Giada Colagrande
Birth Date:
October 16, 1975
Birth Place:
Pescara, Italy
5' 4¼" (1.63 m)
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Open My Heart


Giada Colagrande is an Italian film director, screenwriter and actress. Her first film, “Open My Heart” (2002), won Paris International Cinema Meeting's Prix de l'Avenir and she was nominated for Best New Director at the 2003 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. She returned with her sophomore effort “Before It Had a Name” in 2005. Her third film “A Woman” (2010) was nominated for Controcampo Italiano Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Colagrande also starred in “Open My Heart” and “Before It Had a Name.”

Colagrande is married to actor Willem Dafoe.


Childhood and Family:

Giada Colagrande was born on October 16, 1975, in Pescara, Abruzzo, Italy. She studied in Italy, Australia and Switzerland. She moved to Rome in 1995.

Giada married American film, stage and voice actor Willem Dafoe (born July 22, 1955) on March 25, 2005. The couple spends most of the year in Italy.

A Woman


After moving to Rome in 1995, Giada Colagrande started making videoart and documentaries on the work of contemporary artists. She spent 1997 to 2000 working in the art project VOLUME, in which she made videos on Gianni Dessí, Jannis Kounellis, Raimund Kummer, Bernhard Rüdiger, Nunzio, Maurizio Savini, Alfredo Pirri and Sol Lewitt. Colagrande directed her first short film, “Carnaval” (13’, 35mm), in 1997. It was followed by her second, “Fetus – 4 Brings Death” (23’, 35mm), in 1998 and “N.3” (7’, video) in 2000.

Colagrande moved on to direct her first feature film, “Open My Heart” (“ Aprimi il Cuore”), which she also wrote, produced and starred in (as Cateririna). The drama premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2002 and was released theatrically on Italy on April 30, 2003. It won Prix de l'Avenir at the 2003 Paris International Cinema Meeting and was nominated for Silver Ribbon for Best New Director at the 2003 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. “Open My Heart” also screened at various festivals like The Tribeca Film Festival, the Oldenburg Film Festival, the Cairo International Film Festival, the Denver International Film Festival, the Havana Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Roma International Film Festival and the Bangkok International Film Festival.

In 2005, Colagrande directed her second film, “Before It Had a Name,” which she co-wrote and co-starred in with Willem Dafoe. The film opened at the 2005 Venice Film Festival and the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. It was distributed in the USA and internationally with the title “Black Widow.”

In 2010, Colagrande directed and wrote “A Woman,” starring husband Willem Dafoe, Jess Weixler and Stefania Rocca. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2010, which marked her third participation at the festival, and was nominated for Controcampo Italiano Prize there.


  • Paris International Cinema Meeting: Prix de l'Avenir, “Open My Heart,” 2003

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