“Escape” is an experimental project that aims to offer an immersive experience for the audience, making them explore the world of children living in prison. “Escape” is a fable taking place in prison: a short film and a VR experience. It’s a journey to discover the limits of individual freedom in a group of children between 0 and 10 years old. Children that live in a space limited by the rules of a totalizing institution, but who also feel joy and fun thanks to the power of their imagination. The film combines footage filmed in prison and animation created by an illustrator from the ideas and suggestions of the young protagonists. In this way the film shows the children’s daily experiences, from their own point of view, but also their dreams and fears. In order to do so, the project mixes different styles and techniques: documentary footage, based on a scenario written together with the protagonists and open to improvisation; and animation, inserted on the footage, that superposes the imaginary of children to reality.
In 2016, after years of intense work, we released a documentary film about mothers who lived in prison with their children, "Emprisoned lullaby" (Italy- France, 2016, 82', prod. Indyca, De Films en Aiguille, in collaboration with Azul), co-financed by Mibac, CNC, Arte and Film Commission Torino Piemonte.
I felt a strong connection with these mothers who try to raise their children in a situation of imprisonment. But what stroke me the most was the reaction of children, their ability to adapt to any situation, even to jail, and to create other worlds with their imagination, as a way to escape with fantasy. Once I finished “Imprisoned lullaby” and raised awareness about the children’s condition, in the prison of Torino a new structure was created: ICAM, Diminished Custody Institute for Mothers. Compared with the jail at the center of my previous film, this new structure appeared as a huge improvement. But after I spent some time there, this “dimished prison” caused me a deep trouble. I felt the need to better understand and to tell the story of this childhood in prison, a childhood spent between walls until the age of 6 or even 10.