Ya & Niki

Ra Di Martino

Italy

Genre : Fiction
Length: 85’
Project status: Development
Budget : 1 212 000 €
Acquired budget: 337 000 €
Funds: Snaporazverein (CH), MiC Italian production tax credit
Shooting countries: Egypt, Lebanon

Second Feature Film

Nicole, an Italian teenage TikToker is on holiday with her parents, a once proud couple today crumpled by a fading beauty syndrome. The family is in Egypt, at an all-inclusive resort. She starts playing an online video game to escape the boredom and the paradoxical environment she’s landed in. In the game she meets Ya, an avatar eerily resembling hers, and a much better fighter than she is. The two avatars are instantly intrigued by each other, and over time, feel an attraction as unexpected as it is sensual. Straying from the battlefield, they keep embarking on side quests. Observing the surrounding virtual landscapes, they search for intimacy. Suddenly Niki, Nicole’s avatar, discovers that behind Ya is Yamen, a young Syrian refugee stranded in a camp in Beirut, an Orwellian conundrum where people are waiting for a future that may never come. The fates of Yamen and Nicole and their avatars Ya and Niki intertwine, triggering a relationship that will shape their identities.

Note of intention

This film is born from the desire to talk about love, connections and the virtual, the virtual as an aspect of reality, triggering relationships and shaping identities. It’s about people so immersed with virtual interfaces that they start living in it. In the film, the imagined and the projected, the past and the present are indissoluble and equally real. Self-representation through a virtual, idealized avatar, or alter ego, becomes concrete. An adventure as poetic and dramatic as it’s ironic and surreal. Visually the film will have to different approaches to cinematography according to the two different locations and to each protagonist’s viewpoint, to then merge into one place in the virtual world.
In my projects I’ve often been focusing on how media become part of our mnemonic texture and how they inform our choices. As I observe virtual relationships, gaming, connections and reality intercrossing and feeding each other, I see the virtual becoming a real possibility for escape, for survival but also for love, thus going back into reality and then back again.

Director

Ra Di Martino

Filmography

• Moonbird | 2022 | 35’
• The Garden That Doesn’t Exist | 2021 | 52’
• Fuori dai teatri | 2021 | 30’
• 100 Piper | 2019 | 18’ 21
• Controfigura | 2017 | 75

Production

Production : Dugong Films (Italy)
Producer: Giulia Achilli

Coproduction : Abbout Productions (Lebanon)
Coproducer: Georges Schoucair

Coproduction : Cats Films (Egypt)
Coproducer: Norah Elkhateeb

Selective filmography

Stéphanie Roland

Chloé Galibert-Laîné

Dan Sallitt

Paula Rodríguez Polanco

Riar Rizaldi

Advik Beni & Nehal Vyas

Leonardo Mouramateus

Katsuya Tomita