Mamma is coming: the Italian-Ukrainian Comedy Koza Nostra will be Released in Italy

• 28.05.2021

Mafia comedy co-produced by Pepito Produzioni (Italy) and FILM.UA (Ukraine) for RAI Cinema is premiering in Italy this May. 

The idea for Koza Nostra was born 5 years ago, in 2017. Back then, the team of writer and creator Anastasiia Lodkina and producer Kateryna Vyshnevska of Ukraine’s FILM.UA Group pitched the idea at the prestigious MIA TV Drama Series Pitching Forum in Rome. A few months later, FILM.UA Group signed up partners — Pepito Produzioni. The work on the project began. Soon, RAI Cinema came on board, and the filming commenced in Ukraine and Italy in 2020. And now, the wide Italian release of Koza Nostra will happen in May (Adler Entertainment is distributing).

FILM.UA knows how to produce box office hits. Its projects have been topping Ukrainian TV ratings for several years now. For example, Crazy Wedding comedy franchise set several national records: the highest grossing Ukrainian film and the biggest TV audience to see a film produced in Ukraine. And now, together with Pepito Produzioni, we have another hit on our hands.  Moreover, it is the first time when a major commercial co-production, filmed mostly in Italy, is inspired by Ukrainian creative idea with Ukrainian woman as a lead character. 

Pepito Produzioni is an independent Italian television and film production company founded in 2011. They bring Italian authenticity and pedigree to the film. They know what they are doing: in 2020, they won the Silver Bear for Bad Tales drama at Berlinale and have gained plenty of top Italian and international awards, such as Ciak d’Oro, Nastri d’Argento, Globo d’Oro, etc., throughout the years. 

Koza Nostra tells the story of Vlada Koza, a Ukrainian woman who travels to Italy to help raise her grandson. It turns out, however, that her daughter does not need her help. But the family of a mafia boss, Don Fredo Lagana, who is back home on house arrest after 15 years in prison, could definitely use some. The Italian family hires Vlada as a housekeeper, and instead gets a counselor, a doctor, a therapist, and a fixer of all the problems in the world. Vlada Koza makes the Lagana family a better family and, as a result, a better mafia!

The director of the film is Giovanni Dota. His comedy short film Fino alla Fine competed at the 33rd edition of Critic’s Week at Venice International Film Festival, and took part in more than 50 festivals, winning 22 awards. Giovanni has also joined Anastasiia Lodkina as a scriptwriter for the film together with Matteo Visconti and Giulia Magda Martinez.

The role of mafia boss, Don Fredo Lagana, is performed by Giovanni Calcagno — an Italian actor, producer, stage director, storyteller and Ciak d'Oro Award winner. The film also features Giuditta Vasile, Gabriele Cicirello, Lorenzo Scalzo, Yuliia Sobol, and others.

Vlada is portrayed by an enigmatic Ukrainian actress Irma Vitovska, one of the most popular Ukrainian actors. Irma was twice awarded as the best actress at the Ukrainian national film award Golden Dzyga – for the hit comedy drama My Thoughts are Silent, and for The Gateway horror film. She has also won the Teletriumph National TV Award, the “Golden Duke” of Odesa International Film Festival, and others. For her role as Vlada Koza Irma had to learn Italian.

Vlada is an archetypical Ukrainian woman, strong, selfless, and ready to fight or sacrifice everything for her loved ones. She can care for everyone's well-being and can carry the world on her shoulders if need be. And we see the proof of it today, as countless Ukrainian women work tirelessly to protect their loved ones. The character of Vlada Koza is more pertinent than ever now, as the whole world is watching Ukraine fight for its freedom.

Italians already know quite well what Ukrainian women are capable of. Before the war with Russia broke out, according to official statistics, close to half a million Ukrainian women were working in Italy, caring for the loved ones of Italians. But now Europe and the wider world can also meet “Vlada” and admire the strength, determination, kindness, and energy of Ukrainian women.

For FILM.UA, the largest Ukrainian film studio, Koza Nostra is not the first rodeo when it comes to  co-productions. They are also the studio behind Mr. Jones (historical drama and UK – Poland – Ukraine co-production), The Rising Hawk (historical action film and USA – Ukraine co-production), Love in Chains (period drama and Poland – Ukraine co-production), etc. All of them have been successfully sold in multiple territories and appreciated by audiences worldwide.

“At FILM.UA, we have always believed in the power of collaboration and that stories can cross borders. It takes a lot of time and effort, but, if done right, the results are worth it. Koza Nostra was conceived by a Ukrainian writer Anastasiia Lodkina. It’s a story about a Ukrainian woman performed by a Ukrainian woman, but shot mostly in Italy in Italian. If that’s not a testament that stories can travel, I don’t know what is. We are so proud of what we achieved with our partners Pepito Produzioni. I truly believe that Koza Nostra will be enjoyed by audiences in Italy, Ukraine and beyond and will open a path for many more organic stories to be told by Ukraine, Italy and other countries together. The war in Ukraine has proven that it’s one world we live in, that we share stories, and it only makes sense that we tell them together!” — says Kateryna Vyshnevska, Head of Development and Co-Productions at FILM.UA Group and the Ukrainian producer of Koza Nostra. 

Koza Nostra is getting its international launch at Marche du Film in Cannes, the screening will take place on May, 22nd. Even during the war, FILM.UA Group continues its work, helping fuel the economy of the country and support the brand of Ukraine at the international level. The company is committed to telling the world about Ukraine through its stories.

Ukraine is ready for new international projects and has a strong creative potential and highly experienced professionals. 





Genre: mafia comedy

Timing: 100 min

Co-production: Italy-Ukraine

Co-producers: FILM.UA Production (Ukraine), Pepito Produzioni (Italy)

Director: Giovanni Dota

Idea: Anastasiia Lodkina

Scriptwriters: Anastasiia Lodkina, Matteo Visconti, Giovanni Dota, Giulia Magda Martinez.

Producers: Kateryna Vyshnevska, Maria Grazia Saccà, Victor Mirsky, Agostino Saccà

Line producer: Sergey Demidov

DOP: Carlo Rinaldi

Costume designer: Marina Roberti 

Production design: Maurizio Leonardi

Film editor: Giorgia Currà


Cast: Irma Vitovska, Giovanni Calcagno, Giuditta Vasile, Gabriele Cicirello, Lorenzo Scalzo, Yuliia Sobol, and others.


FILM.UA Group is a creative powerhouse and one of the largest Eastern European media groups, operating in global markets and covering the full production cycle: development, production, adaptation, and distribution of audiovisual content through the vertical business structure.

FILM.UA is a media group (since 2002) that provides a full range of services through the creation, adaption, and distribution of content.

With 30+ companies under a single management structure, we are creative industry leaders in our region, while also successfully working in the global market.

Pepito Produzioni is an independent television and film production company founded by Agostino Saccà in 2011. Its portfolio consists of 9 feature films, 13 comedy TV films, 5 TV series including 3 documentaries. Company’s films won three Ciak d'Oro awards, five Nastri d'Argento awards, an Italian Golden Globe and the David di Donatello Award, as well as the 2020 Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Screenplay. 

Pepito Produzioni has always been committed to making carefully crafted products with a typically popular vocation. Whether we are producing films, TV series or documentaries, our aim is always to satisfy even the most demanding audiences and to export Italian culture worldwide.