Interview with director Martin Basile

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

To be honest, there wasn’t. I realized it one step at a time.

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

I didn’t. The best way of learning something is by practicing. School can help, but it’s not enough.

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

Keep going is harder. Film is not only about making films, but also about getting a chance to make them. When you learn how to make a film, the next step is finding people who believe in you.

  • 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 particular film taught me how complex film language is. I had to make several adjustments to convey my idea, after I started shooting.

  • 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?

I was lucky. Vittorio (the lead actor, also producer) gave me the opportunity to shoot in an incredible location. He also had a lot of interesting props and costumes. This helped me a lot in terms of production value. At the same time, I only got to fly to Puglia and shoot. Without any chance of rehearsing. I also shoot only with non-professional people. So, during that brief period of time, I also had to teach them how to do their job. It was an exciting experience.

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

At some point I had to cut a lot of scenes. About half the film. This completely killed one of the two main ideas. But I realized that a good film should be only about a big main idea.

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

The people who worked on the film were wonderful. They were Vittorio’s friends. Getting along was effortless. I think that the easiest way to have a strong relationship with associates is finding beautiful people in the first place.

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

Every audience wants something different. The hardest job for a filmmaker is finding the right audience. There’s no point in giving up your identity to be liked by someone, when there’s already somebody else who may be interested in your particular point of view.

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

Film festivals are the best way to showcase your work and get feedback. They are also a great opportunity to get to know interesting people.

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

I don’t see how a creative, sometimes artistic job could lead anybody to not expressing his personal and inner point of view. If anyone does so, he should not be considered a filmmaker.