2009 Angel Film Awards Monaco International Film Festival angel awards




A boy loves a girl so much that he’s willing to embark upon a fake gay relationship and move across the world in order to try and win her back.


Luca Vinci and Lucia Conti are childhood sweethearts who live on neighbouring estates in Tuscany, Italy. We follow their loving, innocent relationship from the age of 6.

When Lucia is 16 her father wins a wine competition and relocates the family from Italy to the US. Luca and Lucia's worlds are forever changed. Both are devastated and promise to keep in contact.

Lucia quickly immerses herself in American culture and at the age of 27 she moves to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a prominent fashion designer. She is a gifted, capable designer, showing great promise and shares studio space with her two best friends Madison and Jody.

Lucia's friendship with Madison and Jody provides her with many discussions centered on love. Jody's idealistic and romantic persona is in direct opposition to the highly cynical and feisty Madison. Their diametrically opposed perspectives provide for interesting and comedic banter.

At times Lucia questions whether Luca is the love of her life but she chooses to view the relationship as merely a childhood love; one that is impractical, providing no realistic potential. When Lucia visits Tuscany for her grandmother's 80th birthday Luca and Lucia's connection is reignited.

Luca reveals that his love for Lucia is unwavering and many magical moments are shared. However, by the end of the trip Lucia's pragmatism nullifies her romantic notion. Luca meets Cary, an American college student while delivering wines to a winery and they become fast friends.

When Lucia informs Luca that she is moving on with her life and that he should do the same, Luca implores Cary's urgent assistance in moving to Los Angeles to win her back. Cary explains the difficulty in obtaining a green card in the US. After considering all the usual options and recognizing that they are not available to Luca, Cary devises a creative plan.

In order to alleviate immigration concerns he tells Luca that they should enter into a fake gay relationship so that he can apply for a de facto visa, which will lead to his green card status.Initially Luca thinks this is ridiculous but when faced with the realization that he will lose Lucia forever if he does not do something immediately, he decides he will do whatever is necessary.

Luca and Cary move to West Hollywood and become involved in the gay community in order to make their union appear plausible. Luca decides to keep his double life a secret. He emails Lucia as though he is still living on the vineyard in Tuscany and vies for a renewed affection. Lucia becomes enveloped in the world of fashion and meets many possible suitors in LosAngeles.

When her boyfriend wants to take their relationship to the next level, Lucia questions the notion of love and her romantic choices. Cary realizes that his adopted persona; that of a gay man is not actually a facade and he wrestles with how to broach the topic with Luca. Cary's ‘coming out' propels Luca forward and makes him act quickly; revealing all to Lucia in order to determine whether or not she loves him.

Luca makes a grand romantic gesture on Venice beach having painted a mural depicting the story of their life together and Lucia agrees to meet him there. She is flabbergasted by what lengths hehas gone to in order to be with her. After talking at length they finally share their first and greatly anticipated kiss; choosing to be together forever.


Natalie Rebecca's passion for cinema began as a young child. Family bonding time was spent watching at least two movies each weekend and so began her fascination with film. She possesses an intense love of film, music and the arts.

During her first degree, at Monash University, Melbourne Australia, she quickly immersed herself in Cinema Studies, Visual Arts, combined with Marketing, Management and English Literature. Her love of Art and Design then led her to explore a career in Graphic Design and Industrial Design. However, her dedication to writing impelled her to complete a Bachelor of Communications with a double major in Journalism and Cultural Studies at UTS, Sydney, Australia. Interestingly, her chosen topic for her final thesis was on "The coming millennium and its representation through film" as opposed to a topic centred on journalism.

Having worked in the property development sector involved in marketing, leasing, advertising and corporate communications, it was not until 2007 that she focused all her attention on film. Her childhood enthusiasm about movies resulted in her return to her first and real love; film. She is thankful for her diverse areas of study and work as they have "helped me be a better filmmaker". Being a writer, "Courting Hope" is Natalie Rebecca's directorial debut. She fondly recalls the first day on set being "one of the most magical experiences". "It was so humbling seeing the words on the page come to life and be actualised". Natalie's commitment to film is unwavering, believing that "it is the voice of today's society". "The power of film lies in its ability to make people feel, think, question and hopefully promote change".

To date, "Courting Hope" has been officially selected at The Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner Market, France 2007, Reggio International Short Film Festival, Italy 2007, Rassegna Film Festival Modena, Italy 2008, awarded an Honorable Mention by the Rochester/High Falls International Film Festival, NY, USA 2008, officially selected at A Corto Di Donne Short Film Festival, Pozzuoli, Italy 2008, Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival, France 2009 and official selection at Fajr International Film Festival, Tehran, Iran 2009.

Since establishing Cleopatra Films, Natalie Rebecca has been producing and executive producing a number of high profile feature films. She is currently packaging her first feature film that she will direct, "Luca and Lucia; a romantic comedy set in Tuscany and Los Angeles.