Gianfranco Rosi

Gianfranco Rosi

Renowned for shining the light on those living on the edge of society, Gianfranco Rosi established himself as one of the finest documentarians of the 21st Century with the likes of "Sacro GRA" (2013) and the Oscar-nominated "Fire at Sea" (2016). Born in the capital city of Asmara during the Eritrean War of Independence, Rosi later fled to Italy aged 13 without his parents, going on to spend his teenage years in Rome and then Istanbul. Aged 21 he moved to New York to study Film at the Tisch School of the Arts, where he made his directorial debut, "Boatman" (1993), a documentary based on his experiences of boating along the Ganges river which screened at various festivals including Sundance. Rosi waited another eight years before adding to his credits, serving as director and cinematographer of "Afterwards" (2001), a short film collaboration with Spanish visual artists Carlos Casas. He also assumed the latter role on "Face Addict" (2005), a portrait of the downtown New York arts scene of the 1970s and '80s, before taking on the director's chair once more on the self-produced "Below Sea Level" (2008), a documentary about a group of outcasts living on a deserted military base southeast of Los Angeles. Two years later he turned his gaze to an anonymous hitman hired by both Mexican drug cartels and the Chihuahua State Police to torture and kill hundreds in the gripping "El Sicario, Room 164" (2010). After paying tribute to Italian architect Renato Nicolini in documentary short "Tanti futuri possibili" (2012), Rosi helmed the first documentary film ever to win the Venice Film Festival's coveted Golden Lion with "Sacro GRA" (2013), an exploration of life along the titular Roman ring road which he spent two years filming. He added to his list of accolades when "Fire at Sea" (2016), a vital documentary on European migrant crisis on the Italian island of Lampedusa largely told from the viewpoint of a ten-year-old boy, picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. It also won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, making Rosi the first documentarian to win two major prizes at two major European festivals.