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Mo Scarpelli

Mo Scarpelli

Film Director

biography

Mo Scarpelli is an Italian-American director and cinematographer of mostly-non-fiction cinema. Her work is centered around watching people for long periods of time. Her films tend to linger on the rupture of identity by exterior circumstances, and the cold violence inflicted on the individual by changing landscapes.

Mo's films have been exhibited at the Berlinale, Visions du Réel, Film Society of Lincoln Center, IDFA, BFI London Film Festival, Olafur Eliasson Studios in Berlin, SXSW, Hot Docs, among other festivals and venues.

Mo's latest film EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF, about a father and son embarking to make a film in the Venezuelan Amazon, premiered at the 51° Visions du Réel where it was awarded the Jury's Special Mention for Best International Film. The film recently received the Torino Film Lab Audience Design Fund, and will be independently distributed in 2020/21 as a result.

Mo’s debut solo-directed film ANBESSA screened at the 69° Berlinale, where it was nominated for the Crystal Bear and the Glashütte Documentary Prize. "A masterful work of sensory ethnography," (FilmStage) the film is a documentary about a boy who turns into a lion to face the adult world. The film was broadcast on ARTE France and ZDF Germany in 2019 and will be released on MUBI in 2020.

Mo's first feature-length documentary FRAME BY FRAME, shot in Afghanistan, screened at SXSW Film Festival, Hot Docs, BFI London Film Festival, AFI DOCS and 120+ other festivals. The film garnered more than a dozen jury and audience awards and a Cinema Eye Honors nomination. It was acquired by TIME, Inc in 2016.

Mo is a selection of Berlinale Talents (2018), a two-time recipient of Catapult Film Fund support, and she has received fellowships from the New America Foundation and the International Women in Media Foundation.

Her short films including EL HARA (Film Society at Lincoln Center 2017) and SURVIVING KENSINGTON (Vimeo Staff Pick 2016) have screened at international festivals, theatrically in screening series, and at the United Nations and World Health Organization. Her cinematography, photography and writing have been published with The New Yorker, The New York Times, the BBC, CNN’s Great Big Story, The Wall Street Journal, and Africa Review.

Mo founded Rake Films in 2012. Before Rake, she led media production for non-profit organization charity: water. And before that, she produced multimedia and reported for The Wall Street Journal. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Mo is commissioned for Directing and Cinematography independently, and through Good Story Films.