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prof1 A documentary filmmaker concerned with ethno-anthropological and socio-cultural themes, Pinelli has shot over 120 documentaries around the world, predominantly for Italian State Television (RAI), but also for foreign broadcasting companies and private producers.

Some selected series that enjoyed great success – and that more than once were made with the well known film maker Folco Quilici – include: La Scoperta dell'India (Discovery of India) - 8 parts; Islam - 9 parts; La civiltà del Mediterraneo (The Mediterranean Civilization) - 13 parts; L'Alba dell'uomo (The Dawn of Mankind) - 8 parts Le Indie di Quaggiù - un viaggio oltre il folklore contadino (The Indies Down Here, a journey beyond Italian peasant folklore) - 4 parts; Pianeta d'Acqua (Planet of Water) - 5 parts; Sahel, gli orizzonti della speranza (Sahel, horizons of hope) - 2 parts; Vanishing Rainbows - 13 parts; Le Alpi di Messner (Reinhold Messner’s Alps) - 13 parts.

prof2 prof3 He created a full-length documentary for RAI-International on his father, screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, entitled 89 e mezzo (89 and a half), as well as two feature-length films on the conquest of the North Pole, and three – in India, Tibet and Pakistan – in the footsteps of the great Eastern studies scholar, Giuseppe Tucci, with whom he had studied.
His accomplishments also include a special production in 2008 for RAI-International entitled Sulle Tracce del Milione - Marco Polo in Afghanistan (On the Trail of the Million – Marco Polo in Afghanistan), produced by Paneikon.

prof4 Pinelli has been a regular contributor to the RAITRE "Geo e Geo" television series, with documentaries on adventure activities, travel, ecology and encounters with "other" human cultures.
Among these many we would cite: La Montagna di Apollo - il Parco del Pollino (Mountain of Apollo – Park of the Pollino), La Porta d'Argento - Il Parco del Gennargentu (The Silver Gate – Park of the Gennargentu), Ritorno al Paradiso - Il Parco del Gran Paradiso (Return to Paradise – Park of the Gran Paradiso), Le Isole dell’arcobaleno - il Parco dell’Arcipelago Toscano (Island of the Rainbow – Park of the Tuscan Archipelago), I tre volti di Shiva (The Three Faces of Shiva), Lo Yoga e la Montagna (Yoga and the Mountain), Ritorno all'Hindu-Kush (Return to the Hindu Kush), Il Cavallo di Lapislazzuli (The Lapislazuli Horse), Doppio Sogno all’Equatore (Double Dream at the Equator), Un Uomo - un Bambino - una Montagna (A man – A child – a Mountain), Siddiqa e la Altre – Un Sogno Afghano (Siddiqa and Others – An Afghan Dream).

He has also worked as a film director for Europe n°1 channel, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly in Africa and Pakistan.

dermosfera He collaborated with the Italian Encyclopaedia Institute on the creation of a CD-Rom entitled Le Frontiere della Vita (The Frontiers of Life), which won the prestigious international Moebius Award.

He worked during the 1980s on the creation of feature-length, 35mm medical-physiological films: Ergo Sum - Neurobilogia verso un nuovo umanesimo (Ergo Sum – Neurobiology toward a new humanism); Dermosfera (Dermosphere); Ouroboros – Il cerchio della vita (Ouroboros – The circle of life). These were distributed worldwide and enjoyed international acclaim.

He co-directed (with Folco Quilici) a feature-length film for MGM Il Dio Sotto la Pelle (God under the skin).

Pinelli has chaired juries for the Bordeaux Archaeological Film Festival, Medfest, the Maremma Doc International Festival and the documentary section of the Naples Film Festival; he also organized a national conference in the town of l’Aquila - Raccontare il Mondo (Telling the World’s Story) - on the fate of documentary filmmaking in Italy.


Pinelli teaches Documentary Filmmaking and History and Practice of Filmmaking Techniques in the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the jury of the Documentary Film Festival of Teramo in 2006.

The first fictional film by Carlo Alberto Pinelli, an Italian-French co-production, was released in Italian cinemas in the fall of 2014 under the title La Storia di Cino - Il bambino che attraversò la montagna (The story of Cino – the child who crossed over the mountain).

alba vita

Pinelli has published 9 books: L'Alba dell'Uomo (The Dawn of Mankind) with F.Quilici; Il Dio sotto la Pelle (God Under the Skin) with B.Modugno and F.Quilici; La Grande Madre – storia etnologica dell'agricoltura (The Great Mother – an ethnological history of farming); L'ABC del Documentario (The ABCs of the Documentary), pub. Dino Audino; La Vita colta in flagrante – Breve storia del documentario (Life Caught in the Act – A Brief History of the Documentary), pub. 2008 Dino Audino; Professione Documentarista; Documentarist by Profession (edit Edizioni Sabinae, 2017) .
Recent publications include a guidebook to the mountains of the Afghan Hindu Kush entitled Peaks of Silver and Jade, published by the Aga Khan Foundation (www.Mountainunity.org).
He also wrote two chapters of Free K2, pub. Carsa (AA.VV) and K2, Uomini, esplorazioni, imprese (K2 – Men, Explorers, Exploits), pub. De Agostini (AA.VV).
His first, semi-autobiographical novel, entitled Il Mitra di Legno (The Wooden Machine Gun) was short-listed for the “Italo Calvino” Prize and has been in bookstores since November 2009 (SabinAE publishers www.edizionisabinae.com). The book tells the story of 6 months of partisan warfare in northwest Italy through the eyes of a 9-year-old boy.
His second novel, also semi-autobiographical, entitled I Falò dei Saraceni (Bonfires of the Saracens),tells of the experiences and adventures of a young archaeologist in Turkey in the 1960s, and is also available in bookstores or on line from its publisher (Edizioni SabinAE www.edizionisabinae.com).
His last novel title is Two mothers for Virginia Paulin ( Edizioni Sabinae 2015). Its subject is related to the problem of the step child adoption in Italy.