Pioneer Italian motion picture director and producer Giovanni Pastrone was born in Montechiaro d'Asti, Italy, in 1883. In 1909 he became head of the newly formed Itala Film Company, for which he directed Il conte Ugolino (1909), Agneses Visconti (1909), and La caduta di Troia (1912). In 1914, Pastrone realized the most ambitious work of his career with the monumental Cabiria. It was a worldwide hit and had a tremendous influence on D.W. Griffith's seminal epics The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). The production of Cabiria gave birth a number of technical innovations in filmmaking, like diffused light, parallel sequences, panoramas, grandiose sets, and miniature models, and most of these sprung directly from the mind of Pastrone. Post-Cabiria, Pastrone adopted the pseudonym Piero Fosco and directed a number of films that were notable for their technical élan. His final directorial effort was Povere bimbe (1923), after which he left motion pictures altogether. He died in 1959. This early historical fresco prefigures Pastrone's 1915 masterwork Cabiria.