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Interview with Loredana Gasparotto   2 comments

Today’s interview is with Loredana Gasparotto. Loredana is my first interview with a film maker and screen writer. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.
Loredana Gasparotto PictureMy name is Loredana Gasparotto. I was born and raised in a small, medieval and enchanting Italian town called Bassano Del Grappa. Bassano is a beautiful place
full of history and beauty, however it always felt too small, like a pair of tight
shoes.

The land I longed for was far, far away: it was America. As I landed in NYC at the end of 1999, I felt immediately at home. I’ve been living in NY for the past 17 years and it’s been a long, intricate and adventurous journey that took me to write Pentimento, my first feature film. This long life journey brought me to recognize and completely accept who I am: I am an artist. But what does it mean being an artist in America, the land of opportunities?

PENTIMENTO Trailer

Well, being true to yourself and your art in America, where conformity and success
are measured in terms of popularity and money is a true challenge. My questions
were and still are: is it finding buyers for my art what makes me a true artist? Or
does it turn me into a salesperson and a product instead of an artist? I realized that I
had to set aside all those marketing values. They did not belong to me and I did not
belong to them. Being an artist for me is the freedom to be myself. Free to search
and free to fail without the worry of being liked by “consumers”.

I wrote Pentimento with those ideals in mind. It might sounds heroic, but its’s a
continuous struggle. And why did I become a “writer”? Something that I never
liked in the first place? Because I had to. I had to write my own ideas in order to
turn them into moving images, in order to tell stories through filmmaking.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was forced to learn to write to make movies. I had to accept that it was a
necessary step in order to communicate my ideas and produce them into film.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

Initially I wrote scripts following the process my teacher taught me, which is to
begin writing a film treatment first.

Well, let me tell you: it probably works if you have to pitch your idea to a studio
executive, but I don’t think it’s the most creative nor the most fulfilling way to
write. I personally follow the Sylvester Stallone’s method, lol: Write and just write
until you get the first draft of the script done! I thought it was ridiculous at first, but
it works! I finished the first draft of my second feature in 2 days ( however, I had
been thinking about it for 10 years� ) I just let the protagonist go on her journey
without any judgments. It was a fun and wild ride� loved it!

Loredana Self-Portrait

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Well I would think that my favorite genre is thriller and comedy. I believe these are
the two genre I am drawn to by default. Most of the stories and scenes I write are
scary or bizarre.
What are you passionate about?

Pentimento PosterI am passionate about honesty and originality. I watch tons of films and TV shows.
When I see something that stands out I am the happiest and more excited person
ever!

 

What is something you cannot live without?
Music, films, the sun, coffee, my iMac, my iPhone, my bike and sleep. Love to
sleep! �

 

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your films?

I get my inspiration from life. I came across so many weird things and crazy
people, that I can say with all honestly: life is much weirder than fiction.

Pentimento Preview

 

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing
and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Weirdly enough, I keep repeating the action of having the main characters looking
outside windows. What’s up with that? I have that in all my movies! Definitely a
cycle that needs to be broken. Dream sequences are also a biggie. Seriously. All my
movies have dream sequences. I don’t even plan to create them consciously. I just
put them in . I think it probably has to do with my night dreams. I have crazy
intense dreams basically every night. So I guess I tend to recreate my daily life
dynamics. Usually all my characters become conscious through a bizarre dream
experience. Almost like a prophetic or paranormal perceptions.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

I did try to write stories following an outline, but it never really worked for me. I
mean it always forced the story and it was not an organic progression. When I
began following my characters instead, everything fell into place. As I follow
them, the story creates itself.

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?
I usually don’t begin a story with that in mind. Usually the beginning is just about
the journey of the character. However, I believe it’s the ending of the story that
defines its message. How is the heroine/hero’s journey going to end? Would she or
he find what they were looking for or not? The ending will define the moral of the
story as well as the philosophical views of the writer.

 

What do you want the readers to think or feel after watching in your films?

I’d like them to leave with a new prospective on how stories can be told and about
how life could be. I’d like them to be surprised.

 

What influenced your decision to self-produce?

Well, as a first time feature film director I had a super tough time finding investors
to make the film.

I searched for a very long time. I wrote proposals, met people etc… However, it is
extremely difficult to find individuals who’ll dare to invest in your ideas without
the guarantee of financial gain. And of course the film business is very
unpredictable. We can’t ever really predict what will be a hit or a flop. At the end,
I realized I had to invest my own money.With that, comes the pros and cons.
One of the major cons is that the production value of the film is not as
sophisticated as the one of a multimillion dollar production. Also the production
and post production phases are incredibly longer.

However you have enormous freedom to create. And I truly believe that my best
ideas came out of this process.

Creativity is the daughter of scarcity. If I’d had access to all the tools I wished for, I
wouldn’t have had to squeeze my brain to come up with new creative ways to solve a
problem.

I truly believe that Pentimento is a unique film because I was forced to invent
solutions to all the productions issues I encountered. I’m actually very please with
that.

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-producing?

It’s definitely the creative control and originality that comes with it.

 

Who designed your posters?

I actually made the choice to do it myself. I was inspired by the posters of Wong
kar Wai’s film posters like Fallen Angels and Chunking Express.

I decided to utilize the technique of mashup to create an original poster, by the
way still in the making. I utilized this technique for my previous art work. I think
it’s a good fit for the film.

 

What sort of research do you do for your films?
Research is one of my favorite aspects of writing. I learn so much in the process.
For my second feature I am researching a varieties of topics from insights on the
NYC real estate market to various species of NYC BUGS. From Saint Francis, the
magic flute and Snow White to dumpsters recycle. Did you know that dumpster
recycling in NY is the new Trend? So much fun!

 

How do people interested in your work find you?

https://www.facebook.com/LoredanaGasparottoArt/

https://www.facebook.com/Pentimentofilm/

Entertainment as Advertising   Leave a comment

Film is a medium that we think of as entertainment, but often this is not entirely the case. Take military movies, for example. Films such as Top Gun included heavy involvement of the Pentegon and other military boosters to provide an awe-inspiring film. When Hollywood comes to the Pentegon with a request for production assistance, the military sees this as an important opportunity to tell the American public something about the US military that will help them recruit and retain personnel. It is a relationship of mutual exploitation. Movie makers get to use military props — where else are you going to find an aircraft carrier? — and the Pentegon gets to influence how it is portrayed on the silver screen.

That works the opposite way as well. Movies like Platoon, Dr. Strangelove and The Hurt Locker portray war in certain ways to influence the audience to reject war in any and all circumstances. These movies may not get the Department of Defense seal of approval, but they do no less an effective job at presenting anti-war propaganda for a particular political agenda — using entertainment to influence political viewpoints.

Promised Land (Matt Damon’s anti-fracking movie) is a clear example of this. Despite the Environmental Protection Agency saying there is no scientific evidence to support concerns over ground-water contamination from fracking, the movie has several scary scenes showing burning water coming out of the tap. For the record, the EPA has found no burning tap water that it is admitting to … and it’s the EPA, so chances are good, if burning tap water existed anywhere on the planet, they’d find it and put a stop to whatever was causing it. I’m expecting them to outlaw oxygen as a flammable gas sometime in the future — perhaps in my life time.

Ever wonder why there is now a gay character on almost every show on American television? Supposedly homosexuals makes up about 5% of the population, but they are represented on almost every television series. Why? It’s been on ongoing campaign in Hollywood since the mid-1980s to normalize homosexuality in the American mind, but it is hard to normalize 5% of the population. It’s too small a slice of the population to be viewed as normative. By presenting homosexual characters that are entertaining and likable on almost every show, Hollywood promotes a particular view of American society that doesn’t really exist. There is not a gay person in every office and not every family in America has at least one gay member. Having worked with a number of lesbians and gay men over the years that I worked in social work, I can tell you from personal experience that some of them are very nice people who live fairly ordinary lives, but none of the men I know are monogamous and the women are not lifelong partners with one another and, yes, some of them sexually abuse their stepchildren and sexual harass their heterosexual coworkers. Until that side of reality is shown on television, the portrayal of homosexuality on American television can be called propaganda in the same way that the unrealistic portrayal of heterosexual family life on 1950s television was also false, misleading and manipulative.

Again, while it is tempting to call for regulation to demand that entertainment and advertising/propaganda be kept separate and well identified, it never works out well to do it that way. Regulation is a slippery slope that starts out for the good of the nation and then turns into a tyrannical nightmare. A better solution would be for Americans to recognize the manipulation for themselves and use the power of the wallet to make it stop … or switch channels and read a book, which will amount to the same thing — and leave those who like to watch certain sorts of fairy tales to do what they like.

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