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AN INTERVIEW WITH Fabrizio Notarpietro, COMPOSER & FILMMAKER
As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself and let us know why you became a filmmaker?
My current profession is a pianist and composer. But my studies have been different. I graduated as a set designer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin (Italy), but in 2015, "a little late" ..., I said to myself: why not make use of my artistic studies? And so I thought about making a short film.
Give some more information about the films you have made so far?
The two short films I've made are stories without dialogue. The sound of the film therefore becomes of great importance, from the soundtrack to the ambient sounds. But also photography: the filmed sequences "interact" through the synchronicity of the music. I think the works can be considered as an experimental genre.
How did you get started in the film world? What sparked your interest in visual storytelling on the big screen?
I've always been attracted to the mystery of life, to the signs that surround us (and often we don't notice them) and of our history. My drawings and paintings were no longer sufficient. I wanted to look for a different way. So I thought about filming, as if all this became my "living picture".
Why did you decide to tell this specific story in "Time Flies"?
I was very impressed with the Hal Ashby film with Peter Sellers "Being There". Especially when the film ends with the sentence "life is a state of mind" (by Jerzy Kosinsky). "Time Flies" wants to bring the viewer into a state of disorientation, making him understand that very often our reality is marked not only by the temporal phases but also by other dimensions that we currently do not know. In our life there are still too many things without an answer.
Can you share what were some of the challenges you encountered while filming and how did you overcome them?
There were many difficulties, especially technical ones. I remember that I come from the Academy of Fine Arts and not from a film school, although I love photography. It took more than a year to make "Time Flies", but I would like to point out that, before shooting, I composed the music, and after, I did the editing. Then more time to find the locations and the choice of historical costumes. It was hard work but full of satisfaction.
How did the screenplay shift before/during/after the shoot?
The script has changed a lot, not only conditioned by the filming locations, but also and above all by the true meaning I wanted to give to the film. And telling a story without dialogue, while keeping the viewer's attention, is not easy.
What was your casting process like? Did you have any actors in mind while working on the screenplay?
I cannot say that they are really actors, considering they do not speak I would say rather “extra” (including my part). In the case of the protagonist, Mr. Wolfgang Loew, it is something more for the cinematographic aspect and for the mimic ability of the role.
How did you work with the cast to achieve such acceptable performances? Was there any improve on set, or everything was exactly according to the screenplay?
Since there was no dialogue, we focused a lot on gestures and movements, sometimes even improvising on the set (keeping the idea and remaking the scene). It could be said that parts of the script were "written" directly on the site.
How did you work with the actor to achieve your vision?
At first it was not difficult to explain to Wolf (Wolfgang) the part he was supposed to play. Afterwards, the problem was to convince him to run naked above 2000 meters, in the mountains, with various risks of accidents, vipers and almost unsustainable cold situations. A true hero, besides being a close friend!
Your film "Time Flies" was officially selected in the "American Golden Picture International Film Festival". What were some other challenges you faced in making this film?
Perhaps the biggest challenge was to try to make a short film with few financial resources, and in the same way to make it as professional as possible. It was like taking a "leap into the void", I didn't know what could happen once the film was finished.
How was the movie accepted by audiences so far? What were some of the reactions?
The film had an excellent response on social media. At the moment it has collected various commendations from the juries of different festivals between Europe and the United States: eight official selections, one place for the semi finalists, one place for the finalists and three prizes for the best experiment, the best composer and the best poster (the last two from your festival a few days ago). For my first submission, I couldn't imagine such an important success.
For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn?
It takes humility but also a great sense of realism. I believe that optimism and pessimism are too much, both on one side and the other.
The most important part is distributing the film. What did you do so far for distributing your film?
Nothing yet. I wanted to wait for the completion of my second work "The Gold Rush” to see how this is received in the world of distribution.
Filmmaking is so hard and full of stress, What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking and to make your new film "The Gold Rush"?
So far my films have been conceived without the help of technicians or specialists in the sector. All this has involved an enormous expenditure of psycho-physical energies, but at the same time full of gratifications. "The Gold Rush" is my last work which was finished in February 2019. I would call it "an adventure in an adventure" for a great job done (in solitude).
If you could speak to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you have for him? Is there a certain quality that you feel is essential to success?
I would definitely say to move faster and realize ... But I also believe that everyone has their own time, with their own breaks and speed, and for this reason there shouldn't be too many regrets in one's life.
What are your filmmaking goals?
My goal is to see my work broadcast on television or on the big screen. I think it's the same for all the new directors. But going to the big screen without artistic compromises, I think is the real goal to be achieved.
What can you tell us about your next project?
The provisional title is “One & One”. A short movie that lasts no more than 11 minutes and by the synchronization of images and through music consisting of 11 bars. The filming will mainly comprise of visuals of the Swiss city of Solothurn, which inexplicably has many references to the number 11 (11 fountains, 11 chapels, 11 altars and a clock that does not exceed 11 hours). A mystery to tell.
GOOD LUCK Fabrizio
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