Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I am an overthinker when I feel bad and a maker when I feel good, film-making came as a result of a series of drifts that started with costumes for cinema, fashion, performance, and a sprinkle of hardcore life events. I play with images, aesthetics, and my body since I am a kid, film-making allowed me to integrate all these layers in one whole compound.
Talk about your last work. What are some of the challenges you faced during production?
I think that the most stressful part of the artistic process is communication: “marketing” and distribution. The ideation, performativity, and production staff are the fun part.
What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?
I am angry about multiple things: from a smaller, more personal scale to a larger, global one. “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention”.
I often question myself and what surrounds me: from societal structures to personal dynamics and I tend to get somehow mad. Learning how to channel that anger into curiosity made me an “artist” or whatever I am now and always been in my core. Everything that I do turns around issues related to gender, sexuality, generational trauma and mental health and I try to treat them in a funny, grotesque, maybe provocative way; more than telling stories I like to make tangible my scattered, entangled thoughts.
Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project.
When I used to design costumes or shoes I had a meticulous step-by-step agenda, from translating inspirational mood boards to proper designs to material research and managing relationships with factories and trade shows, etc….
Film making came by chance and I am still figuring out literally everything, working in films as a stylist helped me understand the process but I am still very much in the learning process and what I’ve filmed and produced until now is made thanks the collective efforts of multiple friends that accepted to collaborate with me
Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?
I stopped watching lots of movies due to mental health reasons around 10-12 years ago. I do have a list of past films that definitely marked my vision and aesthetic:
on the top of my head, there are a few Italian directors from the 60s-70s and movies that impressed me when I was younger are: “Salo and the 120 days of Sodoma” by Pasolini, “A special day” by Scola, “Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’Agosto” aka swept away by Wertmuller,
“Le grand buffet” by Ferreri.
Also “Mullholland drive” by Lynch, the recent “Titan” by Ducournau. And to be honest, I like a lot plenty of American ’80s 90’s comedy movies like “Coming to America” or “Death becomes her”.
How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?
I haven’t been in the industry quite enough time to perceive any change.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?
I’m not sure if I am in the position of giving good advice.
Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?
Like everything else, we are susceptible to external influences, I guess that only when we’re really interested in something we can absorb the message. Otherwise is propaganda.
What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?
Definitely, people switched from movie to series and the pandemic increased the need to binge watch due to the initial long isolated days, to calm anxiety, to evade…
Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
It’s an experimental short movie that I had in mind for the past 4 years, I wanna realize it in the next few months while I’m in NYC, it intersects Mental Health, Gender, and Sexuality, no dialog, just images, there’s gonna be human cats and a tran-salien sexy cat-lady…
Charlie G Fennel Website