Your new movie Claustrophobia
- in a few words, what is it about?
is the sequel of Skizophrenia. Both short movies are part of a
trilogy on mental disorders. The third episode, Nyktophobia, is currently in
Is claustrophobia at all a fear you can relate to, and have you
done any research on the subject?
Regarding the subject
I did some research of course. Through the images I wanted to induce as
much terror as I could in the viewers. I personally suffered from
claustrophobia: When I was a kid I once got stuck in an elevator. I have
overcome this phobia by finding myself again in the same situation.
is supposed to be based on a "true nightmare" - care to
elaborate, and other sources of inspiration when thinking up your movie?
plot is almost entirely based on a nightmare I was told, to which I added
some allegorical elements related to some of my own negative experiences.
These are the key factors that inspired me. Claustrophobia
is not just
about a phobia and the obsessive fear of confined spaces, itís also a
metaphor of everyoneís life events with which we have to deal and
sometimes seem impossible to handle, making us feel ďparalyzedĒ.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
subject was ready, so we took some time to look for the location. After
that I started writing the screenplay and went on with the casting. For
this short movie I was in charge of directing and creating the visual
effects and the music. I received some considerable help on set. The
shooting lasted 2 days and I think that it was a positive experience for
all of us.
talk about your cast, and why exactly these people?
the actors: the protagonist is the exceptionally skilled Veronica
Urban, who was selected by audition. The two executioners are Michael
Segal (an actor, stuntman, producer, writer and friend of whom I think
highly - and whoís well known in the underground scene and beyond, in
Italy and abroad) and Roberto Ramon, a great actor, friend and colleague
(weíre both radiographers), who was the protagonist of Skizophrenia, the
first episode of this saga. Beyond the actors, Iíd like to say a big
thank you to those who played minor roles and to the extras!
also have to talk about your wonderfully claustrophobic location of
course, and what were the advantages and challenges of filming there?
could we not mention the location! Finding a claustrophobic location had
been quite a challenge in the beginning, but then I had a brainstorm. So
itís just the cellar of an apartment block, a building type quite common
in northern Italian cities such as the one where Iíve been living for
the past 12 years, Bologna. As a matter of fact, Iím from Rignano
Garganico, a small town in Puglia (Apulia), a region in the South of Italy
where I was born and lived until my early 20s. Then I moved to the
beautiful city of Bologna, which played a significant role in
strengthening my interest in horror cinema. As I was saying above, this
city is full of dark and claustrophobic cellars, so we picked the one that
best suited our needs.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
The filming took place during the weekend. The mood on set was
absolutely positive, lively and collaborative. Of course some glitches did
arise, but during the actual shooting everybody was extremely professional
and did their job perfectly!
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
general public? And anything you can tell us about critical reception of
your movie yet?
will be available for the
public to view when our participation and selection (if any) in film
festivals will be over. So far weíve been luckier abroad, as in 90% of
cases our short movie has been selected in the USA, except for just one
Italian horror film festival. Sadly, the Italian audience is quite hostile
towards this type of productions, especially if the latter have been made
by fellow Italians! In Italy the only film genres that donít get
ridiculed are comedy and psychodrama; unfortunately, this country is still
old and narrow-minded. On the contrary, the USA are traditionally more
welcoming towards all film genres, so itís no wonder that our short has
been selected more times there, also in festivals that donít require any
entry fee for submissions. Italian people are often envious and claim that
Italian productions are selected abroad because directors pay the entry
fees. Thatís very sad to hear.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
I mentioned above, my next project is the third chapter of this saga, Nyktophobia. It will be very dark and have a demonic aura.
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
My fond interest in horror movies
began when I was a child. I was barely 10 when I secretely started to
watch horror movies on my brotherís VHS tapes: A Nightmare On Elm
Street, Evil Dead,
and many more. As I grew older I
used to film home-made horror parodies with some friends, using an old
shoulder-mount JVC that belonged to my father. As for photography, I
acquired my knowledge during my teenage years, when a professor at school
held a course on black and white photography and slide film processing.
There I learned a lot about single-lens reflex cameras and photography
techniques. I used an old Yashica with a 50mm f/1.7 lens. But a few years
ago I took it to the next level and decided to take an online course on
2D/3D visual effects held by a school based in Rome. After completing the
course I filmed some short films to test my newly acquired skills. Then I
decided to seriously dedicate myself to studying filmmaking and
photography as a self-learner. Iím still doing that and I do my best to
improve and refine what Iíve learned so far.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Claustrophobia?
Claustrophobia I filmed the prequel
Skizophrenia. Going further back, I
filmed two found footage short movies and the short movie Venia Mortis,
which is included in the horror anthology 17 a Mezzanotte (17 to
Midnight). I would have liked to have more time fo film this one and also to
do that when I got more knowledgeable. Anyway, things have gone this way
and Iím OK with that. Mistakes have helped me to learn and grow.
through your filmography one can't help but notice that you never stray
too far from horror - at all a favourite genre of yours, and why (not)?
goes without saying that my favorite film genre is horror! Iím a movie
buff and, beyond horror, in my personal top list there are fantasy and
science fiction. To me cinema is about escapism, daydreaming and traveling
with imagination. In one word: Art! Talking about subgenres, I prefer
psychological, paranormal and demonic stories. Iím not really fond of
pure splatter movies, except for some masterpieces such as Evil Dead and
Bad Taste, where that intentional grotesque humor helps to loosen up
everything. Recently Iíve really liked Raimiís comeback with Drag
Me to Hell. I love that movie, I watched it at least ten times!
would you describe yourself as a director?
As a director
Iím very ďactiveĒ, namely I like to be alone behind the camera and
have no assistants likely to get in my way while working. Nyctophobia
be filmed with three cameras, one of which will be a 4k, so this time
Iíll be forced to get some external help! Just joking. For this project
Iíll collaborate with the team of The Frim Videomaking in the attempt to
create a higher-quality product. As they say: united we stand!
who inspire you?
As for old school directors: first of all
Wes Craven (many of my short movies deal with nightmares and surreal
elements), Sam Raimi, Polanski (Rosemary's Baby), Tobe Hooper, John
Carpenter and Italian masters such as Dario Argento and Mario [Mario
Bava bio - click here] and Lamberto
Bava. Whereas for todayís horror landscape I appreciate James Wan. I
hope heíll return to horror!
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
My favorite movies: The
Exorcist, Evil Dead,
A Nightmare On Elm
Rosemary's Baby, Demons,
Drag Me to Hell, An
American Werewolf in London, Sinister, Zombie,
Hellraiser, etc. There are
too many to mention them all! Among non-horror movies: Requiem for a Dream,
Interstellar, Full Metal Jacket, Independence Day, the latest
Godzilla, Pacific Rim, Spider-Man, and many more.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Cinema in Italy is
dead, indeed. Most movies have grotesque, pretentious, unsophisticated and
boring plots. Often the stories are a despicable portrait of the average
Italian person and revolve around social discrepancies among Italian
regions. Thereís never room for letting imagination run wild and cross
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
like to thank everybody who follows me in Italy and abroad, my girlfriend,
my family - who believe in me -, the inhabitants of my hometown Rignano
Garganico, those who support and encourage me (Iím especially grateful
to the American audience, which is my first supporter and by which my
works get selected in festivals). Iíll never forget my first award,
which I won in the USA, namely the Best Fantasy/Horror Award at FANtastic
Horror Film Festival [FANtastic
Horror Film Festival interview - click here] in San Diego for my short movie Skizophrenia. Thank
you USA! Iím very grateful! I hope one day Iíll be able to visit San
Diego, Los Angeles, California and all the States! It would be a honor!
for the interview!