Once Again Social Media Manager for Filmmaker Festival

The year that is now drawing to a close has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult for the film industry. However, in the face of closed cinemas, cancelled festivals, postponed new film releases and sets on pause, it is with great pleasure that Roberto Braga and I returned to collaborate with Filmmaker, the documentary…

My Fourth Workshop at the Mediterranean Film Institute, in its First “Hybrid” Edition

August has just begun and the first session of the 2020 edition of the Script 2 Film Workshops, the Mediterranean Film Institute’s (MFI) development program for films, documentaries and TV series, has just ended. Given the difficulties caused by Covid-19 in organizing international travels for participants from all over Europe and abroad, and in making them work…

How I Learned About Turkish Painter Mihri Rasim During My Lockdown

As I mentioned in my previous post, the isolation imposed for the COVID-19 pandemic is deeply affecting the film and entertainment industry. At the beginning of the lockdown in Italy, many agencies and consultants in the marketing and communication sector wondered what they could do to help their community go through this difficult time and make…

My Latest Teaching Activities, From Fashion Marketing to Digital Narratives

Spring has arrived (finally!) and it brought back (old) new collaborations. After completing a few exciting digital PR projects for the Milan-based entertainment marketing agency QMI Interactive over the past five months, I have resumed some of my favourite teaching duties.  In March I again joined the team of the Buyer 2.0: Professional Manager in Fashion Activities…

What I Loved Most from My Week in Los Angeles

2018 is almost done and I am writing from Belgium right now, where I am spending what remains of the year with my wife’s family. Around this time one usually goes for the best nine Instagram posts but I chose to sum up my recent trip to L.A. with a personal list of what I…

Meet Spamflix, the New VOD Platform for “Weird” Films

The premise of this post goes back in time over ten years ago, when I was studying for my MA in Cinema, Television and Multimedia Production at the University of Bologna. One of my pals over there was Markus Duffner, who was into Monty Python and unconventional audiovisual narratives. Fast forward a decade, he has…

Nuovi incontri tra cinema e televisione a Milano con Film Tv Lab

Gli amanti di film e serie televisive in Italia sanno che il martedì hanno un appuntamento fisso con il proprio edicolante di fiducia (o la cassetta della posta, o lo schermo del proprio pc/tablet/smartphone). È il giorno in cui il nuovo numero di Film Tv, settimanale di cinema, televisione, musica e spettacolo, raggiunge i suoi…

Back to the MFI Script 2 Film Workshops

Imagine you’re surrounded by one of the bluest seas, fed delicious seafood while watching breath-taking sunsets, and discuss story arcs and characters’ motivations over a few glasses of ouzo, Greece’s traditional anise-flavoured drink. It may sound like paradise, but it’s actually hard work too if you’re a scriptwriter, filmmaker or producer attending a full immersion…

TorinoFilmLab-supported Films “La Holandesa” and “Dead & Beautiful” Are on Their Way, While “Les Innocents” Is Out in Italy

November brought a bunch of great news for TorinoFilmLab-supported films (which month did not, anyway?). For my ongoing series of posts focused on TFL releases and work in progress projects, especially related to the 2012 Script&Pitch and Audience Design Programmes, I’m glad to share three updates from Chile, France and Italy. Principal photography for La…

TorinoFilmLab Reloads Its Programmes and Launches Three Labs

Autumn will be a very busy season for TorinoFilmLab, which is introducing major changes in its training activities for the audiovisual industry. The Torino-based laboratory supporting international talents has just unveiled what prospect participants and Alumni can expect to be fully introduced to between this fall and the beginning of 2017. First of all, as…

My Week at the Script 2 Film Workshops in Nisyros

[Scroll down for the Italian version] It is very easy to get used to beauty. Being awakened by the sound of the sea; seeing freshly caught octopuses hanging in the wind in front of the restaurants on the waterfront; walking in the bottom of a volcano… All these things become normal after a few days.…

“The Brand New Testament”

[Scroll down for the Italian version] Last week I kicked off my complementary membership at Curzon Cinemas with a gleefully blasphemous film, which made me laugh a lot, but understandably won’t appeal to some viewers with little sense of humour when it comes to religion. Between satire and dystopian fantasy disguised as a black comedy,…

Your Guide to the X-Men Films

[Scroll down for the Italian version] In a sense, this post comes full circle, as almost two years ago on this blog I wrote a comment on the promotional campaign for X-Men: Days of Future Past. I used Bryan Singer’s film as a case study for lectures and masterclasses, and after a while, when Professor…

Snuff. Real Death and Screen Media

After Al-Qaeda’s propaganda videos, but before ISIS’, I was researching the space occupied by death within cinema and digital media. It was just a matter of time before I delved into the urban legend of the snuff movie. So, for a while, some British colleagues I was working with jokingly nicknamed me “Mr. Snuff”. My…

A Regular of Cult Cinema

I suppose that, after three times attending the same event, one can be considered a ‘regular’, if not a ‘veteran’. Then this is the case for me at Cine-Excess, the conference and festival on global cult film traditions: I attended and presented a talk last year, and in 2011 this was my very first truly…

Back to the Connecting Cottbus Film Market

I really like film markets. They give you the feeling of a parallel world. They are so full of events and yet totally unknown to the majority of the people who just attend the regular activities of a film festival such as screenings, talks and meet and greets with actors and directors. The market is…

One Morning Among Storytellers at Scuola Holden

There is a very peculiar school in Turin, Italy, named after J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye’s protagonist Holden Caulfield. Created in 1994 by a group of friends in their thirties, including writer Alessandro Baricco, Scuola Holden is now one of the places to be if you want to learn the art of…

The Circuit of Excess: Film Industry, Taboos and Online Conversations

I have just come back from a pretty intense full immersion session in taboos, censorship and cinema hosted at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Yes, in the Czech Republic, right where Fifty Shades of Grey‘s sex symbol Jamie Dornan was presenting his latest film, Anthropoid. At this time of the year this city has a…

From “Mad Max” to Nikki Sixx and Back

By now I’m sure all of you have heard of Coma/The Doof Warrior and his flame-throwing guitar. In Mad Max: Fury Road this insanely awesome character with a creepy background story is portrayed by Australian musician iOTA. Fans of the L.A.-based band Mötley Crüe immediately related to him, as they realised that the blind guitarist,…

Can File Sharing Become a Form of Art? “The Pirate Cinema” Project Investigates Information Flows as Aesthetic Exploration

When it comes to torrents and digital piracy, users’ behaviours online are usually tackled under a variety of points of view, which include ethics, laws and copyright issues. But what about the file themselves, whose content is usually ‘invisible’ when people are sharing it via BitTorrent? What if you could have a glimpse of that…

The Roar of the Old Lion: John Milius and… “Milius”

When I was much younger I loved watching movies but I did not pay particular attention to the cast and crew. I just enjoyed the stories. It was only later, when I started to study cinema, that I really got into “the who and the what” of filmmaking and began to think about a film…

How to Shape your Film’s Extra Content: A Lesson Learnt from “Birdman”

There is little doubt that Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was one of last year’s most interesting films in terms of direction and cinematography, not to mention how the whole project was conceived from the beginning. Filming Riggan Thomson’ attempt to adapt Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk…

Are Smartphones Helping Us To Shoot Smarter Films?

Just a few days ago, as the Sundance Film Festival was about to end, a film started making the headlines. Sean Baker’s Tangerine, shot with an iPhone 5s, was enthusiastically saluted as the frontrunner of a new breed of movies that, by spending between $168 and $768 for set up, can achieve quality images for…

Paint Like a Human, And Stop Training Robots to Take Your Place

Robots and AI are all around us. Deal with it. In the past few days I’ve come across news that made me think about the relationship between art and mechanical – and digital, in this case – means of (re)production. Especially when the connection between humans and machines is blurred like it is nowadays. It…

Let’s Bring the “Gialli” Back. Davide Melini on his Short “Deep Shock” (Part 2)

After discussing how director Davide Melini started his career, let’s delve into his new short, Deep Shock. Produced by Fabel Aguilera and Melini himself, it is supported by the most important institutions of Malaga, such as the “Diputación de Málaga”, the “Ayuntamiento de Málaga” and the “Málaga Film Office”. According to the official synopsis, the…

Wing Chun Looks Better When You Wear A Panama

Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster starts and ends with a hat. A Panama hat, to be precise, worn by actor Tony Leung as master Ip Man. Actually, the whole film focuses on the style at large of the legendary martial artist. He was internationally famous for training a young Bruce Lee while he was living in…

Put a Kermode Under Your Christmas Tree

Christmas is coming fast. Sounds menacing, but you better be ready. As I love books, and I suppose you love films since you follow this blog, I am going to suggest an exciting read for the upcoming holidays that combines the two. Whether you live in the UK or not, the name Mark Kermode might…

“Tim’s Vermeer” or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Imitation

Films about obsessions usually tell us more about the obsessed than the obsession in itself. That’s why I don’t agree with Jonathan Jones’ review on The Guardian of Teller’s documentary Tim’s Vermeer, which tells the story of Tim Jenison, a tech entrepreneur and inventor who desperately tried to discover the secrets of the painting techniques…

Let’s Go South and Enjoy Some (Cine)Excess

Cine-Excess is one of those places where you can spend your lunch break eating sandwiches and fresh fruit while speaking about moviemaking, crowdfunding and gatekeepers in the film industry with veteran horror directors such as Jeff Lieberman. That’s exactly what happened to me on 15 November, while I was waiting to present my paper at…

Audience Design: Two Strategy Sketches at Connecting Cottbus

In the film industry there is one very specific place where creativity meets business: the market. It’s the place where scriptwriters, filmmakers and producers have the concrete chance to secure a budget for their projects, or find co-production opportunities that might open new international doors to develop their films. It’s also the place where, in…

Let’s Meet the CEO and Play God: What the Trailer for “Ex Machina” Tells You About Your Boss

Big tech companies’ CEOs can be quite unusual people, praised as those few enlightened individuals able to bring grounbreaking visions to the world. On the forefront of design, innovation and technology, they’re worshipped for their unique ability to inspire people and open new roads. But what if these paths lead to unknown territories that question…

Do You Know Which Is The Most Northern Place? Filmmaker Anrick Bregman Has the Answer. And It’s Interactive (Part 3)

After discussing the project’s genesis and some aspects of the storytelling process, I asked director Anrick Bregman to share more insights about immersive tools, music and sound design featured in his web doc The Most Northern Place. Prominent Monkey: Which are the main features that create the immersive experience you designed for the viewer? Anrick…

Do You Know Which Is The Most Northern Place? Filmmaker Anrick Bregman Has the Answer. And It’s Interactive (Part 2)

After discussing the genesis of The Most Northern Place with director Anrick Bregman, I wanted to know more about the engagement aspects of his interactive documentary and discover how he and his team approached this compelling story. Prominent Monkey: In this post you said that a traditional documentary would not achieve the same sense of exploration.…

Do You Know Which Is The Most Northern Place? Filmmaker Anrick Bregman Has the Answer. And It’s Interactive (Part 1)

There is no doubt that digital media is pushing the boundaries of filmmaking. When it comes to documentaries, web docs leave linear narratives behind and allow viewers to experience a more engaging connection with the story portrayed. Very often they are large-scale projects with very consistent budgets, but who said you can’t achieve immersive outcomes…

The Crowd Strikes Back

I’ll start this post by jumping back into memories. Over a year ago, I was on a night flight on my way back to Verona after pitching at the STARTinMED startup forum in Barcelona. After a few hours of sleep I took my car and on a rainy early morning left for Udine to give…

From Video Art to Narrative Films: The Case of Masbedo’s “The Lack”

The Lack is quite an appropriate title for the latest work of Nicolò Massazza and Iacopo Bedogni, aka Masbedo, an Italian creative duo active within video art, performance and photography. On 31 August their first feature film was screened at the 71th Venice Film Festival as a special event within the Venice Days section. The…

On Viruses, Apes and People Getting Hysterical at Film Screenings

Hey, it happens. Scientists design a virus to get rid of Alzheimer’s and as a result they wipe out almost the whole of mankind, enhancing the intelligence of apes on the way. Too bad, I’m sure next time they’ll do it better and manage to exterminate us all. Wondering how this idea will affect your…

Would You Contribute to the Hunt for Robots? Then the “Transformers Are Dangerous” Campaign Needs You (If You Survive the “Bayhem”)

Optimus Prime wielding a sword and riding a fire-breathing Dinobot is the epitome of the last instalment of the Transformers franchise, a film series that is heavily based on excess, sensory saturation and, here and there, a total lack of self-consciousness. Over the past years I have come to realise that enduring a movie directed…

Godzilla: King of The Buzz

Like the catchphrase says, “haters gonna hate”, but the King of monsters couldn’t care less. Gareth Edwards’ reboot of one the most popular franchises in the history of Japanese sci-fi films has already destroyed the box office using its signature atomic breath (and some brand new marketing tools). As for fans and detractors, they are busy…

“Frank”, or What it Takes to be an Artist and Market Yourself in the Era of Social Media

If you’re an artist trying to break into the crowded music business, then Lenny Abrahamson’s film Frank will speak to you because it addresses one of the most delicate questions for creative professionals nowadays: how do I reach my audience? [some SPOILERS ahead] When wannabe musician Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is offered the chance of a lifetime joining…

Before “Netwars/Out of CTRL”, Cyberwarfare Never Looked So Stylish

If the recent Heartbleed bug got you worried that someone could take advantage of your online assets, you might now want to know some more about “info threats”. Luckily, you don’t need to hang out with international wanted criminals to have a glimpse of what a cyber attack looks like: projects like Netwars are here…