Prisma, Ludovico Bessegato speaks: “We are happy to represent a different, fluid, more authentic Italy”

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3 years of work, of research, to give voice to a different, authentic, real, existing society. Prisma is the new Italian Original training series directed by Ludovico Bessegato (Skam Italia) and written by Bessegato with Alice Urciuolo, produced in Italy by Rosario Rinaldo’s Cross Productions for Amazon Studios. On Prime Video from 21 September, and with a new song written by Achille Lauro, the series had its world premiere at the 75th edition of the Locarno Film Festival and is starring Mattia Carrano, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Caterina Forza, Chiara Bordi, LXX Blood , Matteo Scattaretico, Zakaria Hamza, Riccardo Afan de Rivera Costaguti, Flavia del Prete, Asia Patrignani, Elena Falvella Capodaglio, Andrea Giannini, and Nico Guerzoni.

A training series in 8 episodes, Prisma revolves around the complex relationship between the identity, aspirations, physical appearance and sexual orientations of a group of Latina teenagers. The protagonists of the story are two twins, Marco and Andrea (played by Mattia Carrano), apparently identical but profoundly different in the concerns they express. Their journey of self-discovery will be joyful and turbulent together and will equally involve their large group of friends, all looking for their place in an ever-changing world.

Prisma, Ludovico Bessegato speaks: "We are happy to represent a different, fluid, more authentic Italy" - PrimeVideo Prisma Photocall1 - Gay.it

At the press conference, Bessegato recalled how Italy is not “a state-of-the-art country in terms of rights “. “But there is an important part of young people who are at the forefront, with respect to the ability to process, reflect and communicate certain sensations to the outside world. I was envious of such a mentally flexible generation, compared to my own generation“.

Nicole MorgantiHead of Italian Originals Amazon Studios, told the genesis of such an ambitious project: “We wanted to represent the local reality. In this case there was a desire to innovate, on a topic that is dear to many streamers. Telling the world of young people. We wanted to give it a voice. We have listened to real, provincial stories that tell about diversity in a way that adults can’t understand well. This series will help us to understand how gender identity is really fluid, how it is not necessary to categorize, to put stakes, how it is essential to accept oneself. This series wants to unhinge certain rules. Prisma is an opportunity for authenticity, it is a neorealist series“.

If with SKAM Italia Bessegato was ‘limited’ to adapting the famous Swedish series, with Prisma came the absolute debut with something new. “There was on my part, Alice and Cross Production, the desire to measure myself in something bigger. As if SKAM was a great gym. I was wondering if you could do an original series on my own. I had a desire to prove to myself that I was really capable of doing it. There was a preliminary work done by Alice and Cross, a research work, Alice met a trans girl, Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto, a very famous poetess. Giovanna has a twin brother. Starting from her story of hers, Alice began to weave the plot, the primordial characters, and when she shared this idea with me I found it wonderful. This fluidity, which does not only concern the gender identity of the protagonist but all the characters, I immediately found very interesting. Prisma has quickly become the most important thing for me, achieved in the last 3 years, there is a huge dose of ambition, there is much more than us, we took the time to observe, meet, seek complexity. And we were lucky enough to have great resources. We shot for 15/16 weeks. We had everything we thought was necessary to make a great product, that was our ambition. It is a series that we have not negotiated on, anything. It was the show we wanted to do“.

Born in 1994, Alice Urciuolo he thus deepened the origin of the story.

“When we say that our stories are born from reality, in Prisma it really happened. Giovanna and I went to university together, then he published a book of poems, Dolore Minimo, in which he talks about her transition. Giovanna is a transgender girl who in this book tells about her transition, incredibly emotional, individual, which spoke of themes that came out of the mainstream story. When we tell things we have no direct experience of, we listen to others. There is a lot of Giovanna in the character of Mattia. Giovanna has a twin, a reality that offered a direct and effective subject on the theme of the double and on what it meant for Andrea to always have himself in front of him, but above all that person that society would like him to be. This is the cornerstone of all Prisma, what we investigate is “what is a man, what is a woman today, what is expected today from a girl, from a boy?”. There is a whole investigation on gender roles, which has a historical reinterpretation value. It is no coincidence that we set it in Latina, founded by fascism, which had made the patriarchal society its only model of the family. These places in the series are the symbol of a greater reality that concerns us all, bears the mark of what we have been. It seemed very thematic to us to talk about these issues right in that place ”.

On the possible search for openly queer actors, Bossegato was peremptory:

“It is illegal to ask a job interview or audition to define your identity or sexual orientation. There are cases where people come out publicly, so that’s information we know. There are also cases in which it remains in the private sphere. Specifically, Prisma has more adult characters who define themselves, but most of Prisma’s characters don’t define themselves. We speak of indefinition, fluidity, non-binarism. Asking an actor to define himself would have been the opposite of what we wanted to tell, which is a world of people who are still looking for themselves. Orientation and identity are not static, but dynamic facts. People I’ve met have enriched their identity and orientation with nuances. Even if you wanted to ask, at the time of an audition, what your identity or orientation is, the answer could be instrumental and / or it is not certain that that condition can remain intact in the following years. That element doesn’t have to be the central element in your casting choice. Andrea’s identity is evolving, which he is looking for. Even if it were, there wouldn’t be a definition that an actor at the Prisma audition could have given me in relation to the character, because all the characters change ”.

Prism comes in the midst of an electoral campaign in which precisely these issues, linked to gender identity, homogenisation and fluidity, are heavily exploited every day. In this sense, there are those who have even asked for the censorship of a cartoon because it would propagate LGBT content against children because of a protagonist with two mothers. How to react to attacks that could be defined as miners, especially in the future? This is Ludovico Bessegato’s answer.

“How we think is clear. Anything that goes in the opposite direction to this interests us less. I wouldn’t even want a series like Prisma to be exploited. We don’t hold back, we tackle certain themes and introduce certain characters, but what we wanted to do was a universal series, which had a sense of its own even 20 years from now. We weren’t interested in making a manifesto series, because things change, societies evolve, and if that series had a sense of existing just to develop a theme, when that theme we hope will soon be overcome we would like the series to remain, because made up of characters, conflicts, good writing, direction and interpretations. From a certain point of view, I escape the idea of ​​having made an ideological series that wants to speak directly about these themes, we had the ambition to make a Bildungsroman. Written in these years, years in which kids talk about these things, and we have talked about the things that are in the heads and priorities of the kids. I do not think that a series alone can change heads, even if we wanted to we would be very disappointed because we have always tried to tell a different company, it has been SKAM for 5 years, yet the polls we have speak for themselves. I do not have many illusions about the fact that a series can shift the electoral outcome, but it can contribute to enriching the debate, the narration, the representation. It is a slow work of construction, of a different representation, and we are happy to represent a different Italy, more authentic than the many Italies that are told ”.

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Prisma, Ludovico Bessegato speaks: “We are happy to represent a different, fluid, more authentic Italy” – Gay.it