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Our story

The Wake Up Foundation and the Wake Up Europe! campaign were launched by lifelong international journalists Annalisa Piras and Bill Emmott in response to the overwhelming reaction of civil society and ordinary citizens across Europe to the pair’s first documentary Girlfriend in a Coma (2013).

Girlfriend in a Coma

The Rome premiere of Girlfriend in a Coma at the MAXXI Museum was cancelled at the last minute quoting the risk of “interference” with the Italian national elections in February 2013. This prompted an unexpected cult following among young people, who gathered over 30,000 signatures in a petition against the museum’s decision. This outpouring of support and civil engagement convinced Piras and Emmott of the need and appetite for further debate and discussion prompted by journalistic films. It was thus that the Wake Up Europe! campaign was born.

The GREat European DIsaster MOVIE

Following the success of Girlfriend in a Coma, Piras’ and Emmott’s second docu-drama, The Great European Disaster Movie, released in 2015, explored the identity crisis of current-day Europe and the complex challenges that are mounting against the Union’s survival.

Wake Up Europe! hosted over 300 offline and online screenings of the film in some of the most prestigious universities, cultural institutions and ordinary citizens establishments all across Europe and the world.

Europe at Sea

In 2017/2018 Wake Up Europe was delighted to work with many institutions and citizens to discuss the most pressing issues around migration, the new world’s disorder and the limits of European policies. It organised many high profile screenings and debates of Europe At Sea, Annalisa Piras’ third hard-hitting documentary, produced by ARTE and SVT. From St. Anthony’s College in Oxford to the Bozar Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, to secondary schools in Italy the film prompted citizens’ debates and reflexions.  Europe At Sea called Europeans to examine whether Europe is capable – and willing – to combat the myriad of security and humanitarian challenges within and beyond its borders at a pivotal moment of European history. It was nominated for the 2018 Prix Europa, the ‘Oscar’ of European TV.

The Wake Up Europe Festival

This year, with one of the most important European Parliament elections ever, Wake Up Europe! is launching its most ambitious campaign yet – film screenings and debates culminating in the first-ever Wake Up Europe Festival in Turin (17 to 19 May 2019), at satellite locations across Europe, and online. As always, The Wake Up Foundation believes that we can harness the power of films and debates to help each and everyone of us understand and engage with the biggest questions of our shared European future.

Our films have been broadcast...
to 3.5m viewers worldwide
in 12 countries
in 10 languages
The Wake Up Foundation has inspired over 100 debating events in 14 countries since October 2015,held everywhere from a Ukrainian town hall to the Italian Parliament.
Girlfriend in a coma was nominated for an Italian Golden Globe and a CinEuphoria Award
The great European Disaster Movie won the German CIVIS media prize in the information category in 2016


Wake Up Europe! is owned and produced by The Wake Up Foundation, a charity dedicated to public education about the dangerous trends in western, advanced open societies and how those trends can be countered.

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