Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Questionnaire (Will Berry & Carlo Liberatore)

Will Berry

What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live?

Will Berry. I am an award-winning writer/director/cinematographer living in Austin, Texas. Originally from Maine,

When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

I ventured into the south to launch my filmmaking career in Nashville, Tennessee. The first film directed by me is The Little Stage (2016) and Nashedonia (2017). In 2018, I graduated from Brown University with honors in Modern Culture & Media and Literary Arts. The thesis of my degree was the film Off the Record (2018). For this, I received the Kenneth Baker ‘69 Memorial Honors Prize. Also took a few good screenwriting courses.

What is the story based upon?

In The Walk-Offs, a group of college athletes agrees to quit their sports and run away on spring break. But when one of them doesn’t show, the others reroute their trip to search for their missing friend.

Carlo Liberatore

What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?

Carlo Liberatore. I am an Italian director, screenwriter, and festival director. Through the use of news photography and writing, I immediately showed a propensity for narration that develops. Graduated from Vittorio Storaro’s Accademia Internazionale per le Arti e le Scienze dell’Immagineand. Moreover, my specialization is in directing and screenwriting along with research on dramatic techniques of McKee, Vogler, Hauge, Seger, and Edson.

My first film, La stanza degli ospiti (The guests’ room) is a documentary. It covers the difficult situation in L’Aquila after the earthquake. In addition, the direction was supervised by Oscar candidate Gianfranco Rosi. Furthermore, I was the assistant director for Riccardo Milani and backstage director for Lamberto Felice’s film Cloro (2015 Sundance Film Festival 2015).

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest?

I also work as a screenwriter for the Victor Perez’s production company Masked Frame Pictures. In 2016 after writing the short film script outline called Another Love, directed by Victor Perez, I felt really delighted. The best part is that it received more than 40 nominations and 27 prizes at international film festivals. From commercials to institutional videos, I write and direct everything. In 2016 a special mention at the Cervignano Film Festival for the musical video La tipa di Rock-it was the best moment for me.

Since 2015 he has been the festival director of the Sulmona International Film Festival that has reached its 37th edition. The festival celebrates young cinema around the world with a selection of unreleased works by emerging directors. Carlo is currently writing his first feature script.

From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

It is time to break the silence. “In your hands” tries to rip the veil of complicity. It wants to tell the intense and complex story of Don Nello, a tormented man with a sense of guilt who intends to open a breach in the system of protection based on the silence of the ecclesiastical authorities. It is a short film that investigates the thorny theme of child abuse in the Church through a narrative that aims to be dry and anti-rhetorical.

In this sense, the reflection starts from the point of view of the antagonist, which is unusual for stories of this type, and from his attempt to understand the reasons for a highly criminal gesture. The priest is juxtaposed with the menacing rage of a father who is fuelled by a deep desire for revenge. The conflict between these two characters puts into play a tragic manhunt in the background of a bitter and imposing setting.


The character development of “In your hands” is part of the complex reality that concerns the world of the representatives of the Catholic Church. The dramaturgical assumption thus describes the dynamics of connivance based on silence put in place in a case of abuse on a minor, trying to describe this theme from different points of view. The guilty priest, the victim, the seminarian, the confessor, and the bishop. Different levels of power and representation tied by the affirmation of an undeniable truth: the education system based on the repression of sexual desire and reactionary management based on the concealment of crimes committed by priests are now an ineradicable evil. The Church representatives are opposed to the desire for personal revenge of a man who has lost everything and has suffered the worst of wrongs.


Don Nello (70) is the protagonist of the story. He’s the man who committed the abuse, so the narrative proceeds from the point of view of who committed the fact. Nello is a man deeply tormented by what he has done. He is not a serial abuser but a man who made a fatal mistake once. Not once did he ever puts himself in the condition of self-justification. On the contrary, he immediately admits his crime. Moreover, he mistakenly entrusts the institution, not having the lucidity necessary for self-incrimination to the secular authority. Guided by a deep sense of bewilderment, the man turns to his bishopric of competence that transfers him in a hermitage set in the mountains in order to leave everything behind. Prayer and silence. But this is not enough for Don Nello.

In his atonement path, Nello questions the dogmas of religious authority and the repressive education that is imparted to seminarians. His personality first clashes with the categorical obtuseness of the confessor -to which he tries to rely on- and then with the creeping ambiguity of a bishop who must cover up the fact. The character’s transformation arc will pass from cowardice to an extremely courageous choice: he decides to surrender to the father’s wrath in order to pay penance that however will twist in an unexpected outcome. The story reaches a climax when a seminarian strikes an arrow in the breast of the father to protect a “new member of the family”.

This action represents a further and repeated step towards connivance. The old man’s cover-up moves to the young man in an endless circle.


Pietro (45) is the father of the child who was abused by Don Nello. He is an ordinary man with a slender body that grows in height. Pietro wants to take justice into his own hands. He has a tendency to keep things inside and that explodes when the umpteenth bad thing happens. After some moments of hesitation, Pietro decides to find Don Nello putting in place a real manhunt. Sara, his daughter, is the only person he has left, and he turns, probably without any real disposition, into a murderer. The dramatic thrust of this character poses a further fundamental question: is it right to ignore authority and carry out an act of revenge that might take Pietro away from his daughter who has already suffered terribly wrong?


Marco (20) is a young seminarian. Naive and dreamer. Indissolubly linked to a dogmatic education, Marco leads a life far from the usual youth problems and stimulus. Mark lives in an anachronistic time bubble governed by prayer and apparently good intentions. The boy suffers the intellectual fascination of Don Nello, a poet he read about and loved during his seminary training. His narrative arc passes from the expectation of a bright sporting future, to be reconciled to his passionate vocation, to the destruction of his life because of a fatal gesture. Marco, moved by a sense of protection towards Don Nello and unaware of the priest’s past, ends up killing Pietro and destroying his existence in the name of connivance, of which he involuntarily becomes the bearer.


Don Lorenzo (70) and Carlo Boeri (60) both represent, from different points of view, all the obtuseness and the tearing cynicism of the Catholic Church when it comes to cases of abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy. One is deafly attached to a doctrine often inapplicable in its fundamentalisms and the other is governed by a slimy conservation policy dedicated to solving problems through silence and prayer.