‘Happy as Lazzaro’ Director Alice Rohrwacher Set For First TV Series, Will Depict World of Italian Fables (EXCLUSIVE)

Alice Rohrwacher
Courtesy Fremantle

Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, whose “The Wonders” and “Happy as Lazzaro” are both Cannes prizewinners, will direct her first TV series that, similarly to her fable-like films, will explore the world of Italian folk tales.

The series, which is scheduled to start shooting next year, is titled “Ci Sarà Una Volta,” which translates as “There Will Be a Time.” Casting and other details are still being decided.

Rohrwacher is back in Cannes this year as co-director with Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi of the doc “Futura,” a portrait of how Italy’s adolescents look at the future which world premieres in Directors’ Fortnight on Monday.

“There Will Be a Time” is being produced by Fremantle-owned Wildside, the shingle behind Elena Ferrante adaptation skein “My Brilliant Friend” —  of which Rohrwacher helmed two episodes of season two —   in tandem with the director’s regular producer Carlo Cresto-Dina’s Tempesta.

The series is based on a project by Rohrwacher written by the director with Marco Pettenello, who this year won a David di Donatello Award, Italy’s top film prize, for co-penning Gianni Di Gregorio’s bittersweet drama “Citizens of the World.”

Italy has a rich tradition of oral narratives handed down in the form of folk tale anthologies, the best known of which is the one published by prominent writer Italo Calvino who travelled through the country and gathered these tales in the mid-1950s.

“The fairy tale refers to an imaginary time: if today it seems normal to set these stories in an ancient ‘medieval’ past, perhaps in the late 1950s the refuge of the imagination was not the past, but the future; things to come,” the director said in a statement.

“And so every time our storytellers arrive in a square and put up their billboard, they will not start with ‘once upon a time,’ but with the words ‘there will be a time,’ she added. 

“For several years now I’ve been collecting impressions on the world of the storytellers who populated the streets, squares and festivals of Italy until the second half of the 20th century,” Rohrwacher went on to note.

“Film footage, photographs, storyboards, fliers with song lyrics, fortune cards: from all this material came the desire to create an anthology of their journeys and storytelling. On the one hand to explore the vast world of the Italian fairy tale, and on the other to re-experience life on the streets of Italy in the late 1950s.”