Hi, first of all, congratulations, you are one of the winners of the Europe Film Festival U.K. What do you feel?
Very happy. Really. This short film is a project I cherish, born from the vision of three other people who are very important to me. We went from idea to shooting on set in a short amount of time, but it was all very profound and impactful. I was able to realize my desire to live for all the days of the shoot with the entire crew and cast in the same house. It was wonderful, fun, and inspiring. The award for ‘Best Short Film’ can only be theirs as well.
What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Oh, so many. I always answer this question with ‘Once Upon a Time in America,’ by Sergio Leone. It’s the film that made me start to realize how much I wanted to go behind a camera, communicate my vision and share it with love and flexibility with all the other artists I work with. Of course, this applies to the audience as well. In any case, there are plenty of films that are really important to me: to this day, I say Malick’s The Three of Life changed some aspects of my life. It’s damn outstanding, the way the emotions of the characters are drawn out and how everything that revolves around them becomes a perfect backdrop to what Malick himself wants to tell us. It’s like you’re touching velvet throughout the film, you feel warm, safe. At the same time, it gives you a way to get in touch with yourself. What more could you ask for?
I’d like to include Pulp Fiction, Three Bilboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and The Great Beauty on this list. Babel, by Inarritu. I love Inarritu, I love his characters, the frailties of the human being that he tells with so much sensitivity and empathy. I think that Fellini’s Amarcord was the film that made me understand how to tell a story, while Paul Thomas Anderson and his screenplays suggest to me how to improve it, that same story. I take my cue from everyone and let everything inspire me: there are also many films I don’t like, but even those leave me with something.
Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
I think getting started is easy. Cinema is vision, and one’s vision can be shared with everyone. Even with an old video camera. When you open it up, film something you like, and show what you’ve filmed…you’re making cinema. You’re showing others what you saw, what you feel. It’s up to you to figure out how and how much you want to give, how and how much you want to get across, how and how much you want to express. I think it’s important to take small steps, to enjoy everything that comes: unexpected events, joys, falls, victories. It’s the best thing that can happen, you know what I mean? Working with people who love what you do, sharing moments with them. You have to have fun, live. There will come a time when you have to decide whether to go on or not and there I think you need perseverance, constancy, courage, passion. All these components must be one hundred percent charged. I think it’s harder to continue, but once you’ve made that decision, I think there will be at least no regrets in doing what you want and love so much. There’s only one uphill road in filmmaking, it’s never downhill. Sometimes the climb gets steeper, and sometimes it gets less so. I think that’s up to us as authors, filmmakers. Let’s take the writing process as a reference: for me many times it’s suffering, but it’s one of those sufferings that you impose on yourself to be able to express what your heart suggests in those moments. It’s an uphill climb, but less steep when you successfully write what you feel, what you want to bring to light. Both before and after one thing is sure: it’s up to us to understand how much we want to give and how much we want to commit so that what we tell becomes the inspiration for other people, or at least enjoyable.
Do filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? Do you feel that being a creative person requires that you give back or tell a particular story or not do something else? Why or why not?
No. We are not responsible for other people’s culture. However, it is clear that cinema can contribute to at least give us food for thought on certain dynamics. I don’t know how many times cinema has helped me to reflect on certain personal aspects of myself that I’ve been able to understand in a better way: I dare say many. But it has to be said that culture, and everything that follows from it or that revolves around it, is the result of episodes and the context of each of our lives. That’s the main base to start from, films cannot be considered tools to ‘acculturate’ people. Films must be films, telling a story. I like to think that the viewer acquires what he sees through his inner self, but in my opinion, this happens only when one is not obliged to consider a cultural function.
Are you working on a new project at the moment or are you planning to? Is there anybody you’d like to thank?
Yes, I am working on a new short film project called ‘Kids See Monsters’. It follows the vicissitudes and difficulties of a blind girl, grappling with the world out there. It will be very interesting to shoot it and try to better understand the life of people who do not have sight. It’s something that has always fascinated me, being able to inform me and tell something like that. Enter this beautiful world. All this, as always, thanks to my producer Lucas A. Ferrara. Lucas is not only a person who invests in me and my projects but above all a friend with whom to share the passion for cinema and the way of working. I don’t think I could ask for anything better, I wish everyone to find a person like him. I should give thanks for everyone, all the people who work with me and all the people I love and who inspire me every day. I hope to thank them enough in proportion to the love and energy they give me and that allows me to always come up with new things.
Thank you Europe Film Festival UK! Long live the cinema and peace to all.