I visited the set for the upcoming short film I Believe in Monsters, a cosy and lively set hosting a dark tale. Directed by award – winning film maker Flaminia Graziadei, spoke to me about her last film Inside out and her future projects.
Formerly began her career in theatre as a dancer and choreographer in Italy, Flaminia moved into cinema 13 years ago and learned on the job by becoming a first AD. Her last film, Inside out, a short 10 minute drama was a success and won Best UK Short Film at this year’s London Independent Film Festival – since then she has travelled around Eastern and Central Europe and USA for the last 5 months, still retaining interest and generating more.
“I drew it up on a dance theatre piece I created in Italy, realising from the positive feedback, people were pretty impressed by the subject” she tells us. The subject is a sensitive one, often left untouched by creatives, focussing on the nature of panic attacks and anxiety, Flaminia chose to express these violent outbursts of emotion through dance and audiences reacted to it – “People who suffered from panic attacks actually thanked me because finally someone had approached the subject, likewise relatives of those who suffered also appreciated it – they felt they could better understand what goes on when their loved ones suffer”.
A stunning piece, starring Aislinn Sands whose character that splits into two and her subconscious representing her anxiety and her attacks communicates through dancing. With first-hand experience and perspective on the matter, Flaminia decided she needed to reach a broader audience with the short film; “I wanted to break boundaries and wanted them [the audience] to understand what happens to people when they suffer an attack and avoid them being labelled. So I decided to picture it in two different languages, the first was through traditional cinema and the second through dance” – a language that has been with her most of her life she added. “I decided to split the single character, she’s a strong and confident high flyer with lots of responsibilities, but she suffers with panic attacks, one day she just splits into two – her subconscious detaches from herself – she doesn’t talk, she only dances. People have fewer boundaries to dance than they have to words.”
Commenting on this year’s awards and quality of films submitted, Festival Director Eric Schultz commended the winners and said “I’m certain we’ll be seeing many great things from these film makers in the very near future”
So taking on a sensitive natured subject wasn’t the only challenging task, she not only wrote and directed Inside Out but also produced it, but nothing was too much when asked how it was undertaking the three biggest roles in the process of film making – she laughs “It was really natural to be honest, I knew what I was talking about, what I was looking for and of course, I had two fantastic performers.” But it can’t be all plain sailing, what are the challenges behind a producer and a director two of the most important roles in the industry? Especially when it comes to your own material; “You battle against yourself. You haven’t got anyone to protect you, just yourself, but you also have to protect your project and budget. I’m naturally more inclined in being an artist and luckily I’m quite pragmatic and well organised, but you need to learn that both of those parts need to work together.”
So what about when it comes down to being female in the industry? Does it come into play? Or should it even be an issue? Flaminia agrees that it isn’t easy; “Having learned as a first AD surrounded by males, it is tough, because believe it or not in this field, people don’t like being told what to do by a woman.”
Not that it has ever deterred her – “I know what I want and I’m not going to give up. Sometimes, I need to find a way around to get what I want – That’s what I am and that’s what I do and have been doing for 30 years of my life!”
Having completed filming I Believe in Monsters, a tender story by Richard Anthony Dartford and adapted by co-producer Sue Green, it a dramatic piece about domestic abuse, revolving around a little girl and how she is confused about what she hears at night. Going back and forth and in between time, Chloe is scared of the ‘monster’ behind her bedroom door at night. A tense and difficult story line leads us into the world of a child and how they witness domestic violence and how it is dealt with – “She doesn’t know if the noises she hears are monsters or something that actually belongs to reality and she discovers that it does.” Once again, Flaminia challenges the barriers in sensitive subjects; “It’s something that’s interesting, I got to play with the border between fears and nightmares and the reality – we don’t know at first if it’s her imagination.”
So what does the future hold for the incredibly tenacious director? Taking on the success of her last work, she hopes to bring I Believe in Monsters to the festival circuits and receive a similar reception as her last piece. Additionally talks of it being considered a prequel are already in motion, “I’m hoping it can be a prequel to the feature film that I’ll direct and we’re co-producing in Wales in October, called The Final Hunting. We already have a distribution contract from the USA and hope to add it to the DVD as a feature and add more breath”
I Believe in Monsters is now in post-production stages and will be released later in the year and The Final Hunting will begin shooting later this year.
For more information and contact details visit:
See the trailer for Inside Out at: http://www.pbshowfolio.com/flaminiagraziadei
Article by: Faye Gentile
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