Yuri Esposito is the italian project selected for the final phase of 2012/13 Biennale College – Cinema. Better known as the movie about the slowest man on Earth, Yuri Esposito is premiering at the 70. Venice Film Festival on the 30th August. We caught up with director Alessio Fava and producer Max Chicco for two interviews about the difficulties of making the film.
INTERVIEW WITH ALESSIO FAVA
Did you find any technical difficulty during the shooting?
Shooting lasted 3 weeks. The first idea was a 4-weeks shooting, but the budget didn’t allow us to go further. Luckily there weren’t technical difficulties, everything worked perfectly. The main huge difficulty was to shoot about 9 scenes each day for a total of 28-30 shots; it meant that we had to keep a fast pace with no second thoughts: scenes had to be shot as they were conceived, there was little time for découpage. The nightmare was always the same: at the end of the day, there was always something to cut because of scarcity of time, so we had to leave some shots away many times, but it also happened that we had to cut a whole scene. It was a race against time. Always. Each member of the crew was a professional, so they were careful and prepared; if it hadn’t been like this we would not have been able to shoot a movie in such a little time. So an amazing crew and a perfect organization made the film possible.
This is your first feature length film: what were the main differences respect your experience with short films?
Shooting Yuri Esposito, I thought that each short movie I’d shot in my life was useful for the production of this movie. Every short movie I did shares something with this experience: the small budget, so the same difficulties in wanting to do a lot of stuff in the most economic, right and fast way. The most fascinating thing in which the long movie diverges from a short movie is the mental management of the story and the style during a long shooting schedule. You need a lot of lucidity in order to realize a whole coherent film. This is simple, talking about a short film, because shooting lasts 3-4 days, so the mental and visual management of the project is very simple.
Is this the movie you wanted to do since the very beginning?
This is the film I conceived in the way I “saw” it the days before shooting. Everything was perfect, production design, costume design, ecc. So I can say I’m really satisfied and proud of the film I’ve done, I couldn’t do more with the budget and time I had. As I said before, I could have had a few more time to dedicate to some details. This is the only thing I missed a little.
INTERVIEW WITH MAX CHICCO
What were the difficulties concerning time and budget?
I think that the role of the producer means that you must put the director in the right condition to tell his “story”. In a micro-budget film each request must be considered and well pondered, but if you wanna reach a high quality level, you must have a whole visione of what you’re doing; to be ready to take drastic choices but at the same time to try to gather the best from the people you’re working with. Concerning Yuri Esposito, we had 15 days, so we had to take some choice. Not always the producer’s choices are the director’s ones, but I tried to let Alessio express himself and to let him tell his story from his point of view. The first thing I did was to give him the best crew: a cinematographer, Alessandro Dominici, who could help him thanks to his huge experience; an art director, Giorgio Barullo, who could understand the kind of style Alessio wanted; a costume designer, Cristina Audisio, who knew exactly how to typify each character. Time can be an enemy, but it can help you to be determined. Unfortunately we have the ancient problem of the labour cost in Italy. In fact my choice was immediately to organize a production in order. This cut the 40% of our budget. When I talk about drastic choices I don’t mean to not shoot a scene, but to try another way to shoot that scene.
Is there anything in particular that worked smoothly and that you had expected it could have gone wrong?
From a productive point of view I can say it was as I expected, also because many professionals had worked with me in other productions, so I was relaxed. The film on paper is one thing, but is another thing on the big screen. Overall Yuri Esposito is a productive challenge I think we won.
A detail or a moment you wanna share about the backstage.
I remember the first time we came to San Servolo for the first workshop of Biennale College – Cinema; it was a cold and rainy morning. The boat was arriving slowly and I thought that the advenure would be very, very, very long. Being selected was a proof for me that this experience would leave me a mark. It was the first time in many years of work that I had the possibility to confront with great professionals, to discuss, understand, talk about cinema and more. I think the experience of Biennale College – Cinema is a point of no return.