Tommy and His Friends: the story

"In Italy there are hundred of thousands of people who rack their brains with the same problems I have
I wanted too make a movie about Tommy and his friends
So that those parents will gain the courage to come out of their silence
The forced silence self imposed
among people who think they have had the fate
of having a child impossible to explain"

When Tommy was born, his father wasn't there. As a journalist, he was in Sanremo to comment on the Festival of Italian Music. exactly eighteen years later after that night, father and son gather together to celebrate Tommy's adulthood and, like an ironiacally paradox, his "healing" from Autism.

In Italy there are only "autistic children", but what do they become when they grow up? Where do they go? What do they do? In order to give tangible answers to these questions, a father and his son will take off on a journey that will take them around Italy and meet "the others": adults with Autism much like Tommy to whom is denied to have a social life, who still live at home with their parents, who eventually will only be considered a "cost" that the State pays for their.
It is the voice of the mothers and the fathers of the families that they meet that tell about their daily lives while their giant ex children to whom they have dedicated their lives, sit next to them. For their stories emerges loneliness, lack of support from institutions, fatal wait for a destiny that for the parents represents the daily fear, which can be summarised in a question with no answers: "What will it be of my child when I will no longer be with him?". Some of the parents do not give up hope and make plans, make dreams and imagine their utopic cities in which their kids could lve with dignity e real social inclusion.

"We don't feel like saying what will happen after we are gone
but we know it too well, us who live with our looney kids attached to us
We know because we are headed on a road with no visible end
and yet all we can do is keep walking..."


The film was conceived and made thanks to an encounter between Gianluca Nicoletti and Massimiliano Sbrolla, who in the past had worked together in a private TV from Rome, and met thirty years later and decided to work hard and combine their competences to create a realistic story about adults with Autism in Italy.


He is a journalist and a writer and a well known and for 35 years a well known voice on Italian national radio. After working for 20 years for the Rai radio, since 2005 he has a daily live show Sole 24 ore's radio and he writes for La Stampa daily newspaper. After dedicating most of his professional life analyzing communication, from television to new mass media, and after his son Tommy's 18th birthday, he begins to take an active interest in the "diversly communicating" population. He actively devotes his time to spread neurodiversity and Autism culture. He created and manages a web page dedicated to autism, "per noi autistici" ( The site, launched in 2015 thanks to MIUR contributions, includes interactive tools for active participation, created by the "Digital for Social" project financed by Fondazione Vodafone. He is president of the Insettopia non profit organization (, that focusses in creating and supporting facilities that can provide useful services to families with children with Autism, such as "Autistici&Giardinieri, in collaboration with MIUR and Luiss University). From 2013 to now, he has written two books about his experience as a father to his autistic son, Tommy: "Una notte ho sognato che parlavi" (One night I dreamt that you were talking) and "Alla fine qualcosa ci inventeremo" (In the end, we'll come up with something). They both became bestsellers and were pubvlished by Oscar Mondadori.


Newspaper journalist since 1992, he worked as a producer for Studio Universal satellite channel from 2000 to 2013. During this time he created ad and promo campaigns. He has been producing TV formats, documentaries and helped create many entertainment shows since 2003, when he also founded zzofactory srl ( He still collaborates with National Geographic Channel Italia, NatgeoPeople, and Flop TV. In 2013 he starts collaborating with Discovery Channel Italia and LAEFFE. He worked, along with his crew, the very successful reportage "Il Viaggio di Sammy" (Sammy's trip) for National Geographic Channel. Among the latest works involving social issues are: the institutional video for Vip NGO whch deals with clowntherapy, the campaign for 'La Casa di Peter Pan', a folm documentary about the history of para olympics movement in Italy from its beginning to nowdays. "E poi vinceremo l'oro" ("And finally we will win a gold medal"): extraordaniary lives of paralympic athletes. He has always been auther and producer of all of his directing endeavors.