Established actor turns hand to gritty directing after years in front of the camera

Actor, model and writer are words not often used to describe one person, however Yurj Buzzi is one of a kind. Studying at the Actors’ School in School of Cinema in Rome, and Actors Centre in London, he honed his skills and developed a love for both sides of cinematography. Now, having worked in front of the camera throughout his career, he is turning his hand to directing his first short movie. 

Set to co-direct the short film ‘Il Rifiuto’ (The Refusal) with partner Najma Bhatti, the film will tell the true story of Franca Viola, a young Sicilian girl who, in the 1960s, shocked the public by refusing a shotgun wedding after being kidnapped and raped at the tender age of seventeen. Designed to bring the story to worldwide attention, the film will bring together an unrivalled team who are all leaders in their field. Andrea Morricone, a Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning composer, is set to bring the film to life with a moving score, and Melissa Panarello, a well-respected writer has taken ownership of the screenplay. 

Speaking about his transition from in front of the camera to behind, Yurj said, “I’ve always been passionate about human rights and having grown up in a very matriarchal family supported feminism from a young age. Being in the media industry for many years has allowed me to not only develop my skills as an actor, but also learn about the film-making process as well as discover more about the stories that defined a generation. Franca’s story has inspired me and as such, I feel the time is right to tell her story to the world and show that it is possible for one person to make a difference.” 

Having worked with renowned directors such as Paul Feig in the hit film ‘Spy’ alongside Melissa Mccarthy and Rose Byrne, and Jordan Scott on adverts for Martini, where he replaced George Clooney as the international Martini Ambassador for Martini & Rossi, Yurj is drawing on his experiences and influences throughout his career in order to create a truly spectacular yet tenacious film. 

Yurj and Najma are a London based directing duo, Four:55, who work in commercials, short films, branded content, holograms and projection mapping. 

The pair has 17-years experience working in the industry. They are now set to bring their creative flair to the big screen and produce a stunning piece of film that sympathetically, yet truthfully follows the story of how one woman’s single act of courage can break a cycle of violence. The film is set to be industry-defining. 

To find out more, visit their page on Kickstarter: 

Film Website:  

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Dakota Digital for Il Rifiuto

Contact: Hannah Byrne


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