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An Interview with Christopher Di Nunzio, Director of I am a Rain Dog

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2019

Films directed by Christopher Di Nunzio on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie I am a Rain Dog - in a few words, what is it about?

 

I'll give you the synopsis. A man lost while driving, turns into a motel and calls a specialist to help him get back on track.

 

How did the project come together in the first place, and what drew you to it?

 

Kris Salvi [Kris Salvi interview - click here] and I have been talking about working on a project together and I was looking to get away from writing for a bit and do a little more camera work and directing. Kris asked me to take a look at a few scripts and I was just drawn to this story. I like the theme of being lost and felt it was saying a lot in such a short time. It was simple yet complex.

 

What can you tell us about I am a Rain Dog's writer/producer/lead Kris Salvi [Kris Salvi interview - click here], and what was your collaboration with him like?

 

Kris is a great guy and amazing to work with. It was a lot of fun! Heís open to new ideas and works hard. He is very professional and always well prepared. Heís really easy to work with because he absolutely loves cinema. Talking with him is always fun because he gives off so much enthusiasm and you can just feed off that energy. I feel if you can bring that into a project it just gives it that extra layer or whatever you wanna call it, itís something you want, I know that. We would go back and forth with ideas on the script about how we can tighten it up even more and how weíre going to execute something. We had good communication and a lot of open conversations about the film which I feel always leads to something good. It was a very smooth collaboration.

 

With I am a Rain Dog being a crime thriller of sorts, is that at all a genre dear to you, and did you base the look and feel of your movie on any genre conventions?

 

I love crime films. I grew up living in the city hearing about real life crime stories then started watching a ton of films like John Wooís Hard Boiled, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and anything with Al Pacino. I used to listen to old detective radio shows with my dad. He would find them re-mastered on CD. All of the stuff he grew up with. I love noir too. Yeah itís definitely one of my favorite genres.

 

I didnít really base the look on any of them but Iím sure thereís something thatís seeped into my subconscious. I was trying to get the film to feel dreamlike. I used some vintage lenses and a filter at times to get a very warm dreamlike image. I love that warm film look. 

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

First itís working on the script. I like to add little things like movements, certain looks, and things like that. I feel if I can add those in the script Iíve already given the actor some directions before we even start. We can always change them up or change a line if it doesnít work but I still like to have it all in place. Then itís really just discussing the characters with the actors, making sure they understand the scenes, where they need to be, and stuff like that. I like to encourage the actors to take over their character and make sure they are doing the little things and whatever we can or need to do to get nice organic performances. Iím always open to hearing new ideas and going with things on the fly if they feel good.

 

Do talk about your cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Because Fiore Leo, Kris Salvi, and Justin Thibault are incredible actors and great to work with. I knew that I wanted to DP and direct this film so I needed three actors who were going to be professional, well prepared, and want to deliver their "A" game. These three do that all the time so itís fantastic to work with them. Having three actors that were really skilled and easy to work with allowed me to do both camera and directing and I knew if I was a little rusty with the camera that they have the skills to pick the film up or pick me up for that matter.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

On set was a lot of fun! A lot of good laughs and good conversations. We get a lot of work done pretty fast so it always allows us to have some time to catch up with one another. I had an amazing time. We had a good crew too. They worked hard and helped make it a great shoot. Everyone was just in good spirits and ready to work.

 

The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?

 

Right now it's making the festival run. After that Kris and I still need to talk about the best path for the film but Iím sure weíll make it more widely available one way or another.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of I am a Rain Dog yet?

 

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So far itís been amazing. Itís a film that can have many interpretations and so far everyone who has reviewed it has really dug it and understood what we where trying to go for and thatís just really cool.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I was just the main director of photography on a feature film called Seeds. I'll give you a link below where you can watch the trailer and look out for any screenings. It was a fun project! I really liked working with Skip Shea [Skip Shea interview - click here]. Good set and good material to work with. I just had a really fun time and enjoyed making a film with the cast and crew.

Website: https://www.seedsfolkmovie.com/

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

We have a Facebook page for I am a Rain Dog: https://www.facebook.com/Iamaraindog19/

My website: https://www.christopherdinunzio.com/ - I have other short films posted and lots of photography so it's worth checking out if you have time.

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Just thank you for taking the time to interview me.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD