Nessun Dorma (No One Sleeps)

: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production


An imaginative 11-year-old boy barrels into a rural town in a stolen Trans-Am, upending the routines of a widowed police dispatcher and a secretive barber.


The lives of Penny, the nighttime police dispatcher, and Nino, the barber, get turned upside down when 11-year-old Speed drives a stolen Trans-Am into their small rural town, home to no more than 500 people.

When Nino finds Speed sleeping on his staircase, he reaches out to Penny trying to figure out how to handle the unexpected visitor. Not an easy task, considering Speed’s initial reluctance to open up and cooperate.

Despite the remarkable age difference and in their effort to understand more about the child’s past, Penny and Nino learn how to relate to Speed, by getting him involved in their daily routines, both at the police station and at the barber shop, where he eventually gets familiar with some of the regulars.

As social services come looking for him, more details about his past emerge. He teaches Penny how to drive her late husband’s car and he helps unveil some secrets between Penny and Nino. Eventually they will find themselves standing up for Speed and having to decide whether to help him in his quest for a mysterious mermaid.


Nessun Dorma is about the universal transition from being a child and chasing dreams to getting old and holding on to memories.

As a storyteller I'm interested in exploring what happens when characters are dropped in a foreign context. I want to make a portrait of them filled with love, but not too sentimental or holding back from showing their flaws. A mix of humor and tenderness, with the addition of a pinch of darkness.

As a US/European team, our process aims to match the charming specificity of European filmmaking with the ambitious universality of American storytelling.


Matteo Servente - Director

Matteo graduated at the Torino University in Cinema Studies. He then attended a New York film Academy intensive workshop in Paris, where he experimented for over a year with a collective of fellow filmmakers. In 2004, he moved to Sydney to attend APA Int’l film School, after which he directed and produced his first short film, Dammi il La, which ended up winning awards at several international film festivals. In 2007, he moved to the US, to work on his feature debut, The Romance of Loneliness, which he eventually made in 2011 with co-director Sarah Ledbetter. He’s now developing his new feature, Nessun Dorma, which was selected as one of the finalists for the 2013 Biennale Cinema College and was invited to the 2014 IFP No Borders.

Ryan Watt - Producer

Ryan is a film and media producer in Memphis, TN and the Executive Director of Indie Memphis. He co-founded Paper Moon Films in 2009 to increase the visibility of emerging artists and shepherd their projects from development through production and distribution. Watt collaborated with Matteo Servente on his feature film debut THE ROMANCE OF LONELINESS with co-director Sarah Ledbetter. Watt produced Kentucker Audley’s OPEN FIVE, listed on the ‘Top 25 Films of 2010’ by The New Yorker Magazine. His next film was Martha Stephens’ PILGRIM SONG, which premiered in Narrative Competition at 2012 SXSW and was awarded the ‘Best Southern Film’ from Oxford American Magazine. Watt produced Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck’s FORTY YEARS FROM YESTERDAY, which premiered in Narrative Competition at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival and at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival. He is an associate producer of FREE IN DEED by Jake Mahaffy, currently in post-production. Watt began his film career as Executive Producer of DAYLIGHT FADES, distributed on Hulu in USA and Lionsgate Home Entertainment in the UK.

Phil Newsom - Producer

Phil is a NYC-based producer working in film and theater. He’s produced April Flowers, starring Celina Jade and Keir Dullea, the forthcoming I Can. I Will. I Did., and the feature documentary Dog Camp. He served as the co-producer and co-writer for the award-winning feature film The Monument, and his short film Kidnapping Carl played at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan last year. Other film credits include Baby Showers, Kid Sister, Simple Mind and the web series Deep Dish. For theater, Phil produced Martin Blank’s The Law of Return, which is being turned into a major motion picture by Gail Berman’s The Jackal Group. 

Joseph Carr - Producer

Joseph lives and works in Memphis, TN. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis film program and has worked as an actor in FERAL (dir. Morgan Jon Fox), THE DEPT OF SIGNS AND MAGICAL INTERVENTION (dir. Melissa Sweazy), as well as others. In addition, he has worked behind the scenes as the First Assistant Director for TEAM PICTURE (dir. Kentucker Audley), and producer of DEFAULT SETTINGS (dir. Eric Tate), and LIGHTS CAMERA BULLSH*T (dir. Chad Allen Barton). He is the recipient of the 2014 Indie Memphis Production Grant for RETURNS. It will mark his directorial debut. 

Melissa Sweazy - Writer

Melissa is an award winning screenwriter, blogger, and photographer living in Memphis, TN. Her directorial debut, JOHN'S FARM, premiered at the LA Shorts Fest in 2013 and claimed the hometowner's prize for Best Short at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Her short screenplay THE DEPARTMENT OF SIGNS AND MAGICAL INTERVENTION won the grand prize in the 2012 Vail Film Festival's screenplay competition, placing in the top 3 at the 2013 Nantucket Film Festival. Her feature length script THE DEVIL IN REVERSE was a top ten contender in Frank Darabont's Darkwoods Entertainment category at the 2013 Austin Film Festival's writing conference, her sci-fi pilot BRINK making the semifinals. Her essays have been featured in LA Weekly and's first anthology, Dirt is Good for You, and her blog Thoroughly Modern Medusahead has been honored by Blogger as a Blog of Note. 


Connect With The Filmmakers:


IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2019
Galway Film Fleadh 2015
IFP No Borders 2014
Torino Film Event 2014
Biennale Cinema College 2013


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