Affiorare | Surfacing (VR)


Affiorare (Surfacing) is a VR experimental documentary set in prison.

Like in a fairy tale, the viewer is immersed in the everyday life of mothers and kids living in special places: prisons and custody institutions for inmates with their children.
360° footage at children’s eye level and animations embark us on a magical journey from the iconic Panopticon system of control, to the most recent confinement centres. Like the hero’s journey, the protagonists tell us – in a deep and poetic way- their first impressions of the prison, the smells, the fears, the challenges.
Their perception of prison as a submerged world is mirrored by illustrations (made in collaboration with mothers and children) depicting their past memories and their dreams for the future. Animations enhance this surreal world using the metaphor of an underwater world where animated animals are free to move and breathe.
A tale of pain but also resilience and hope, at the boundary between reality and imagination, which is able to speak to everyone and connect with personal memories of childhood.


Directed by
Rossella Schillaci, Italy, Portugal, 2022, 20´
Annecy FF, Open City London, Adelaide IFF, Clermond Ferrand FF

Rossella Schillaci is a filmmaker and a visual anthropologist. After graduating in Manchester, she directed several documentary films, awarded at international festivals and broadcasted at ARTE, RAI, Sky and Al Jazeera. Among her latest films, Les enfants en prison was co-produced and broadcast by Arte and won the Etoile de la Scam, Free Women was distributed by Lab 80 in more than 300 Italian cinemas. She is completing a PhD in Digital Media, working in a research program involving Italian, Portuguese and Texan universities.