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The beautifully filmed docudrama, The Students of Umberto Primo, brings to life the stories of nine young Jewish students studying at the Italian school, Umberto Primo, in Thessaloniki, Greece, during the time of Nazi occupation. The project is the result of a discovery by Antonio Crescenzi of students’ essays, graduation diplomas, and other documents of historical importance, that had been long forgotten in the basement of the Italian Institute of Thessaloniki (formerly the location of Italian School of Umberto Primo). Sadly, these students never received their graduation diplomas, or their papers, because of Nazi persecution. Thanks to Crescenzi's discovery and subsequent work, 157 diplomas were presented to survivors and/or their families in January 2017.


Crescenzi and director, Alessandra Maoiletti, collaborated to lovingly and respectfully research and recreate the lives of these young boys and girls, who were just “coming of age,” depicting their dreams and aspirations for the future and the exuberance of their youth – a youth cut short for the sole reason that they were Jewish. Some survived the Holocaust. Sadly, some did not.

Initially, The Students of Umberto Primo debuted as a theatre production, also directed by Maioletti, which had a highly acclaimed and successful run throughout Greece. The film seeks to not only bring more life to the story, but to also reach a broader audience with a work of important cultural and historical significance.


It is important now, perhaps more than ever, to understand the evil that lurks in this world, and to remind people of what can happen when totalitarianism, isolationism, nationalism and fanatic-ideological beliefs overcome the core values and compassion of the “regular citizen.”


Director: Alessandra Maioletti

Concept & Script: Antonio Crescenzi, Alessandra Maioletti

Director of Photography: Dimitris Katsaitis

Original Music: Christos David Daoulas

Scenography-Art Direction: Giorgos Georgiou, Lucas Economopoulos

Costume Designer: Vasilia Rozana

Editing Supervisor: Angelos Anggelopoulos

Editing: Vangelis Pyrpylis, Christos Ouzounis

Casting Director: Alessandra Maioletti

Makeup Artist: Maria Ioannidou

Hair Styling: Kaiti Aravatinou

Director Assistant: Evgenia Marangou

Sound Recording: Vangelis Pyrpylis, Stelios Michailidis

Sound Design: Anastasios Katsaris, Tonia Vlaxou

Camera: Stelios Orfanidis, Iakovos Avdoulos

Stagehand: Vasilis Koukouravas, Thomas Papanikolaou

Research: Antonio Crescenzi

Historical Consultants: Nikos Marantzidis, Andreas Bouroutis

Festival Manager: Katia Pantazi


Students: Actors 

(in order of appearance)

Alberto Modiano: Giannis Triantakis

Laetitia Matalon: Christina Mathioulaki

Ester Saporta: Dimitra Derzekou

Alberto Simantov: Lefteris Kolitsos

Matilde Bennahmias: Sofia Skaramanga

Daniel Bennahmias: Dinos Gkelameris

Lydia Moissis: Vina Sergi

Claudio Morpurgo: Tzortzis Papadoloulos

Giovanni Fernandez: Kostas Kaloudiotis

Narrator: Antonio Crescenzi

Production: Oneiro Company

Co-Production: ERT, Cosmote TV

Executive Production: Blacklight Productions

Executive Producers: Antonio Crescenzi, Diane Boulanger, Tasos Katsaris

Line Producer: Tasos Katsaris

Production Manager: Kostas Prekezes



Oneiro Company: Alessandra Maioletti

Festival Manager: Katia Pantazi

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