Your reel is rammed packed with youth fighting, hoodies on mean street, and then we come to Three Rivers which is melodic with a slow paced intriguing narrative. How did you convince the client that you were the right director to shoot this?
Three Rivers was definitely a new experience. The first project I did for Golden Goose had more of an aggressive, loud and vibrant feel. It was cut with different scenes I collected from the streets of LA. They really liked the film and asked me back to shoot their next collection, but this time for women. I was given a lot of creative freedom and the only request was to have three female characters. It was more my personal need to step out of my comfort zone, and work on a narrative to portray the collection.
Please tell us about the narrative. Did you write the treatment as you were writing the script, or to put it in another way – did the visuals evolve as you wrote the words?
The visuals always come first, before everything, and the rest just evolves around them. I usually start my creative process from a really simple idea, a piece of music, a color, an image, or a feeling that catches my attention. I just store it in the back of my mind and let it rest while I collect the other pieces, until it naturally develops into something more defined and structured.
With Three Rivers my initial idea was to shoot in a forest and put a marvelous house right in the middle of it, that’s a thing I always wanted to do. I wanted to surround my characters with gigantic trees, and then watch them spread around like tiny colorful dots over a green map. Then I just started shaping these elements around the idea of an infinite loop in which the three girls have been stuck forever. The idea of a modern fairy tale with a rather dark twist really fascinated me.
When all the pieces came together I prepared a treatment with my art director Ava Villafane and Golden Goose loved it. It was only at that moment that I started writing a script together with Ryan Weatroski. We originally had a dialogue between the characters, but during the shoot I had to cut the lines out because there was no time. We had to shoot the entire thing in less than 48 hours and our picture car broke on the first day as we parked it in front of the location. The FJ you see in the short actually belongs to our producer, Malcolm Duncan.
What is your background that led you to directing – to cinematography and editing too – as we see that you shoot and edit your own films.
My dad has always had a great passion for photography and so I grew up with a lot of cameras and lenses lying around the house. When I started approaching film I was at my first year of business school at a college in Milan, everything started quite randomly. I took a small HD cam to a club and shot some footage of my friends. Soon I started carrying a 7D around trying to capture everything that interested me. By the time I graduated three years later, I was shooting music videos and fashion films. At that point I wasn’t sure if continuing my studies and pursuing a career in business or risk everything and start all over again in film. I took some time off to think about my future and in the meantime I kept shooting in order to develop a portfolio. A year later I was leaving Europe and starting my first day at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where I am currently studying.
Yes I’ve always shot and edited my own works, but with Three Rivers I really wanted to break away from my style and completely focus on directing. For this reason I asked Edward Tran to shoot it and Aaron Bencid to edit it, both really talented Art Center students.
Whereabouts are you based?
At the moment I live in Los Angeles, but I go back to Milan at least two or three times a year. I have three more terms before I graduate but I’m not sure where I’ll go from there.
Music videos, fashion, or commercials – where does your heart lie?
I’m really open to everything. Working with music and fashion is always fun, because you are usually given more freedom to execute your vision with less limitations, while in commercials the rules are a lot different. I recently joined two production companies in Europe and I’m really excited about that. I’m also planning to shoot some shorts in the future, my ultimate goal is to direct a feature some day.
List five inspirations that have connected with you recently:
Il Deserto Rosso – Michelangelo Antonioni
Aquaplano – Resident Advisor.465
21_21 Motion Science Exhibition– Tokyo
The Salt of the Earth – Sebastiao Salgado
The Well HC – Aaron Wiesenfeld
Represented: Think Cattleya