Mo Scarpelli is an Italian-born, award-winning director and cinematographer. She is known for her intimate, observational documentaries that explore the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Mo was born in Rome in 1984 and grew up in the city’s vibrant cultural scene. She developed an interest in filmmaking at a young age and was particularly inspired by the Italian neorealist films of the 1940s and 50s. She studied photography and film at the University of Rome and then went on to hone her craft at the London Film School.
Her first feature-length documentary, ‘The Miracle of the Little Prince’ (2012), was a lyrical exploration of the life of a young African boy living in rural Italy. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and received critical acclaim for its sensitive and intimate portrayal of its subject matter.
Mo has since directed a number of documentaries, including ‘The Invisible City’ (2014), which follows the struggles of a family living in a slum in the outskirts of Rome. This film won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Mo’s most recent film, ‘A Man of His Word’ (2018), was shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo and tells the story of a man’s struggle for justice and dignity in the face of overwhelming violence and poverty. The film earned her the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Mo is highly respected for her unique visual style and her ability to capture the beauty in the everyday. Her films combine a poetic aesthetic with a sense of social responsibility, illuminating the lives of people who are often overlooked or forgotten.
Mo is currently in production on her latest documentary, ‘The Way We Were’, which follows a family of female farmers in the remote region of Abruzzo. She is also developing a feature-length narrative about the Italian-American experience.
Mo lives in Rome with her husband and two children. She continues to explore themes of identity, belonging and the human spirit in her work.