Mo Scarpelli


Italy & USA

Mo Scarpelli is an Italian-American director, writer and cinematographer. A SONG THAT SLAYS is her first fiction feature. Her previous mostly-nonfiction films have screened at the Berlinale, Visions du Réel, IDFA, Film Society of Lincoln Center and SXSW, among other venues. Her debut solo-directed film ANBESSA was nominated for both the Crystal Bear and Glashütte Documentary Prize at the 69° Berlinale, broadcast with ARTE/ZDF, and was released online with MUBI. Her latest film EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF received the jury’s Special Mention for Best International Feature at the 51° Visions du Réel and recently was awarded the TorinoFilmLab Audience Design Fund. Mo is Berlinale Talents selection, and has received fellowships from the New America Foundation, Cortona on the Move, and the Intl Women in Media Foundation. She is based in Rome.


A Song That Slays

When the winds sweep over the dry plains of western Kenya, everyone runs in fear of the god of the wind — the yomöt — which can steal your soul. Everyone except 15-year-old Chesang. Chesang has a secret friendship with the yomöt, who knows her desire to escape her nomadic tribe’s tradition of marrying young. So when Chesang’s family arranges her marriage to an old man in exchange for a cattle dowry they desperately need, the yomöt sends her to find a pink flower hidden in the bush that holds the key to her escape. Chesang’s search is derailed by the violence of her community against herself and other girls facing grave pressures to marry and give birth. When she finds the pink flower, she discovers it is poison, for her to use on whomever she chooses.