Born in 1964 Montevideo, Uruguay, Leonardo Ricagni has worked shooting films, commercials and music videos around the world in the past 20 years. Based early in his career in Barcelona, Spain, he lived and worked all over Europe, directing projects in locations spanning the globe including Rome, Hamburg, South Africa, Scandinavia, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and the U.S.
In 2001, Ricagni was commissioned to direct a worldwide PSA for UNICEF (“Change the World with the Children”) that premiered at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. While he was shooting the UNICEF campaign in Third World countries, Ricagni's eyes opened to the potential of a more socially driven cinema and photography.
Ricagni’s directorial feature debut was the critically acclaimed, EL CHEVROLE, a surrealistic, musical portrait of the rock music underground of a lost city in South America. Inspired by the work of the Italian maestros of neo-realism (Visconti, De Sica, Rossellini), Ricagni, while living in New York, wrote and directed the docu-feature INDOCUMENTADOS (UN_DOCUMENTED AMERICA), that successfully premiered at AFI FEST 2004, presenting a visually expressive and emotionally passionate journey into the lives of undocumented immigrants through the streets of post September 11th New York.
Ricagni returned to his home country to make a new film, A DIOS MOMO, in which an illiterate street paperboy finds inspiration and education through the appearance of a Maestro during the magic of Carnival. A DIOS MOMO had its World Premier at the AFI FEST 2005, its European premier at 2006 Berlin Film Festival, and its East Coast premier at 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where the festival quoted the film to the Latin American version of “Cinema Paradiso”, with a nod to Italian legend Fellini.
Ricagni also wrote and directed FEATHERS TO THE SKY, a film created for UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), in competition at Tribeca Film Festival 2008, which tells the importance to achieve primary education in the world.
In 2009 Ricagni went into a photo tour around the globe with a social regard in kids and babies growing at the marginal ghettos, focusing on a serious of “street-poetry-portraits” in the expansive favelas of South Africa, Northern Africa and Latin America.
Ricagni recently directed his last feature (Our Boys), shot in East Los Angeles as a realistic portrait of a Latino family and the impact of the war in their day to day life and their community. The film will be showcase in a special screening at the DGA in Los Angeles this upcoming November 18th 2011.
Ricagni is currently developing his next projects, GREEN GOLD, a timely global energy/drama/thriller set in the sugar cane fields of Latin America. MOORISH DREAMS, the amazing journey of an Arab girl from the slum markets in Tangier who must cross the dangerous Strait of Gibraltar to witness the last game of her soccer idol in Spain (Diego Forlan). VILLA VENDETTA, an Italian-American Boss who unexpectedly embarks the journey of redemption and retires into his hometown in Sicily.