White Lies

Cannes Docs

White Lies

Original title: White Lies

Directed by: Alba Zari

Produced by: Manuela Buono (Slingshot Films, Italy)

Country of production: Italy, Belgium, France

Runtime: 80'

Expected release: April, 2025

Production stage: Editing

Budget: €320 000 (80% in place)

1st feature: Yes

Looking for: Festival, Sales, Gap Financing


Alba, at 25, discovers Johnny isn’t her real father, unraveling a web of family secrets. Her grandmother Rosa fled Trieste in the 80s with her mother Ivana, joining a cult in Bangkok, practicing “Flirty Fishing” for new members. Alba was born there as Jesus Baby, with a brother from another member. After a decade, Rosa fled back to Italy with Ivana and the children. Alba, devoid of cult memories, uncovers her past through research and hints from Rosa and Ivana. Rosa denies her past, becoming a wedding planner, while Ivana, suffering psychiatric issues, struggles with her past. “White Lies” delves into three women’s journey for reconciliation and redemption through Alba’s artistic lens.

Director’s profile:

Born in Bangkok in 1987, since childhood she led a nomadic life that brought her to live in different cities and countries. Her recent works include Occult (2020-), a visual study on the propaganda of the cult Children of God, she travelled tracing her mothers past to India, Nepal and Thailand. The Y- Research of Biological Father (2017), born out of a journey in search of her origins through the father she never knew. Places (2015), a book and a photographic project executed with ElementWo, witch deals with analysis of the visual communication of ISIS propaganda. She has released the short documentary FreiKörperKultur (2021) premiered at the Venice International Critics’ Week. With The Y she is part of the Foam Talents 2020.  Her work has been exhibited in international festivals and museums such as MAXXI, Rome, London Art Fair, Circulation Paris and Athens Photo Festival.

Producer’s profile:

Manuela Buono was born and lives in Trieste (Italy). In 2013 she founded production and distribution company Slingshot Films, based in Trieste. Mega Plus 2010 graduated, (Media Business School Master in European Audiovisual Management), she received a Nipkow fellowship in 2011 and was selected for Berlinale Talent – Distribution Studio, in 2014 and Rotterdam Producers’ Lab in 2024. She is member of the European Film Academy (EFA) and European Women Association in Audiovisual Industry (EWA).