TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Karaoke King

Federica Gianni, Lara Costa-Calzado, Tatiana Bears

Italy, United States


After their mountain village is destroyed by an earthquake, Raoul, a gay teenager, and his older brother Danilo, an unemployed aspiring boxer, are sent to live with their estranged uncle in Primavalle, a working-class neighbourhood in the margins of Rome, hoping to find better opportunities in the city.

Primavalle is far from what the brothers were promised. The neighbourhood is plagued by unemployment and social malaise. As Raoul starts helping at their uncle’s deli stand in the local market and Danilo takes refuge in the local boxing gym, the boys begin to take very different paths. Raoul helps the market’s handsome bartender to organise a karaoke event to liven up the market, and the two fall in love during the process. Danilo gets swept up in a burgeoning grassroots movement that works to spread ultra right- wing sentiment through the neighbourhood.

Their differing experiences push the brothers further apart and past the point of violence, in a world that is crumbling around them.


This film is my way of coping with the loss of a place which represents a piece of my personal history. In 2016, my childhood house was destroyed in the earthquake that hit central Italy. I feel a deep emotional bond with my characters who are all going through the journey of saying goodbye and starting anew.

Set in rural and suburban geographies that are on the verge of collapsing, the film begs the question of how can beauty, community, family and love survive in such conditions of neglect. I have found the answer in real life. It lies in the people’s resilience and I want to portray this in the film.

Simple actions such as gathering for a karaoke night, hanging on to your land, fighting to save your business, falling in love, are all acts of resilience against a system that can be indifferent and polarizing.

Two brothers struggle with the different paths they take towards manhood when they move to Rome after an earthquake.
Federica Gianni

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Lara Costa-Calzado


Tatiana Bears


production notes

original title
Karaoke King

produced byStayblack Productions
Lungotevere Testaccio 9
00153, Roma
RM, Italy

current financial need
€ 967.349