‘1 of 100 Stories’ featuring Martino Sclavi



I was lucky enough to meet Martino Sclavi (high profile supporter of The Brain Tumour Charity, friend of Russell Brand and author of The Finch In My Brain) at the beginning of 2019. I was introduced by Piers Townley, who works at The Brain Tumour Charity and has supported me with the 100 Stories Project.


I was very excited to meet Martino, as a fellow creative and film director, who in 2011 was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain tumour. He underwent surgery immediately in LA, soon after the diagnosis and then had a second operation back home in Rome six months later. The second surgery initially left him unable to speak, read or write. Martino relearnt his three languages and started to use technology to read text out for him. Before I met him, I found it hard to believe he couldn’t actually read. But when I went to visit him, he produced eight packets of tea and asked me to identify which of them was English Breakfast.

He was never able to read again but managed to write an entire book about his story through touch typing. What is remarkable is that his muscle memory remembered how to touch type. His book, The Finch In My Brain, explains his life before and after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. My favourite part is where he explains that, when he looked at the hole in his brain, he saw a bird, a finch, and from then onwards, he created a relationship with the bird.


My short animation explores his narrative.


Helena Traill © 2020.
London, United Kingdom.