Stories featuring female lead characters that make you cheer for them and with them

“Why do you write such strong female characters?”, they asked Joss Whedon. It happened already back in the 90’s, with Buffy, the prey a.k.a. final girl turned into a huntress. “Only because they keep asking me this question”, he replied.

We look for stories featuring female lead characters that make you cheer for them and with them. They may be both strong, angry and ambitious and insecure, unhappy women. What matters is that they do not reflect the female clichés we already know and can transport you into a story that has no gender limitations both in terms of courage and weak spots at once.

The Rodolfo Sonego Award of short film screenwriting from the collaboration between Lago Film Fest and Scuola Holden is back. After last year’s success, the 15th edition of the

International Independent Film Festival once again proposes this competition for unpublished short film screenplays named after Rodolfo Sonego—the locally-born screenwriter and collaborator of iconic actor Alberto Sordi. This year, the Rodolfo Sonego Award will focus on the theme of lead female characters. On TV, in movies as well as on web, stories are increasingly led by female characters, be they girls, women, children or old ladies. This strongly signals how important it is to keep an eye on collective cultural shifts.
With the most recents social changes as contributing factors, female narratives are more and more common and with increasingly multi-faceted female lead characters. Conflicted, complicated, imperfect, vulnerable, always compelling female characters. And, most importantly, real ones.

Shortlisted screenplays 2019

Ruben Marciano – Gelsomina
Alfredo Vazzoler – Figlie di nessuno
Zeno Du Ban – Gaia
Daniel Coffaro – Al termine della notte
Chiara Lazzaretti – Diana_Zen ha iniziato a seguirti
Rebecca Gatti – Colomba
Michela Nuti e Gemma Pistis – Un (quasi) rapimento sull’A4
Martina Funmilayo Ogunleye – L’Oracolo di Orfeo
Riccardo Mastrocola – Bed Therapy


«It all started in a very spontaneous way, meaning that Rodolfo never theorised or set up his own ‘workshop’ […] His workshop actually existed as a very small group of friends who gradually learned the trade from him. They just learned by doing […] He never really followed an abstract theory.» So Silvia Napolitano, screenwriter and one of the inner circle of Sonego’s friends-students. The very idea of the Lago Film Fest Summer Camp in collaboration with Scuola Holden is rooted in Rodolfo’s idea of a small and laborious coterie. A fully immersive experience for the young screenwriters participating in this competition named after Rodolfo Sonego. Nine finalists selected on criteria of quality will go through four days of refinement and bombardment of stimuli in a benevolent Full Metal Jacket-like sort of treatment. The workshop’s material development of screenplays in competition combines with

a theoretical in-depth study of the topic of the lead female character under the constant assistance and supervision of three tutors. Both activities are enriched with talks, screenings and afternoon practice. At the end of the course, the participants’ scripts will have been enhanced and pitches developed for them to propose to directors and producers on the last day of the Summer Camp. However, the experience won’t end with the Festival, as this coming September the workshop’s finalists will reconvene at the Venice Film Festival to share their film’s development dossier. The October appointment will then be at the Torino Short Film Market in Turin, and the writers’ pitch will this time be in front of an audience of producers and distributors. The winner will be announced at the Scuola Holden during the days of the Market.



Born in Turin, Aaron Ariotti After attended the Scuola Holden and later moved to Rome in 1997, where he attended a RAI training course and, three years later, the Mediatrade Fiction School.

For eleven years he’s been mainly working in TV series as a screenwriter (Ugo, Don Luca II, Grandi Domani, Centovetrine, Sottocasa, I Cesaroni, Il Tredicesimo Apostolo, Denaro Rosso Sangue). In 2011 he signed the subject of a series featuring Stefano Accorsi (Etrangers) for the French market. He recently completed a cinema screenplay. He is the coordinator of the College di Serialità at the Scuola Holden, and also teaches at the Scuola Belleville of Milan.

He is a founding member of WGI.


After her master degree in storytelling technique at the Scuola Holden, she won the Solinas Award for her storyline titled Un Indiano Metropolitano. She won the Corto in Bra festival with the script of the Bondy Beach short film. She also won the Medusa Prize with her script of Shimessalinu! Che D…o ce ne scampi e liberi!

Laudani writes for cinema (Il Giorno Più Bello, Questa Notte è Ancora Nostra, Tre Giorni Dopo), television (Extravergine, Tutta Colpa di Freud the series, The Comedians, Donne di Camilleri, Il Giovane Montalbano) and documentaries (La Guerra dei Vulcani, Il Mondiale Dimenticato, Looking for Kadija).


Davide Serino is a Rome based screenwriter. He has worked for Sky (1992 and 1993, The Comedians), RAI (Donne, from short stories written by Andrea Camilleri plus two other series he wrote for RAI Uno currently being filmed) and Amazon (an original series currently being developed). Serino is also active in Germany. His most exciting ongoing project is Marco Bellocchio’s first ever TV series, Esterno notte.