A single act of courage stylishly revisited – ‘The Refusal’ transports back to a 1960s Sicily, for a historic film with an impact

Exotic locations, emerging and established talent and stylish cinematography are set to create the spectacular yet resolute tale of how one person can make a difference for an upcoming hard-hitting film. Reminding the audience about a very real impact on society, ‘Il Rifiuto’ (The Refusal), will tell the very true story of a woman who was kidnapped and raped at 17 years old, and shocked the public by refusing a ‘shotgun’ wedding. 

Set to be filmed on location in Sicily, the film will provide a compelling account of Franca Viola, who spent years fighting for freedom justice and the right to be heard during the century-defining 1960s. Highlighting how the cycle of violence can be broken with a single act of courage, the film is the brainchild of London-based co-directors, Yurj Buzzi and Najma Bhatti, who have 17 years’ experience working in the creative industry directing and working with projects around the world, both in front of and behind the camera. The short film will follow Franca’s journey as she, against all odds, successfully obtained a conviction against her abductor and his accomplices. 

Penned by Melissa Panarello, an Italian writer known for her compelling writing style and ability to tell stories as they are, the film will not shy away from the true nature of the story. Well-respected Italian composer Andrea Morricone is set to provide the soundtrack. The son of composer Ennio Morrocone, he is a Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winner who has decades of experience creating sympathetic yet ground-breaking film scores for a range of international films. 

Talking about the film, Yurj said, “This project is a truly one of a kind experience for both myself and Najma. We wanted to create something truly spectacular, offering contrasting styles between the films stunning visuals and the gritty nature of the story, while still being sympathetic to the journey Franca went on. With our vision and determination, together with the exceptional crew we have on board, we feel this is something we can definitely achieve.” 

Becoming a symbol of women’s emancipation and modern day women’s rights, her story has influenced women in all four corners of the world. Najma adds, “I feel very lucky to have been born a women now, and am very aware of the struggles faced by women younger than me as little as 50 years ago. Stories of second-wave feminism such as the story of the suffragettes and icons such as Gloria Steinem are extremely well-known throughout the world. This film is designed to bring Franca’s story to the forefront of people’s minds, establish her as an icon of the feminist movement during the 1960s and set an example for the current younger generation that change is possible.” 

Il Rifiuto is looking for backers to help make the unique film. Having just launched on Kickstarter Yurj and Najma hope to raise the money to cover the production and distribution of the film in order to get it out to the wider audience. 

To find out more, visit their page on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1137589706/il-rifiuto-the-refusal  

Film Website: www.ilrifiutofilm.com  

Connect on social media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ilrifiutofilm/  

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/yurjb  


Dakota Digital for Il Rifiuto

Contact: Hannah Byrne

Email: hannah@dakotadigital.co.uk

Tel UK: 01623 428996

Tel US: 917-720-3025 


‘Il Rifiuto’ is a film based on the true story of Franca Viola who was kidnapped and raped at 17 and shocked the public by refusing a shotgun wedding. Join the campaign now to ‘say yes to say NO’.



  • Dakota Digital