Interview with director Giulia Achenza

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

Creating, coming up with new stories and watching films were already some of my favourite pleasures, but most probably this became a certainty when I won my first prize, unexpectedly, with my first film.  

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

I studied Fashion Styling at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design), so I hope not! You certainly need to be passionate and dedicated to cinema and beauty, but everything else I believe you can learn. As in all great love stories feelings just aren’t enough.

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

Every day is hard (this is dedication), but a few moments throughout are enough to realise that you are still in love with what you do. So you hang in there and move forward.

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

This is actually quite hard to think about, and perhaps I never had the time to stop to consider it. Obviously you are bound to come across several challenges when you create new work, but these are all opportunities to become less naive.

  • 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?

Generally I keep an eye on everything myself, even though everyone has a specific role. I obviously respect that, but ultimately I have to make sure everything is in line with my vision.  It’s also true that given the chance, I will select people capable of adding value to the project through their vision and creativity.

I believe that the end product is the result of many visions coming together. The director should be able to bring all these different figures together under one, wider and more complex point of view – something new, with several facades and perspectives. 

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

I’m not sure, I’ve had to take many. Let’s say that generally I prefer to shoot on location, and the more interesting and beautiful they are and the harder they are to get to, the more thwe weather could become a bit of a problem.

Last year I shot in a 5,000 years old cave, with 100% humidity, on a mountain 3,000 KM high with a snow storm happening at the same time. Whereas Olympia was shot in a day and a half and had thirty scenes. Generally when the project is complex, both in terms of location, as well as storytelling, this requires a lot more effort from everyone, but I still try not to compromise and push to the max.

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

My team members are also my friends. Working in difficult situations, but pushed by passion, creates a tight bond.

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

I don’t think it’s necessarily the role of the filmmaker to think about a target audience. It kind of all depends on the type of work.

If it’s a commercial project, it should retain its artistic style, but also always keep in mind who the client is speaking to. For non-commercial work, this should be more about expressing the thoughts of the filmmaker and doing it by understanding the Zeitgeist.

When it comes to more artistic films, they should be able to predict, and be equally avantgarde and timeless.  This is when we can talk about a real artistic product. Art and beauty should be able to naturally attract people, without the idea being contaminated by marketing strategies.

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

Festivals have had a great impact on my career. Especially the first one I attended and won at, Fashion film Festival Milano, which really had a crucial impact on my life and my choice of work. Festivals to me are a great way to reach a wider audience who enjoy what I create.

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

One cannot not be familiar with classic cinema as a way to have a more contemporary approach. As with anything, the basics are necessary in order to be able to reinterpret them. Additionally, the majority of Auteur Cinema is still contemporary.