Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
A wonderful game that makes me happy as a child. Writing subjects, inventing stories and also the desire to tell the dream world that is inside me pushed me to get involved and create this first work of mine. As a film lover, the passion transmitted to me by my father - which was a true encyclopedia of the seventh art that knew all the actors, the directors and sequences of the greatest films from the 1950s to the early 2000s - represented for me a great cultural heritage that marked my existence forever and positively. I was with my father already at the age of eight in the cinemas of my Naples and watching films of different genres. I learned to love cinema and I always had in my heart the desire to be able to present my work written and directed by me in great humility and without fear of being judged for what I proposed and wrote, even if this was not understood by everyone. Even in music I have always been an artist who loved to do things not for everyone but for those who were willing to understand and enjoy the message I launched to him and this creativity of mine also follows me in cinema. I have been a musician for many years and the images I try to convey through music I thought of making them visible through a film by exploiting and giving justice also to some of my musical compositions that complete the message through real images.
Talk about your last work. What are some of the challenges you faced during production?
Travel The Bilocations of the Soul was born from an idea developed through a surreal world that asked me to add more and more pieces and situations to what I had in mind;
one day I found myself entering a motorway service area on foot and from the service gate of the insiders (barman waiters gas stations etc ..) and I conceived at that moment that although I did not get there by car I could be an integral part of the journey of everyone else who were instead travelers by car and spiritually I was just like them, because crossing the gate meant for me to bilocate and enter a traveling dimension and then exit at any time when I wanted, opening and passing a gate and returning to the previous dimension.
Elia is a character who is locked up in a mental health center because he has been humiliated by a ruthless system like the show. The daily race and the fight against power wear him down to the point of making him sick with depression. The Bilocations are his only way out and with the strength of his mind he manages to leave even temporarily the place of his prison, made up of pills, meetings with his health and isolation worker. In the film; sarcasm, ephemeral and altruism have a face and the three characters who embody the causes of his malaise are on the highway ready to meet and mock him.
The meeting with the health worker disguised as a handsome traveler marks the transition from segregation to freedom. The soul flies high free and elusive. Voluptuousness, attractiveness surprise our character by making him a spectator of his own bilocation. The cars that hurtle on the highway are the many souls who cross paths but who will not meet again because as in real existence they dialogue with each other creating a single breath but the struggle for power and success do not give man time to reflect on his earthly condition. Thanks to a very hot team capable of doing a lot with little and making the most of everyone's abilities; the challenge was to be able to excite the viewer despite having very few technical means available. Travel The Bilocations of the Soul is an artisan film in the noble sense of the term and the fact that it has been appreciated in many parts of the world makes me proud because as the great Italian director Monicelli said: “to make a good film you do not need a lot of money but to have many ideas” and this is a value on which I feel I can continue working in the future. My producer Roberto Gambacorta of Rio film has always believed in this work fully supporting this way of working that is no longer current for many directors and producers. I choose characters in everyday life who are not professional actors but carry out other professions in their daily lives; I choose them for their faces for their human characteristics. Daniela Uccellatori, Lele Barbieri in life great drummer, Roberto Scaglianti, Ugo Maranini, Gennaro Giugliano, Luca Greco, Roberto Bartoli excellent double bass player and Seku Jatta acted naturally without trying to be because they were already what I needed. The original music was composed not only by me but also by my excellent colleagues such as Antonio Marangolo, great composer who gave me the song Protomilonga an added value for some scenes of the film and by Teo Ciavarella great pianist who composed with me the song Antares decisive in the scene of the passage to the South of the Soul. The director of photography Ares Brunelli is the cameraman Simone Lipparini for having understood the spirit of the work and having carried out an immense work with few means available.
What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?
The elements that push me to write are taken from the humanity around me. Facts and things that really happened but that contain surreal and spiritual situations in them. The South of the Soul that is presented through Seku; an African from Gambia seeking asylum in Italy, represents that part of the soul where all the stones discarded by the builders of humanity are stored but one day these stones will become foundations. The character Elia after coming to terms with his life experience based on the search for wealth, will join sub-Saharan Africa represented precisely by Seku whom he had always loved in his endless artistic and musical journeys. Making a further step towards the essential, and becoming a new man just like the passage taken from Paul the Apostle’s letter to the Ephesians called: “ Quit doing the old man Who corrupts him self through misleading passions and renew your self in the spirit of your mind”
Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?
A new project is a new creature and the idea of creating and writing a new story makes me happy like a child who has just started a new business. I write almost entirely the story which in that case is more than a tea towel with obviously the script of the various characters and in the meantime I already have in mind the people who will have to take part in it because it is enough to look around and our life is full of special figures who can make the work surprising with their presence by acting in great naturalness. The treatment of the work is very important but even more so is the attention in the work to add new flowers in the garden that is the film. Ideas are constantly born through places, people etc ... and I am always very attentive to grasp what my daily path offers me and when I am really satisfied I baptize everything. The search for music is very important as is its times. I build different scenes based on music that is very important for their development; I am a musician and therefore music is very important to me. The choice of places is made through a healthy alchemy due to my frequentations, to the places I have known but also through spiritual details matured over the years. The relationship with the cinematographer, cameramen, audio technician and producer are of great collaboration so that everything can turn to the good of the film. I always do everything in big economics, I wouldn't be able to think of one of my works with a lot of money available, it will probably be a characteristic of my works.
Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?
As I said before, I was captivated by films of different genres that I have watched in my life since I was a child. I really love Italian cinema that of Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Mario Monicelli, Francesco Rosi, Nanni Moretti, Pierpaolo Pasolini, Ettore Scola, Pasquale Squitieri and Paolo Sorrentino and outside Italy Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, William Wyler, Woody Allen. The films I would always carry with me and that I loved are: De Sica's Bicycle Thieves, Fellini's Amarcord, Monicelli and Steno's Guards and Thieves, Francesco Rosi's Thre Brothers, Nanni Moretti's La Messa è finita, Pasolini's Mamma Roma, Ettore Scola's Una giornata particolare, Pasquale Squitieri's I guappi, Sorrentino's Great Beauty, Scorsese Taxy Driver, Tarantino's Pulp fiction, Wyler's Benhur, Harry introduce you to Allen's Sally and Polanski's The Pianist
How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?
I believe that the world of cinema has had many changes over the years and therefore is always able to withstand the shocks of the times. It takes ideas and start thinking about films produced with limited budgets and I think of a rebirth of so-called craftsmanship through which to excite the viewer with stories, environments and independent projects thanks also to the various festivals present all over the world that create showcases for independent and even experimental cinema. The Covid emergency has created big problems for the whole system but has extended the life of some films like mine which after being shelved in 2020 had a rebirth between 2021 and 2022 receiving multiple acclaim. You have to trust and believe in projects that are not food products with a deadline.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?
Believe in themselves and their projects but also in their dreams. If they think their work mirrors what they worked for, they defend it from attacks and criticism by respecting them, but taking a regular step towards their own ideas. Do not make cinema thinking of getting rich, let them put their soul into it and above all they strive to create projects that can really caress the souls of those who watch their works
Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?
Cinema is an art form and as such can enter people’s hearts through the feelings of those who create the work. After watching a good movie I have always seen viewers come out of theaters with eyes full of emotions and satisfaction for what they had seen and so I think a good film can enter people's hearts and also induce them into positive changes towards the society in which they live.
What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?
People probably want to see movies that are light, relaxing, that entertain or laugh but there is always a hard hoof that wants to keep watching busy movies that leave something in their hearts and make them think and remember even when they return home
Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
I am working on a new feature film project again with Rio film. It is a project that speaks of human loneliness and its children; Several characters called children of loneliness, follow one another with their solitary lives, in the daily life of an intimate and inner desert.
I'm in full work and he'll be ready soon. I thank you for the great opportunity you have given me to tell and talk about my film Travel Le Bilocazioni dell’anima that is giving me so much satisfaction around the world and I hope it can reach many more people. A big hug to everyone Flavio Piscopo.