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On Your Way: An Interview with Eva Tanoni

Please tell us about the projects you worked on before making ‘On Your Way’. How did you start, and how did you learn to make films?

I have been immersed in the world of cinema since the age of eleven, pursuing a career as an actress. This industry has consistently impressed and inspired me growing up, ultimately motivating me to explore the art of filmmaking. During my college years, I experienced a detailed cinematic education, delving into the theory of film and all the facets of a film set. This period was very important for me, culminating in the opportunity to take the director's chair for my own cinematic creations.

Among the projects I hold dearest to my heart are "If Only" and "On Your Way," works that I made one year apart. "If Only" is a short film centered around a young man with a passion and a remarkable talent for singing. Yet, he struggles with a haunting performance anxiety, an obstacle that stands between him and his dream of becoming a singer. It is through his profound connection with Gabi that he musters the courage to pursue his aspirations. The relationship they share is truly special, and to understand why, you must witness it on screen!

What struck me as fascinating, after directing my most recent creation, is the striking similarity between my two films, a realization that unfolded organically. Both stories revolve around a central character struggling to chase their dreams, and both encounter a transformative individual who forever alters their perspective on life. Furthermore, a subtle touch of transcendence graces both of these films. Both films bear a message that resonates deeply with me: the notion that every individual possesses the inner resources necessary to fulfill their dreams, provided they recognize and believe in their own potential. This underlying message holds profound significance for me, and I believe that I have subconsciously woven it into both of my cinematic works.

Tell us about ‘On Your Way’. How do you describe it?

When I first started writing “On Your Way” in collaboration with my esteemed friend and colleague, Amina, the theme of freedom was fixed in my mind as a concept I wished to integrate into the film's narrative. It was this vision that ultimately led to our protagonist, someone caged in the expectations and constraints set by her parents, gradually forgetting her true desires. Hence, the symbol of the dove became a pivotal motif within the story, representing her longing for freedom. Through her art, she paints birds that soar without restraints, without a cage that limits them. An expression of her deepest desires that she paints without even being aware of it. Angelo's presence serves to help her recognize those buried desires that lie within her.

At its core, 'On Your Way' is a story about accepting what you really want in life, regardless of the obstacles that may stand in the way. It highlights the notion that sometimes, we require a little help to find the courage within us, guiding us toward our dreams. This much-needed "help" can manifest in many forms, and we must learn to welcome it. For there is nothing more beautiful following what truly makes us feel alive.

Please tell us about your favorite filmmakers.

One filmmaker who profoundly influenced my path in the world of filmmaking is none other than Peter Jackson. His monumental contribution to the film industry through "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is nothing short of inspiring. Adapting a literary work with such complex world-building and elaborate storylines to the cinematic realm is an arduous task, and yet he executed it flawlessly.

Year after year, I find myself revisiting both the films and the remarkable "Making Of" documentaries associated with this cinematic masterpiece. Witnessing the intricacies of their production process never ceases to leave me in sheer astonishment. I hungered for a comprehensive understanding of the entire creative journey, from the initial concepts to the ingenious techniques employed to bring "The Lord of the Rings" to life.

It was within these "Making Of" chronicles that my passion for filmmaking was born. The desire to comprehend every facet of the filmmaking process, every nuance and every crafty trick, was lighted. It was then that I resolved to embark on my own filmmaking journey. I hold an unwavering aspiration to one day craft a cinematic masterpiece that, in its own way, captures the magic that Peter Jackson conjured with "The Lord of the Rings."

Director Eva Tanoni

If you were given a good budget, what would be your ideal project?

My dream project would be a thrilling, action-packed fantasy film, a genre that has always held a special place in my heart, both during my formative years and to this day.

I would make, of this ideal production, an international collaboration, drawing upon diverse talents and resources. Our production would transport viewers to breathtaking locations, crafting sets with lifelike details. Collaborating with accomplished and passionate screenwriters would be pivotal in our quest to create a narrative worth watching.

Moreover, it would also be incredible to bring a beloved literary work to the screen, and my choice would be "The Chronicles of Narnia." Its profound storytelling resonates deeply with me, having read the entire series and discovered a wealth of beautiful and meaningful material that remained untouched in the original adaptations. Breathing new life into this classic tale would be an extraordinary project, one that holds the promise of a truly remarkable cinematic work. It would be an honor to be part of that production.

Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?

While the production phase of "On Your Way" lasted only a single day, the pre-production phase extended over several weeks, a testament to the meticulous planning and preparation that took place. In collaboration with my colleague, Amina, we orchestrated this production by leaving no detail unattended.

To facilitate a smooth execution on set, I personally made technical documents that would serve as our guiding compass. These documents included a day-long schedule meticulously structured to allocate time for all necessary tasks, a call sheet to equip the entire crew with essential information, and a storyboard to provide a visual blueprint for both me and my assistant director, thereby ensuring the capture of all essential shots.

I believe that the success of this production can be attributed to the effort and commitment put in pre-production, ensuring that no element was left to chance. This dedication to comprehensive planning proved indispensable in bringing our vision to life.

What was the hardest part of making ‘On Your Way’.

Being a student project, budget constraints were inevitable, resulting in a team of dedicated volunteers who generously contributed their time and talents. This, however, presented a logistical challenge, given the limited timeframe within which we had to complete the entire project. Coordinating a day when all participants were available proved to be a considerable endeavor, to say the least.

At the project's commencement, our principal actors were not initially cast as Victor and Cassandra, as seen in the final film. Additionally, we had originally planned to film at an entirely different location. A sudden episode of illness on my part led to the cancellation of our initial shooting schedule and planning, necessitating a restart with different actors and a new filming location. In retrospective, this unexpected turn of events proved to be a fortuitous one, ultimately shaping the project in ways we hadn't anticipated. And I would not have wanted it any differently! This chaos is what made “On Your Way” the beautiful work it turned out to be.

One of the most surprising developments during our shoot was the unexpected inclusion of airplanes in our film. The original script made no mention of aircraft, yet our selected location happened to be adjacent to a glider runway. Throughout the shooting day, planes and gliders took off and landed in close proximity, adding a unique challenge in the form of noise and unexpected visual elements. Instead of frustration, I opted to embrace this situation, choosing to capture the gliders taking flight. In post-production, I was able to create a poignant metaphor with these airborne spectacles. The sight of a glider relying on a plane for takeoff perfectly mirrored Angelo's role in assisting Rose in finding her path and enabling her to "take off" toward her dreams. This unplanned element ultimately enriched the narrative in a meaningful and unexpected way.

If possible, tell us about your next work. What plans do you have for your future work?

One of the most significant challenges I foresee in my future pertains to achieving a balance between my career as an actress and my aspiration to become a director in the world of cinema. These two career paths hold immense personal value and are the subjects of my most cherished dreams. However, I acknowledge that it might be a formidable task to wholeheartedly commit to both careers simultaneously.

For the present moment, I remain determined in pursuing my passion, doing everything I can to nurture it. Currently, this involves embarking on modest projects alongside my friends while remaining receptive to any opportunities within this realm. I eagerly anticipate what the future holds in store for me.


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