I'm Not Scared is based on 's novel _Io non ho _paura. Ammaniti got the idea for the book during a road trip to Puglia in the late 1990s. The novel won the 2001 Viareggio-Repaci Prize for Fiction. Since its publication in 2001, the novel sold nearly 700,000 copies and was published in over twenty ccclanguages. Jonathan Hunt wrote the English translation, which is available as hardcover and paperback by Canongate, 2003.
The story is set in the fictional town of Acqua Traverse (literally water crossings) in the equally fictitious province of Lucignano (not to be confused with the real town of Lucignano, Tuscany). The film was shot in Basilicata and Puglia, an area of Italy where director Gabriele Salvatores spent his youth. The primary set was in the countryside near Melfi (population roughly 16,000). Many reviews misidentify the film's setting as Tuscany, because of the Sicilyan scenery and the crime in the story. Salvatores chose to challenge the kind of Italian film that typically becomes popular on the foreign market: "the beautiful ocean, the nostalgic past, mafia, pizza, and mandolins."
The story is loosely based on a true story of a kidnapped boy from Milan during the in the 1970s, a time of turmoil and terrorism in Italy. At the time, it was alarmingly common to kidnap people from the North and transport them to the South or to Sardinia, where they would be hidden and sometimes killed unless the ransom was paid. 1978 was the year in which kidnappings in Italy reached an all-time peak of nearly 600. Although many kidnappings were politically motivated, children of wealthy northern families were targeted as well. It became such a problem that the Italian government decided to automatically freeze the assets of any families whose children had been kidnapped and contacted by people wanting a ransom to discourage this phenomenon.
According to Salvatores, the film is not primarily about kidnapping of the time but the mystery...