Communications Senior Alessandro Ceschi Presents Short Film “Sally Abroad”

Alessandro Ceschi is a Communications Major at John Cabot University, participating in the dual degree program with the University of Milan. Alessandro won the Albert Walker Fuller Prize in Spring 2015 with his article “Italy’s Bittersweet Life,” an essay on Americans’ romanticized expectations of life in Italy. 2015 was also the year that his documentary about street art in Rome, “Walls of Rome,” was released. Alessandro recently completed his first narrative short film, “Sally Abroad,” which was screened at JCU on Thursday, April 28.

Alessandro Ceschi

Alessandro Ceschi

Tell us about your most recent short film “Sally Abroad.”
“Sally Abroad” tells the story of a young American woman overcoming her depression and discovering herself during her semester abroad in Rome. I took a screenwriting class with Professor Tasini last Fall. I enjoyed the way screenwriting forces you to make your writing visual. So I thought I’d give it a shot outside of class, actually turning my screenplay into a short film.

Does the film relate to your experience at JCU?
This film is a work of fiction — it is not based on real life events. But it does relate to my experience at John Cabot, yes. In my time here I’ve met many people from different walks of life, listened to their stories, and entered their lives to different degrees. Through this film, I tried to show the world through the eyes of Sally, played by JCU student Sierra Wharton.

What have you learned from the Fuller Prize experience?
I learned that mundane things can be interesting. When you have to write an opinion piece, you may be drawn to subjects that people feel strongly about, like gun control, press freedom, or America’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Sometimes reflecting on what you went through in your day offers unexpected opportunities to draw larger conclusions about life and what surrounds us.

Sierra Wharton in Alessandro Ceschi's short film Sally Abroad

Sierra Wharton in Alessandro Ceschi’s short film Sally Abroad

Tell us about your documentary about street art in Rome, “Walls of Rome”.
I read some articles online about street art in Rome, and how big it has become. Just a year ago, I would have probably written a blog post, but I had just learned about video production in Brian Thomson‘s Foundations of Digital Video Production class. So getting a video out there, rather than just words, seemed like a better idea. I started by making a list of the best works of street art in Rome, together with the names of the artists. I then contacted them, mostly through Facebook, and set up interviews.

How does “Walls of Rome” relate to your senior Capstone project?
For my thesis, I look at a number of theories about the concept of authenticity, and apply them to the content of my documentary. I conducted more interviews, but the bulk of my content for the thesis was already gathered while making the documentary.

What are your plans after JCU?
I may do my master’s in screenwriting in London. Or I may move to China. I’m going to spend July in Shanghai. I want to check it out since it seems to be a lively city that’s growing and offering many opportunities.

I’ll also keep writing, working, and creating; when you stop experimenting because you are stuck in a given format, you tend to miss out on opportunities to express yourself.

Describe your experience at JCU.
It’s been great, and it gave me a chance to write and create plenty of opinion pieces, screenplays, essays, short stories, and films. I experimented, which I think gives you the clearest path to creativity. It’s really important to keep experimenting.