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An Interview with Nicole Albarelli, Director of To Dream

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2018

Films directed by Nicole Albarelli on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie To Dream - in a few words, what is it about?


To Dream is about two best friends doing the best they can to survive in harsh, dysfunctional environments. They cling to a shared desire to escape. This dream cements their bond and drives them. But life gets tricky. Sex, drugs and jealousy lead to unexpected chaos. And the dream is threatened...


To Dream touches many sensible subjects like friendship gone wrong, dysfunctional families, loyalty and betrayal, even suicide - so what prompted you to touch upon all of these things, and is any of the movie based on personal experience?


The story is not directly biographical. However I did find the whole process quite cathartic. Reality is constantly casting shadows on our minds. Leaving marks, scars, nightmares, fantasies. Filmmaking for me is an attempt to interpret some of life's black holes. A way to face fears and make peace with demons. I think I had hopes that in some roundabout way this film and filmmaking process would help me deal with some old grief.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing To Dream?


I was particularly obsessed with Shane Meadows at the time. His film This is England is about a gang of friends set in the 80's. He then brought all of the characters back together and did a 3 part TV series. I think Meadows is a GOD. I really admired the authentic and unforgiving honesty in his work. I'm an American living in London for 16 years now. I didn't grow up here so my understanding of the English 'youth in revolt' became very intriguing to me.

I was also re-reading Call of the Wild by Jack London at the time. Every American kid is obliged to read this in school. But when I revisited it as an adult it had such deeper meaning. It's basically about a feral dog forced to fight to survive by instinct and living by the "law of the wild". I suddenly thought, Genius. There's my film!


I think the locations play a very big part in To Dream - so where was it filmed, and what was it like filming there?


We filmed all over London. East, West and South. Serious budget restrictions meant that we relied heavily on favours. Every location used was either a friend of a friend's flat, a mate's bar, my house! We had to be clever and resourceful.


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


I guess you could say my directorial approach tends to be a bit more hands off. I rely on raw magic. We never rehearsed, on set or off. I always prepare my actors with detailed character back stories. Tell them what music they would listen to. What their favourite colour would be, etc, etc. And then I ask them to arrive on set in character. My job is to create the character's world and control the atmosphere and when they step into it, the rest of the illusion is really left to them.


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


Ah man, this is such a badass cast!

Freddie Thorp who plays TOMMY is a maverick. An old soul. From the moment I saw him I knew he was a rare gem. Tommy already lived inside of him somewhere.

Likewise with Ed Hayter, who plays LUKE. Ed is a sensitive soul who really feels the world deeply. Tough as nails, but vulnerable to the touch. They are both polar opposites to their characters on paper but emotionally very similar.

Frank Jakeman, who plays CHARLIE, Luke's father, is an absolute joy to work with (our third project together). Fortunately he is nothing like his character in real life. A true testament to his onscreen brilliance.

Then there's Adam Deacon, who plays EASY. Unadulterated method acting as fate would have it. There was nothing inauthentic about his performance. A true honour to work with.

Diana Vickers, who plays NIKKI, has this unique ability to make her performances effortlessly pure. Beautiful and captivating on screen and off.

Kirsty Dillon, who plays HELEN, Luke's mother, was born to play every single role she takes on. Acting runs through her veins.

And there are so many others... I could go on!


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


We were all on a vibe from day ONE. And we shot the entire film in just 7 days. I know directors are supposed to be at the top of the food chain, so to speak, but that idea goes against my filmmaking philosophy. Every single person involved was integral to the end result. A true artistic alliance.


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


To Dream is available to download from Amazon, iTunes, Google and YouTube and can be bought on DVD from Sparkle Media -


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of To Dream?


I think naturally it will grab the attention of today's youth, but I hope it speaks to every age. I'd like to think it's the kind of film you could sit down and watch with your parents, as a teenager. Yes, there would be some intense and uncomfortable moments, but isn't that what good cinema is all about?


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I'm working on a really cool project with a recording artist friend of mine. It's a collaboration of music and film. The story is pretty abstract and addresses modern religious oppression. It's surreal, dark and bold.

Also, I'm working on a new screenplay, set in an eerie small town, just outside of Baltimore, where I grew up. It's about an autistic boy that begins mysteriously sleepwalking into the woods at night after the disappearance of his father. It's a big step away from my usual coming-of-age stories, but it's very special to me.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any proper training on the subject?


A mixture of luck and fate. I sort of cheated my way in by sneakily submitting a music video treatment to a major record label. They chose my treatment. I had never directed before nor did I have any formal training. I blagged it. It was the most exciting thing I'd ever done. The video turned out sick! And the rest, as they say, is history.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to To Dream?


I'm still pretty new to this and very much learning as I go. I've only made one short film and a few music videos prior to To Dream. My short film, Trash, is about a young girl living in a bleak and surreal English countryside trailer park. It's a story about innocence contaminated by torment. It follows 16 year old, LOTTIE, dealing with her abusive parents, junkie neighbours, and her seemingly hopeless situation, before she decides to take drastic measures in order to break free.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Hungry and willing!


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Nicole Albarelli
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Nicole Albarelli here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

So many. Andrea Arnold, Shane Meadows, Aronofsky, John Hughes, Debra Granik, Jef Nichols.


Your favourite movies?


My all time favourite film is a 1986 indie film called At Close Range starring Sean Penn and Christopher Walken.

But I have so many favourites, new and old. When I was young I would watch the same film over and over again until I had it entirely memorised.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I hate cheesy romantic comedies and sci-fi. I just can't relate.


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


Rrrrrrr... That I need an agent!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


Jetzt kaufen bei