A 19-year-old Italian student won the People’s Choice Award at Ealing Film Festival last week.

Luca Pappalardo, a MetFilm School student living in London, won the prize with his black and white short film 'I wait for the dawn', receiving praise for his cinematography.

Winners of Ealing’s first very own film festival, which featured entries from 20 countries, were announced on December 31st.

Pappalardo said: “The choice of the black and white is born of an experiment tried after having watched many films in black and white during lockdown. I was very inspired by the cinema of Hitchcock and Fellini.

“This choice has also a subtext. It represents how the protagonist sees life. He cannot find a point of junction. He only sees the extremes.

“Cinema for me has always been not only a form of entertainment, but a form of personal expression.

“It is an art form. Therefore, it has no cultural, linguistic or national barriers.”

The film, whose cast is part of EXEDRA Arts, speaks to the experience of many Italians who are resented by their loved ones for leaving their homes in search of a different life.

The central conflict arises when its protagonist, played by Salvocanto, loses his passport before moving away from home, leading him on a series of bitter exchanges with family and friends.

Pappalardo said: “Salvo, the main character, presents an internal contradiction defined by his desire to realize himself in a society that satisfies him. At the same time, he is still bound to his land.”

Pappalardo, born and raised in Sicily, was inspired by his own life, although unlike the protagonist, he was always supported in his choices.

Like many other Italian students, 6% of all high school students according to Business Insider, Pappalardo decided to spend a year abroad in the USA.

He said: “Being away from home for an entire year is an experience that shapes you, and makes you think about many things. It was sort of a brief goodbye to my land.”

Ealing, home to the oldest film studios in the world, got its own festival after it was founded by Alan Granley, Annemarie Flanagan and Peter Gould.