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In a bid to increase black representation in new Italian cinema, well-known Italian author turned screenwriter Antonio Dikele Distefano made his worldwide debut on Netflix Italia in 2021 with the groundbreaking mini-series, "Zero," featuring a primarily black cast. The story is focused on life for Black Italian youth and their plight as members of an invisible class of society. But when a young Black teen called Zero discovers he can literally make himself invisible, he uses his gift to fight rich and powerful forces attempting to gentrify his neighborhood. The historic nature of the series is even more remarkable given there are so few leading Black characters in Italian film, and the entertainment industry is creating quite a buzz about the first Black Italian film director backed by a major studio in Italy. The 30-year-old multi-hyphenate creator hails from Angolan parents, was born and raised in the Northern Italian city of Ravenna, and now lives and works in Milan. Before connecting with Netflix Italia, Antonio had already become an inspiration to many Black Italians through publishing, television, and social media projects. He went on to write five novels for Mondadori between 2014 and 2019, with combined sales exceeding 500,000 copies sold. Along the way, he founded Esse Magazine in 2016 as an outlet for young Black artists to gain recognition and did video interviews with emerging performers. Today, Esse is the largest rap publication in Italy. In addition, he owns the communications agency Cantera. His first foray into screenplays netted the newly released "Zero" Netflix Italia mini-series, which launched him onto the world stage. Antonio dreams of founding his own production company one day and producing films that bring Black performers onto the world stage so they're no longer invisible. He says doing quality projects that positively portray underserved communities will give people an opportunity to exist. If the mainstream chooses to ignore them, that's their choice, but they'll no longer be invisible.


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