'Gomorrah' Producer Says Series Would Not Harm Italian Neighborhood's Image

Gomorrah Poster - H 2012

Gomorrah Poster - H 2012

Riccardo Tozzi defends the controversial TV project against the concerns of a local political leader.

ROME – One of the co-producers of the in-production Gomorrah television series defended it against a local official’s decision to deny producers access to a key neighborhood in Naples, saying that the production seeks only to tell the truth about the often bloody neighborhood of Scampia.

On Sunday, Angelo Pisani, Scampia’s top administrative official, said he would deny producers of the follow-up to Matteo Garrone’s 2008 Cannes jury prize winning organized crime drama, also called Gomorrah, a permit to film in the neighborhood. He said Garone’s film had damaged the image of the neighborhood, and that he didn’t want it damaged further by the television series.

STORY: Italian Neighborhood Denies Access to Producers of Mafia-Focused TV Project

But Riccardo Tozzi, head of the production company Cattleya and also president of ANICA, Italy’s national audiovisual association, said Wednesday that only around 3 percent of the 12-part series would be filmed in Scampia, according to local press reports. He said the series did not aim to “profit” from the neighborhood’s bad reputation, but rather to accurately shed light on the situation there.

Tozzi is co-producing the series along with Domenico Procacci, one of the producers behind Garone’s film.

Scampia is the Naples neighborhood best known for revenge killings, Mafia control and drug wars. Pisani said he thought media attention to the neighborhood did it a disservice.

“I think it is time to say enough of the exploitation of Naples and of Scampia in particular,” Pisani said. “Negative aspects exist, it cannot be denied. But the constant exaggeration solves nothing except to confirm the stigma.”

Roberto Saviano, the Naples-born writer of the bloody and chilling mob expose -- also called Gomorrah -- that inspired both the film and the television series, said Pisani’s decision was an act of censorship designed to cover up the inability of political leaders to solve the city’s organized crime problems.

“When nothing changes as a result of incompetent management, it is better [from the perspective of political leaders] that the press, the pens of writers, and the television cameras of directors remain silent,” Saviano said.