he joined the Penalty team to help share this film with the world and wants to work with them again in the future,


Q: What can you tell us about the actors in the film?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) All actors came from the refugee center in Calabria, and all were non-actors. The nationality of the actors wasnt important. What was important is what they feel, not the color of their skin or nationality.

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) Used people from the refugee camp because what was important is what the actor feels can be seen through their eyes. All of the people in the film took 3 months of acting lessons.


Q: Has anything changed in the refugee center since the film?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) Not really. We worked with a good migration center but in general, in all migration centers, the point is that there is a sensation that time has “frozen”. Migrants wait in migration centers for documents and they can to do nothing. Sometimes they work, sometimes they play football matches. It’s like a Limbo, a Purgatory.


Q: Did the government help or hinder the production at all?

A: (Producer Andrette Lo Conte) Once the government saw the quality of the film the film ministry in Italy gave them money as the government believed in the idea.


Q: What is the goal of the film?

A: (Director Aldo Iuliano) The goal is to put people in front of the mirror and look in their eyes. The director wants to open the eyes of people to the human condition and that the fight is for survival and not just about immigration.  

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