Franco Rosso

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Franco Rosso (29 August 1941 – 9 December 2016),[1][2] was an Italian-born film producer and director based in England, whose films demonstrate "rare sympathy and understanding with minority groups in general, immigrant minority groups in particular."[3] He is known for making films about Black British culture, and in particular for the 1980 cult film Babylon, about Black youth in south London,[4] which was backed by the National Film Finance Corporation.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Rosso was born in Turin, Piedmont, Italy, but grew up in London, where his parents (who had been Fiat workers in Turin) brought him when he was aged eight.[4] After attending comprehensive school in Battersea,[4] Rosso went on to Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art (at which he was a contemporary of Ian Dury).[3][6]

He was assistant on Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes,[7] and his subsequent career as a filmmaker has encompassed feature films as well as television documentaries and series, working as an editor, producer, director and writer.[8] In 1981 he won as Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Film-Maker for his 1981 drama Babylon,[9] which was called by New Britain fanzine "one of the best British films ever made, not just one of the best 'Black' or 'Youth' films".[10]

Selected filmography[edit]

  • 1973: The Mangrove Nine — documentary about the Mangrove Nine (director; co-producer Horace Ové, scripted by John La Rose)
  • 1979: Dread Beat an Blood — documentary for Omnibus featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson (director)
  • 1981: Babylon — drama (director, writer)
  • 1985: Sixty-Four Day Hero: A Boxer's Tale (director)
  • 1986: Struggle for Stonebridge - documentary for 40 Minutes, BBC Two (director)
  • 1988: The Nature of the Beast (director)
  • 1991: Lucha Libre — for television (director)
  • 1995: Money Drugs Lock-up (director)