By Alessandro Giordani

With Chiara Gensini, Olga Shapoval, Andrea Pittorino, Mariano Aprea, Giulio Pampiglione, Giacomo Gonnella, Francesco Montanari

Italy | 2016 | 45'

Desdemona is a tormented radio DJ from Florence and her night time program is called The Sleepless. Radio listeners are often bizarre inhabitants of the night just looking for someone who listen to them, but this time it’s Luca, a kid calling from an hospital who awakes Desdemona’s sixth sense. She feels shades of fear in his voice: what is he scared of? Sometimes a small breath hides a terrifying story.

The Comic Book

The Sleepless is an esoteric thriller starring Desdemona “Desdy” Metus, a young DJ of Radio Strega, a small private radio station in Florence. Desdemona is affected by a form of insomnia of traumatic origin, which allows her to perceive aspects of reality that are hidden from ordinary people. The night radio broadcast she leads is called The Sleepless and, thanks to it, Desdemona comes into contact with the listeners of the night who, sometimes, are witnesses of dark and mysterious stories. Desdemona’s father, Isaiah Metus, is affiliated with La Fratellanza, an esoteric sect of the Masonic style in a perpetual struggle with an adverse faction, the Loggia Nera. The main character will discover with horror that the fight between these two secret societies orbits right around her. The plot of The Sleepless is a mixture of yellow, noir, political intrigue, occultism, and conspiracy theory, but it does not neglect more intimate and poetic themes of human life.

The comic book, created in 1994 and then relaunched in 2004, is composed of thirteen episodes plus some special episodes. In 2006 it won the ComicUS prize as best Italian series. In 2008, The Sleepless also became a novel, written by Giuseppe Di Bernardo and published by Del Bucchia Editore. It is embellished by illustrations of the cartoonists of the comic book and by Carlo Lucarelli and Mauro Smocovich’s preface.

The Series

Our objective with the serial project of The Sleepless is to develop a television series in which the story of the main character Desdemona intertwines with Italian places and stories, linked to the themes of mystery and social problems. In the TV series we have in mind, we will meet Desdemona during a certain period of her life, we will accompany her, scrutinise her soul and observe her changing the rhythm of the events that happen to her. Past and present, fiction and reality, they will shrink in the dense nights illuminated by the Moon and will penetrate into the consciences of those who follow the adventures of The Sleepless. Black stories, the night, both printed and on screen, have always given strong emotions to an audience insatiable for intrigues and stories that remain in the skin and heart.The type of series that Mescalito Film would like to make takes inspiration from American serial series (True Detective, The Killing, Dexter…) while maintaining an Italian identity that can be exported abroad. History, which has Italy as its background and the city of Florence, ranges from news stories to fantasy elements, twisting on the reality that surrounds Desdemona and us. The story would, in fact, be divided mainly into two levels: Desdemona’s everyday life with her work on the radio and the mystery of her past, which she herself will have to investigate. The series will focus a lot on the intricate and captivating plot with a noir flavour and on a dreamy atmosphere. It is rarefied by the gothic shades that follow the aesthetics of the comic strip from which it is drawn. A lot of space will be given to the music with the use of repertoire tracks of mostly rock genre and an original soundtrack, mysterious and atmospheric.

The television series would cover a programme of 10 episodes with weekly frequency, each of which lasts 50 minutes: each episode, culminating in a cliffhanger, is a not self-conclusive piece, but it continues the story until the last episode that opens its doors to the next season. The television series is a fantastic genre/thriller, with themes addressed to a predominantly adult audience.

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