by: Sophia Pizzo
(Donata Carelli, center, with Professor Louisa Burns-Bisogno, center right, and Burns-Bisogno’s screenwriting class)
On October 4th, the students of Professor Louisa Burns-Bisogno’s COM242 course, “Script Writing,” welcomed a very special guest. Italian writer Donata Carelli presented her film, 2 Euros an Hour, which won the Bronze Zenith award at the 2016 Montreal film festival. After the COM242 screening, students were able to ask Carelli about the screenwriting process and her inspirations for the film.
Set in the small town of Montemerano in Southern Italy, 2 Euros an Hour (known as Due euro l’ora in Italian) tells the story of Rosa, a seventeen-year-old girl who is eager to get away. Behind her father’s back, Rosa begins working at an illegal sweatshop under the rule of a cruel and abusive boss.There, she meets Gladys, a dressmaker starting her life over in Italy. Together, the two women form a close bond as they endure the trials of life and love.
2 Euros an Hour was inspired by the true news story of two women who died in a factory fire in Italy in 2006, working for just two euros an hour. The women were found in an embrace, which inspired Carelli to begin writing her film that same year. Ten years later, 2 Euros an Hour was finally released.
Carelli said that she discovered her love for screenwriting by accident when her father signed her up for a screenwriting class. “Opportunities are always hidden behind something not so interesting,” said Carelli, who had been an aspiring journalist at the time. Her screenwriting teacher, and later mentor, was Ugo Pirro, writer of the 1970 award-winning Italian film Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion.
Though 2 Euros an Hour was based on a specific event, Carelli said that she can find inspiration from anywhere and anything. “If you give me a window, I can pull up a chair and dream,” said Carelli.
Above all, Carelli encouraged Professor Burns-Bisogno’s students to always keep an open mind towards new opportunities and inspirations. “The world is full of stories,” Carelli said.