Interview with director Nicola Schito


Nicola Schito is a film director based in Milan and a member of AIR3 (Italian Directors Guild). Born in Padua, he has been working in the film industry (both in Italy and the USA) since he was very young. In 2015, he graduated from the “Civica Scuola di Cinema Luchino Visconti” in Cinematography and Multimedia Languages. After completing his studies, he worked on numerous productions with Red Bull, NBA, Coca-Cola and SKY. Since 2016 he has been collaborating with “The Big Angle”, a production company of the Dentsu Italy group, working on commercials and content for brands. At the same time, he has directed short films such as “Mi.AMI”, “L’Americano”, “Lock Notes” that have received awards in several international festivals.

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

I realized that the camera would be my pen when I was about 13 years old. At that time, I was part of a Scout group in Padua and as the undertaking of the year, we decided to produce a short film. We were then helped by a director Christian Cinetto and it was thanks to him that I understood that this would be my path.

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

Having attended a film academy, I am absolutely convinced that it is fundamental as an educational pathway. It is very important to explore different fields and professions both as a general education and to better understand oneself. I, for example, attended the “Civica Scuola di Cinema Luchino Visconti” in Milan and specialized in cinematography and then went on to direct. In fact, before becoming a real director, I wanted to be able to use a camera and learn cinematography techniques in a professional manner, precisely to keep up with the important changes in the film and audiovisual industry.

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

I think difficulties are always there, rather they evolve according to one’s goals. Challenges are part of everyday life and they are also the beauty of this job. I think the key to everything is passion and willpower.

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

More than a new lesson, it was a reconfirmation that limits can become the real driving force. This short film ‘Lock Notes’ was entirely made in the middle of the lockdown period for the Covid-19 epidemic and consequently I had to work within a situation of great limitations. I could not have a real production or even a troupe. I only had one camera, one lens, one tripod and only one location my home. Thanks to these limitations, I was able to find creative solutions that only made the final result of the short film even more valuable.

  • 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?

All phases of this production were handled in lockdown and consequently the approach was completely different from usual. As mentioned before, I was dealing with many limitations, but it was by turning them to one’s advantage that it was possible to make a good film.

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

The most difficult artistic choice I had to make during the production of “Lock Notes” was to set most of the scenes during the blue hour. It was a difficult choice both because I had to re-shoot a part of the scenes I had already done and because it consequently entailed major organizational constraints. Because of this choice, it took me about six months to complete the filming, as I only had a few minutes each day to shoot.

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

All the people I collaborated with for this project are people I work with on a daily basis and this obviously allowed me to develop this project to the best of my ability. The project initially started with Matteo Parolini, composer and sound designer, and Antonietta Viscione, art director and motion designer, with whom I developed the initial idea. Subsequently, we involved screenwriter Emanuele Greco so as to develop a proper script. Finally, in the final phase, I worked on the editing with Beatrice Angri and the color with Diego La Rosa. All people with whom I have many exchanges both creatively and professionally.

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

I think the director’s job is to create experiences as well as tell stories. Before worrying about understanding what the audience wants, it is important to understand what you want as a filmmaker.

  • 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 have played a fundamental role in my life. I have participated in many different forms in different festivals from the smallest and most independent ones to the most important ones such as the Venice Film Festival, Locarno or Turin to name a few. They were very important and significant experiences, also with respect to my career as a filmmaker. In fact, they are a fundamental moment of confrontation and updating, where you can watch many films that may not be distributed in your country, meet other directors or figures from this world.

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

I am convinced that a filmmaker must first and foremost be himself. Then he must always be extremely curious and always be on the lookout for new stories to tell and new techniques to experiment with.