Director: Lorenzo Fonda
Show creators: Davide Tappero Merlo, Lorenzo de Marinis
Writers: Davide Tappero Merlo, Lorenzo de Marinis, Piersante Sfredda
Production company: Kobalt Entertainment
Producers: Erika Scandone, Barbara Ciabilli
Editors: Gabriele Agresta, Daniela Robecchi
Post production & vfx: Alkanoids
Post production supervisor: Manolo Turri Dall’orto
Audio post production: Chiara Luzzana
Voiceover: Matteo Curti
Design: Francesco Caporale, Alvvino
Son Pascal is a young italian singer and musician who one day decided to fly from London (where at the time he was paying his bills by performing in a Beatles cover band) to Kazakhstan and participate in a talent show. He didn’t win, but he liked the country and the people so much that he decided to stay and try pursue a musical career there. Over the course of just a couple years he became one of their biggest pop-stars.
My good friend and collaborator Davide Tappero Merlo heard about his story, and proposed to Pascal to shoot a docu-reality about his hectic life and career in this very unique country. The first season aired on the italian TV channel DeejayTV, and became very successful, so much that a second series was commissioned.
I was invited to direct the episodes of the new series, on location in Kazakhstan. The combination of Pascal’s energy, Davide’s creative authorial supervision and the unique quality of the place and its people contributed to make this one of the most rewarding project I’ve ever been part of.
The series aired on DeejayTV starting from April 2014 and it’s been on re-runs since. For now the episodes are in italian only, but BBC has acquired the rights to it and is adapting it for english television.
Me and the person responsible for flying me to Kazakhstan and getting me involved with this project, Davide Tappero Merlo. Here we are in front of Turkistan’s mausoleum, which is about 1500 years old. Three trips here are equivalent to one trip to Mecca.
This is Pascal, the protagonist of the show, taking one of his infamous selfies in the middle of the dried up Aral sea. I am in the back scratching my butt.
Another one of Pascal’s infamous selfies, while driving to Aral’s lake.
On the train to Aral Sea we met a lot of nice people. This woman was in our train cabin, she was very quiet but she wasn’t afraid to share her food, her drinks and her peaceful demeanor. She ended up being in the episode.
I can assure you there’s a perfect logical explanation for me being completely dressed inside a sauna.
Shooting one of Pascal’s performances on the top of one of Astana’s tallest buildings.
Here are some pages from a sketchbook I kept during the trip. this is a few items i brought with me for the trip.
Shooting in Aral’s dried lake bed.
a page from a comic detailing how me, Davide and Pascal worked together.
Beshparmak is the typical dish in Kazakhstan, and I had to try it at least once of course.
I also had to try dipping into an ice-cold river after a fire-hot sauna.
back at Pascal’s place, Davide dumps footage from cards to hard drives, Pascal composes a song, I draw.