Raised in Rome, Los Angeles and the English countryside, Francesca Gregorini brings a worldly, passionate and unique sensibility to her filmmaking. Her character-driven films are visceral and darkly humorous, stylistically bold, with undertones of the magical and surreal.
A Brown University graduate with a Theater Arts major, Francesca sold scripts to both HBO and Paramount before co-helming her directorial debut TANNER HALL with Tatiana Von Furstenberg. The film marked the screen debut of Rooney Mara in a lead role. TANNER HALL is a vivid peek into the private world of an all-girls boarding school. In a cozy, but run down New England, the knot of adolescent complexity is unraveled through the coming of age stories of four teen-age girls. The film was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival
Francesca next wrote and directed THE TRUTH ABOUT EMANUEL, which stars Kaya Scodelario, Jessica Biel and Alfred Molina. The film tells the story of Emanuel a troubled girl who becomes preoccupied with her mysterious new neighbor who bears a striking resemblance to the girl’s dead mother. In offering to babysit her neighbor’s newborn, Emanuel unwittingly enters a fragile, fictional world, of which she becomes the gatekeeper. It premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance (2013) and is being distributed by Tribeca Films domestically, and internationally by Myriad Pictures.
Most recently, Francesca has adapted the novel OLIVIA by Dorothy Strachey Bussy into a screenplay. It is considered one of the most subtle and beautifully written lesbian novels of the century. This 1949 classic awakens the passions of an English adolescent sent away for a year to a small finishing school outside Paris. Currently in development, Francesca is planning on filming this project in 2015/16.
“Emanuel…” is a tale that unfolds and unravels in secrets; the secrets we keep from each other and the secrets we keep from ourselves (often the most dangerous variety), creating blind-spots that will at best keep us from moving forward, at worst derail us completely.
In many ways this film is a choreographed piece between sorrow and fantasy; a haunting dance between its two main characters, Linda and Emanuel.
The subject matter of this work is loosely drawn from my personal landscape. As a director, part of my strength comes from my ability to fully inhabit the material, because as the writer, it is born of me, of my subconscious, of my demons. But it is in the communication and collaboration with the actors and department heads that the orchestra in my head is given its true voice.
“Emanuel…” is aesthetically bold and sonically rich, set to a patient but expectant pace, capturing the interplay between fear and seduction; like an invitation, saturated with possibility, somewhere between the hope of a genuine human connection and the dread of an unwell underbelly being exposed. A world layered with subtext and heavy with mood, grounded in true human emotion and yet flexible enough to stretch its wings into magical realism.