Alen, the Refugee Prince

  • Location: Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
  • Aim: fundraising campaign for child war victims
  • Role: idea, writing, locations and actors scouting, directing, camera, editing
  • Client: UPP

Nothing would have happened.

To be frank, back in Italy, the NGO didn't quite understand what I wanted to do. However, fortunately for us all, someone in Iraq trusted me: without Sergio, and later Nader, nothing would have happened.
I wanted to offer a portrait of refugees, unlike the unfair mainstream media representations, which was true and yet also fantastical.

In the photo with Nader and Sergio, doing what I know best between takes, Alen is trying to help, as always.

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Night brings good counsel

Three days before flying home, an idea came to me overnight: the Prince. The next day started with a casting session in the camp and I recall thinking: "Whoah! What the hell am I doing? I was doing this with models in proper studios not more than one month ago…"


Guerrilla at its best.

News of a ‘film’ being shot in the camp spread quickly. Before long many residents were involved and had a lot of fun. Three days of mayhem and enthusiasm like I’d never experienced before — guerrilla video-making at its best.

In the picture Alen and Mina are wearing the best GoPro head mount I could come up with.

The resulting video became the UPP spot for the national fundraising campaign supporting Iraqi and Syrian child war victims.