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The producer and 2018 Academy Award winner J. Miles Dale, the screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and the director for original Sky productions Nils Hartmann, together with Nicola Lusuardi and Stefano Bises, will reveal the secrets of the world of cinema and TV series.

Sestri Levante – A producer and Academy Award winner, a globally renowned screenwriter and an international team for original TV series productions. The Riviera International Film Festival warms up its engine by announcing the three Masterclasses of the 2019 edition, which will be given by J. Miles Dale, Scott Z. Burns and the director for original Sky productions Nils Hartmann, together with Nicola Lusuardi and Stefano Bises. The international film festival for Under 35 directors will take place from 7th to 12th May in Sestri Levante and several locations in the Tigullio gulf. The Riviera International Film Festival is supported by Comune di Sestri Levante and Mediaterraneo Servizi.

«It’s a great honor – says Stefano Gallini-Durante, president and founder of the Riviera International Film Festival – to include in RIFF 2019 program Masterclasses given by experts of this caliber, world-class protagonists in the world of cinema.  We are also working to involve Universities and schools in our festival: we want young people to be inspired and to go back to dreaming, especially in this cynical historical moment, in which inspiration often doesn’t have any place in their education». Three world-class level Masterclasses to deepen several aspects of the world of cinema and TV series. Valentina Ghio, mayor of Sestri Levante, comments: «We can confirm that the Riviera Film Festival will be one of the central events in our city. It is a project which completely embraces the tourism and culture policies of Sestri Levante and which encompasses many aspects. The focus on Under 35 directors and the high-level Masterclasses program, hosting leading professionals of the international cinema stage, make the Riviera Film Festival an event of great importance that we are proud to host in our region».

Miles Dale, producer and 2018 Academy Award winner with “The Shape of Water”, regular collaborator of Guillermo del Toro, will describe the essence and the various aspects of its work, from the creation of the screenplay to the film screening. The director for original Sky productions Nils Hartmann will present all creative, editorial and methodological aspects of selection and development of original productions for pay TV. The screenwriter Stefano Bises will describe the writing process which made “Gomorrah – the TV series” an international success. Nicola Lusuardi will focus on the story editing process, namely the aesthetical and narrative definition of the project. Scott Z. Burns, screenwriter of worldwide successful movies such as “The Bourne Ultimatum”, “Side Effects”, “Contagion” and “The Mercy”, will analyze the writing approach needed to create a screenplay based on a true story. 

As in last year’s edition, the Riviera International Film Festival launched a call for a Student Jury. The application deadline is on March, 25th. The five students which will represent the Student Jury will attend all festival’s events and will receive a free accommodation in Sestri Levante. They will choose which documentary will win the Student Award. Moreover, the Art Festival Poster of RIFF 2019 made by Tex illustrator Stefano Biglia has been presented some days ago.

Masterclass tickets will be available soon at 




The producer is one of the most difficult roles to define in the movie industry. The Riviera Film Festival 2019 Masterclass by J.Miles Dale, producer and 2018 Academy Award winner for “The Shape of Water”, will clarify producer’s role, functions and aspects. What does it exactly mean: “to produce a film”?  Does the producer have a role or a clearly defined position which encompass all aspects of the project, from the creation of the screenplay to the film screening?

The producer supervises each stage of the project. At RIFF 2019 J. Miles Dale will talk about his experience in Hollywood, the rules of this field, his beginnings and his ideas about this profession, which is a key factor in the film realization but still frequently undervalued. 

Miles Dale is a Canadian film producer and director. Son of the musician Jimmy Dale, he made his debut on television at 24 producing “Comedy Factor”. Today he is mainly known for having produced “The Shape of Water” (directed by Guillermo del Toro, awarded with the Golden Lion for best film at Venice Film Festival in 2017 and four Academy Awards in 2018), “The Vow” (directed by Michael Sucsy), “Mama” (directed by Andy Muschietti) and the TV series “The Strain” (directed by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan).   


More than 10 years ago Sky triggered a qualitative growth and an innovation of the language of TV series. Its original productions – which started with “Romanzo criminale” – showed that it was possible to make a new kind of TV series in Italy. The Masterclass “Sky Original Series: The New Generation” will discuss all creative, editorial and methodological aspects during the selection and development process of original Sky productions, constantly looking for quality and original details to be competitive on the international stage.

Nils Hartmann (director for original Sky Italy productions) will describe the editorial and productive approach and the strategy which lead Sky Italy’s decisions and determine the identity of Sky’s “originals”; Nicola Lusuardi will concentrate on the story editing process, namely the aesthetical and narrative definition of the project; Stefano Bises will describe the creative writing process which made the TV series “Gomorrah” become one of the first Italian series to have a great international success. 

Nils Hartmann, director for original Sky Italy productions, has been working for television productions for 28 years. In 2003 he started to work at Sky Italy as Creative Director. He later became director for original productions and responsible for the entire scripted and unscripted division. He produced for Sky international several successful TV series, such as “Romanzo Criminale” (Criminal Novel), “Gomorrah”, “The Young Pope” (together with the Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino) and recently “Il Miracolo” (The Miracle), directed and conceived by Niccolò Ammaniti. Among the new original Sky series projects, currently in production, are “ZeroZeroZero”, directed by the showrunner and director Stefano Sollima, “Diavoli”, by the English director Nick Hurran, starring Patrick Dempsey and Alessandro Borghi, as well as the new seasons of Sky’s greatest successes: “1994”, “Gomorrah 4” and “The New Pope”, starring Jude Law and John Malkovich. Nils Hartmann is also the person in charge for the production of some of the most famous entertainment TV shows, such as “X Factor”, “Masterchef Italy” and “Italia’s Got Talent”. 

Stefano Bises is one of the most important screenwriters in Italy. After a 15-year experience as broadcast journalist, he started to dedicate himself full-time in screenwriting for network TV, auteur TV series and cinema. Some of his works are the Italian TV series: “La squadra”, “Distretto di polizia”, “RIS”, “Squadra antimafia”, “Questo nostro amore”, “È arrivata la felicità”, “La mafia uccide solo d’estate” and the films: “Contromano”, “La vita facile” and “L’ultimo padrino”. He worked with Sky Italy on the story and the screenplay for the TV series “Gomorrah”, which reached an international success and whose narrative language started a revolution in the Italian TV series scene. He also worked together with Niccolò Ammaniti on the screenplay for his series “Il Miracolo”. His future projects are “The New Pope”, directed by the Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino and “ZeroZeroZero” directed by the showrunner and director Stefano Sollima.

Nicola Lusuardi is a screenwriter, story editor and creative producer. He worked on several series and mini-series for the most important Italian broadcasters. He gives lessons and masterclasses about dramaturgy in TV series in various European countries and coordinates many international training and development programs. Since 2011 he collaborates with Sky Italy as story editor and consultant for scouting and for the creation of original series. 




Do true stories exist? How can we adapt a screenplay to actual events, involving the public and honoring the true story at the same time? In his Masterclass, Scott Z. Burns, trusted screenwriter of Steven Soderbergh, will analyze this issue, focusing on the challenges and the pitfalls a screenwriter can use to faithfully describe something that has really happened without letting entertainment take over the truth. Scott Z. Burns will analyze some scenes from “The Report”, a film starring Anette Bening and Adam Driver, presented at the last Sundance Film Festival.

A screenplay based on a true story must take account of the events and the people who lived it. The writing process is therefore different from the one of a fiction screenplay, an invented story. Characters and situations play a central role, but does truth have to be completely reported? Which kind of choices can a screenwriter make to sum up in two hours what happened in several days, years, decades or centuries?

Scott Z. Burns is an American screenwriter and producer. He began his career in 2006 writing and directing “Pu-239”. The following year he wrote the screenplay for “The Bourne Ultimatum”, directed by Paul Greengrass, the third in the Jason Bourne film series. The former secret agent Jason Bourne was played by Matt Damon. From 2009 to 2013 he worked together with Steven Soderbergh to write the screenplays for “The Informant!”, “Contagion” and “Side Effects”. In 2018 he wrote the screenplay for the film “The Mercy”, starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.