Gianfranco Norelli was born in Rome, where he received a Degree in Political Science from the University of Rome. He moved to the United States in 1979 with a scholarship to study journalism and documentary filmmaking at New York University. In 1980 he was awarded the ITT International Fellowship for Television Journalism.
In the last 30 years Gianfranco has produced a wide range of award-winning documentaries for American and European television networks, including PBS, BBC, HBO, National Geographic, Channel 4 (UK), ZDF-German Television and RAI-Italian National Television. Many of his films have focused on issues of migration and immigration, including a 2001 film for PBS and BBC entitled Taxi Dreams about five immigrant taxi drivers in New York City.
His previous film, produced with his wife Suma Kurien, is Pane Amaro (Bitter Bread) about the Italian immigration to the East Coast of the United States. The Italian version of the film was broadcast nationally on Italian television to critical acclaim and an English-language version is used in over 40 US universities as part of courses in sociology, history, film, immigration and Italian studies.