Antonella Di Nocera, Leonardo Di Costanzo • Producer and supervisor of Procida
“The freshness and purity of these young people's perspectives were fundamental elements in the narrative”
- The producer and the artistic director of the project, shot by the 12 young people from Campania who participated in the 2022 Film Atelier in Procida, discuss the process behind it and the result
Producer Antonella Di Nocera and director Leonardo Di Costanzo, the project’s artistic director and supervisor, discuss Procida [+see also:
interview: Antonella Di Nocera, Leonar…
film profile], a film born of the footage shot by the 12 young people from Campania who participated in the 2022 Film Atelier in Procida. This workshop took place during the year when Procida was the Italian Capital of Culture in 2022. The film workshop, aimed at teaching documentary filmmaking and creating an anthology film, was led by Di Costanzo. The training project, funded by the Campania region, promoted by the Campania Film Commission, coordinated by Parallelo 41 Produzioni and selected out of competition at the recent Locarno Film Festival, took place in June and July 2022 with an intensive workshop that saw students and teachers immersed in the life of the island in order to connect with its inhabitants and their stories.
Cineuropa: The film seems to intertwine both the history of Procida and the journey of these young people in learning cinematography. How did you balance these two narrative threads during the film's production process?
Antonella Di Nocera: The making of the film reaffirmed the project's intentions as an opportunity to promote the growth of "human capital", and build creative and technical skills that remain part of the region's heritage, enhancing learning and culture through the language of cinema as a tool for individual and collective development. Starting from the young people and their perspectives, rooted in their origins but projected into the future, the film ignited a process that involved the community and was nourished by the island's inspiration, its openness to the world, and its welcoming spirit rich in stories and beauty.
What challenges did you encounter when documenting the experiences of people who had never used a camera before and who were new to the island of Procida?
Leonardo Di Costanzo: Everything happened quite naturally from the beginning. From the very first moment, we gave the young people very simple exercises to start filming the island and its inhabitants, and we allowed them the freedom to choose whether or not to interact with the people they were filming, according to their inclinations. Some chose an observational approach, while others felt the need to interact and talk to the people they were filming. By watching and analysing the filmed material together with them, it became clear that their perspective and curiosity towards the people they were filming were important narrative elements, even when they didn't ask questions. As we progressed, we realised that the subject of the film that was developing was not only Procida, but also the relationship that the young people were building with the place and its inhabitants. Therefore, we simply followed what was naturally emerging, especially during the editing process, which was that the freshness and purity of these young people's perspectives were fundamental elements in the narrative.
Did you face any ethical considerations during the filming of the participants, some of whom were unfamiliar with the filmmaking process? How did you address such concerns?
L Di C: One of the first things we discussed with the young people when we watched the filmed material together was that the act of filming entails aesthetic, ethical, and even political implications. Even the most instinctive and spontaneous way of filming is never neutral. Aesthetic considerations, such as lighting, chosen angles and camera movements, have implications for one's perspective on the world and the person being filmed; they are not simply about creating beautiful or ugly images. The work we did with the young people in reviewing the material they had shot was to make them aware of these aspects. Therefore, in this training concept, there is no distinction between technical learning (camera operation) and direction. The two are closely interconnected, even for those who may decide to become cinematographers in the future. This is one of the great lessons of the Varan workshops in Paris, the school where I trained and taught for a long time.
Were there any specific moments or stories that emerged during the filming that surprised you or had a significant impact on the direction of the film?
A Di N: Discovering Procida geographically, the people who inhabit it, its characteristics, and everything that can be defined as its history and tradition was very intense. The island's inhabitants were initially reserved but also intrigued, and the trust with which they opened up to the students, almost at the end of our time on the island, was because they mistook us for tourists, as the island (being the Capital of Culture) was crowded with tourists during that period. This study of reality was a process that was outside of ourselves, but at the same time, it was also a process of self-discovery. Some characters emerged from all of this: from late afternoon until evening, boys and girls of all ages passed under the imposing figure of the steel giant, creating a vortex of micro-stories characterised by the sumptuous colours reflected by the carousel.
(Translated from Italian)
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