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Anastasia Valecce
Spelman College

Laila Petrone Peynado (January 30, 1978) is an Italian/Dominican filmmaker. Born in the U.K., she was raised between Rome and Los Angeles. She is the child of the Dominican actress Iris Peynado. Consequently, she spent most of her youth on Italian film sets. Laila studied International Affairs at the John Cabot University in Rome, and Media and Communications at the University of Florence.

In 2007, Petrone appeared as the character of “Pina” in Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna. The experience inspired her to pursue a career behind the camera. In the following years, Laila worked as an Assistant Director and as a Producer. Between 2011 and 2019 she has worked as first or second assistant director in feature films, TV movies, commercials, documentary movies, music videos, short films, and TV series both in Italy and in the United States. Moreover, she has worked as a producer since 2009 to the present.   

 In 2014, Laila’s directorial debut Your Love premiered at Urban World Film Festival in NYC. The short film was awarded Best of Festival at the Black Women Film Network Summit in Atlanta, and was selected to screen on Aspire TV as part of the ABFF Independent series’ short films program. Your Love is a short film that explores a day in the life of a young couple juggling family, career, and desire. However, the short film takes the story a step forward: by casting a couple of African Americans as protagonists, Laila not only displays on screen young and black love, but also breaks stereotypes on African American men and families.

Laila also worked as a 2nd Unit Director on documentary film Blaxploitalian (2016) by Afro-Italian film director Fred Kuwornu. This is a project on the representation of blackness in 100 years of Italian cinema. Recently, she completed her second short film No me olvidaré de ti (I Will Not Forget You, 2019), conceived in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which has been awarded “Inspirational Short Film” at the Rincon International Film Festival in Puerto Rico. The director, after discovering she had a grandmother from Puerto Rico, connects with her personal family history through this short film. No me olvidaré de ti centers on a personal loss and ties into the larger collective loss that Puerto Rico had to face after hurricane María.

Currently, Laila is working as director and co-producer of a docu-series titled Mothers and Daughters. This project—through interviews—explores the stories and the relationships between several Latina mothers and their daughters who were born and/or raised in Italy. Consequently, this is a project that sheds light on a part of the Italian population that is politically forgotten, as well as shapes contemporary Italian society from the angle of a culturally diverse and immigrant-populated reality. Lastly, Laila is part of a web docu-series titled Blaq Italiano (2020) by Afro-Italian director Fred Kuwornu. This project shows in several episodes the lives of black Italians in Italy and the ways in which they handle their diversity between prejudice and racism. Laila Petrone is the interviewee of one of the episodes.

Laila Petrone Peynado currently lives between Europe and the United States. In the States she has been invited as a guest speaker at several universities, among which Emory University and Colorado College, as well as to events in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Italy. Finally, Laila is a member of the Alliance of Women Directors, Women in Media & Glass Elevator. With her work Laila Petrone Peynado breaks barriers being a film director in a male dominated territory, offering her multi-cultural background in her projects, and diversifying, with her contributions, the Italian and global film industry by being a black Italian-Caribbean woman.

For an interview with Laila Petrone Peynado click here






Mothers and Daughters

A Do The Right Films Entert.

Production 2020 (Docuseries in production)

Producer Laila Petrone and Fred Kuwornu

No me olvidaré de ti - I Will Not Forget You

Writer Laila Petrone 2019 (Short)

Producer Nina Spensley & MJ Caballero

Awarded at 3 Film Festivals including Rincon Film Festival | Aired on Aspire TV USA & TV Cortos S. America

Blaxploitalian (2nd Unit Director)

Writer & Director Fred Kuwornu 2016 (Documentary)

Producer Do The Right Films Entert.


Your Love

Writer Oliver Webb

2014 (Short)

Producer Nina Spensley

World Premiered at Urban World Film Festival | Awarded Best of Festival at Black Women Film Festival & Network Summit in Atlanta | Aired on Aspire TV

If you would like to quote this bio-filmography, please use the reference:

Valecce, Anastasia (2020) "A bio-filmography on Laila Petrone Peynado" Gynocine Project, ed. Barbara Zecchi,

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