Rome Film Fest: 'Santa Subito' Wins Top Prize

Santa Subito - H - 2019

'Santa Subito' courtesy of Rome Film Festival

The documentary tells the tragic story of a young woman’s death at the hands of her stalker.

Alessandro Piva took home the Rome Film Fest’s top prize at the festival’s conclusion on Saturday. His latest film, the documentary Santa subito was honored with the BNL People’s Choice Award, based on audience votes.

Santa subito documents an infamous case in the late 1980s in Bari. As detailed through the pages of her diary, a teenage Santa Scorese is determined to devote her life to her Christian faith and follow a spiritual vocation, but a crazed man she meets during parish activities becomes obsessed with her, sending her raving letters and following her everywhere at a time when stalking was not even considered a punishable crime in Italy. She narrowly escapes an attempted rape, but despite numerous complaints to local police, they do nothing to protect her safety. Her heartbreaking story ends on March 15, 1991, when the stalker stabs her 13 times. Her last words are of forgiveness toward the man who ended her life.

Scorese is considered a servant of God by the Catholic Church.

Piva first heard about Scorese’s story at a public event held by her sister Rosa Maria, who spoke of how Santa’s horrific death could have been prevented.

"The institutions of the time were unprepared to deal with issues such as violence against women or stalking, leading straight to this pre-ordained outcome," said Piva about his film. “I therefore decided to tell this story and to do so through the voices of Santa’s friends and relatives, asking them to talk about her as if she were still alive, and going back to the years in which she was enthusiastically planning her future."

He continued, "This story is dedicated to those who remain to face their grief alone following the dismay caused by a sudden and absurd loss."