Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker?
I developed a passion for movies when I was very young, and as a kid, I was so obsessed with movies that I was always trying to reproduce the scenes in it. Being raised in a small town, I never thought I could make my dreams come true, but one day a teacher of mine told me that I was born to become a filmmaker, and from that moment I could not stop thinking about it. At first, I got scared and tried to push it back. Since my academic background was very technical, I decided to study Electronic Engineering and forget about being a filmmaker. But I was not happy, so I decided to take my destiny in my hands and move to Rome to start my career in Filmmaking.
Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Many are the films that made me desire to become a filmmaker, but the triggering point came with The Lord of the Rings. I was so impressed on how much effort, life time and passion people can put in something as simple as the making of a movie. I was amazed that because of a movie people had to change their life completely, spend most of their time in a new country, learning a new way of life, learning new skills, and creating new long lasting relationships. I loved the idea that just because of a movie, the people involved gained so much more experience in their life, that they would not have achieved otherwise.
Who is your biggest influence?
That’s a tough question. I never felt I had a specific person influencing or inspiring me. I like to get a little from everybody.
What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films?
Definitely finding the right people to work with. Very often I found people that either expected me to tell them everything they had to do in their job, or people that wanted to take over my job. Finding the right people to work with is key, and very often I prefer to work with people that are not professionals, because they have a genuineness and passion that very often professionals have lost.
Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite genre to work in. When I approach a project, I do it with the intention to explore a specific theme, and talk about something that is important to me. Some themes that are recurrent in my projects are the relationship between human beings and our disconnection to ourselves and others; the connection between past, present and future; dreams and delusions; and the analysis of the solitude that affect all of us indiscriminately.
What’s your all-time favorite movie and why?
It is hard to pick only one, but maybe I would say Rear Window. I love movies with a mystery to solve, but that also do a deep analysis of us as human beings. That movie is full of symbolism and everything that happen on the screen is extremely connected to the inner journey that the main character is constantly going through. What I love of that movie is that in the surface it seems a very simple movie, but the more you analyze it, the more complex it becomes.
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?
I don’t like the idea of working with people that are recognized and already successful. I think that having famous people in a movie can very often take away the audience from the story. People in the audience would constantly expect that movie to be something specific because of the previous career of that actor. I don’t want that. I want my audience to be raw and not to expect anything from my movie. If I could work with anyone in the world, I would like to work with someone that is genuinely passioned about moviemaking and willing to experiment and grow.
Tell us something most people don't know about you.
Most people see me as an extrovert person, who make jokes about everything and that cannot be serious about anything. Careless many would say. But I am actually very reflective, focused and I think more than I say. I am very sensitive but I try to keep it a secret most of the time.
The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career.
That would be my cousin Valentina. She always supported me and my desire to become a filmmaker and she was there with me when I went to Rome the first time to see my future movie academy. We also did a music video together where she was the dancer performer, a video that talks about becoming adults and the difficulties of making dreams come true.
What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker?
The most important lesson that I learnt as a filmmaker is that being prepared and alert in life and on set is the most important quality someone could ever learn. If you are not prepared on set, you will have delays, and these delays will necessarily burn through money. But also no one wants to waste hours doing nothing because you didn’t do your homework, so if you want to keep good relationships with your coworkers, you need to be prepared and know what you are doing.
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 the most difficult thing is to get started, but sometimes to keep the passion alive and keep going is hard too. For me, it definitely was more difficult to start. I had to leave all my family and friends, and had to start a new career in a place where I didn’t know anyone and the only person supporting my decisions was my cousin. But when I was living in Rome I found it hard too to keep going and maintaining my passion alive as well. Rome is a city that can drain you, and after few years I was left with a lot of questions of why I was doing what I was doing. Because of that, I decided to move to Australia to start again from scratch and in few days I found my answers again.
What keeps you motivated?
Now I live in Los Angeles and I work as a facility manager of an historic movie theatre with a lot of premieres and events. Challenges is what keeps me motivated, and in my job there are many. Doing this job and seeing the passion that the audience people have, keeps me motivated not only as a manager, but also as a filmmaker. Being a manager in such important venue keeps reminding me why it is important what I am doing, and knowing to make a difference in the life of people is priceless.
How has your style evolved?
I am not sure I can talk about evolution in my style. Definitely my technique got better. And, especially thanks to the experience that I earned as a manager, I learnt how to choose more wisely the people working with me and how to direct them more confidently. My two careers as a manager and as a filmmaker go hand in hand, I learn from one and practice in the other one, and vice versa. But I feel that all my videos, even the very first ones, share a common style and theme.
On set, the most important thing is:
Being focused and definitely being on track. I don’t like being late on my schedule, I prefer to shoot less and being on time, then having more footage for me to use and not meeting the deadline, and have everybody angry with me. I also feel, as a director, that the best shots are the first ones, because they are more genuine. Every time I shoot a scene multiple times, trying to get the best performance ever, I think I get it in the last shots, and then in editing I realize that actually the best one was one of the first, so now I rarely shoot more than 3 times a scene.
The project(s) you’re most proud of:
The project I am most proud of is the one I shot with my cousin, the music video "Safe in the Storm” by Little Galaxies. I shot that music video in a failure time of my life, and because my cousin was experiencing the same, we decided to shoot a video, that would eventually become a music video. The idea was to film whatever we thought we had to film, and then, after finishing the editing, to find someone to make the music. After few musicians that fell through, I found online this song by Little Galaxies and I fell in love with it. I wrote to them asking if they wanted my video to become the official music video of their song, and they agreed. I didn’t even had to change any frame of the editing, just adding a minute at the end, it was simply meant to be.
The most challenging project you worked on. And why?
Definitely it was a cover music video that I did for Jameson Tabor. It was one of our first projects together and everything went just wrong. We had everything ready, and once we started shooting, we got kicked out of the location and couldn’t find another one on the same day. Once we found the location, we lost our main actor. Once we found the actor, we lost our DP. When we finally managed to shoot the music video, the SD card where the files were saved got corrupted and we have lost half of the footage. That project was simply cursed!
What are your short term and long term career goals?
My short and long term career goals is definitely to continue my career in the movie exhibition business as a manager and find more ways to showcase new talents on the big screen, and also to make my first feature movie as a director. As a long term project I also want to open my own movie theatre and open a museum of movies in Rome.
Your next projects?
I just released my last music video for the Little Galaxies called “It’s Natural”, and another one for Jameson Tabor called “Black Dust”. I will now send these out to various festivals and I am also writing my first feature movie.
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