Interview with director Carlo Perassi

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

When I realized that I preferred to tell something by limiting myself to the use of images and sounds: I knew that this would have made my thought clearer and truer to the audience.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

I think that attending a good film institute may be useful but not fundamental: what is actually difficult is to be true to one’s language while continuously refining it.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

Both of them are really tiring: rewriting is an essential process. Writing something true is really painful for me. A well-known Hemingway’s saying comes to my mind: “All you have to do is write a true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know”.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Each time I left instincts and easy solutions aside, working by repetition and subtraction.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

“In Bief” is an adaptation of a screenplay I had written as a single long take when I took the chance of shooting in a deserted, almost empty stately palace. This unexpected event made me plan the editing again and more carefully before starting shooting – however managing to keep the feelings very similar to those of the original idea – but the whole thing was organized in a short time by my standards, after all. I am very satisfied with the natural light cinematography achieved by Federico Torres, with the actors and other little unforeseen details that added value to the final result. I think that Eugenio Mazzetto’s soundtrack was very relevant, as proved by several awards.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

It may seem very strange but the words that you read after the title in “In Brief” tormented me: I always thought of this short film as hovering between an experimental documentary and a silent drama.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

My most frequent collaborators are Massimo Rossi (VFX, general post-production) and Federico Torres (cinematography), and I think that our relationships can be maintained with intelligence and respect.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

In the first place, a director should have something to say and I think that the audience wants an honest and non-trivial approach.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

In some way, festivals help me in the search for a more transparent form of expression.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

A director should aim for the meaning: the language is a tool and, anyway, there are vast possibilities of expression without going to far in showing off.

  • What qualities or attributes do you look for in the people you are looking to employ or work with?

I need to see that they are truly interested in the project and that they are professionals, even better if they are capable of making motivated and civil critical contributions.

  • Would you recommend writers think like a producer when writing their script? Or, just write with reckless abandon and then worry about the cost, or whatever, after they’ve grabbed a producer’s attention.

I believe that certain constraints will help to focus on what really counts about the characters and their relationships. I think you can get the attention of a producer with an interesting content that doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

  • How involved in the writing of a project do you get? Are you more involved in the initial development?

I have always written my short movies and for me the writing process is as painful as essential.

  • If you had an unlimited budget at your disposal, what would be your dream production project?

I have never thought about the possibility of an unlimited budget: it would be interesting to organize something with millions of figurants, instructed with useful readings independently from shooting.

  • What does the future of film look like?

I hope that movies will continue to help us to better understand what hides behind what we see through a camera.