top of page
I was born and grew up in the Marcellinara isthmus, the narrowest point in Italy. From my house I saw two seas; sometimes I had the feeling of being on an island.
It is said that once the narrow strip of land between the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian Sea was also the sea, where I spent my childhood and youth and, to prove it, I remember that as a boy, in the legendary nineties, perhaps the last in which we still grew up more in contact with the world than we could see and touch, we still found shells, on Mount Cocuzzo, made entirely of sand, where the sea, had apparently never been before.
I recently went back to look for some, but I couldn't find them. Maybe because we collected them all in the nineties or maybe because I'm no longer young enough to be able to find them.
I am not one of those who started making films since he was little with his father's camera or who made his first film when he was 15 years old. I did not have a vocation in life that was clear from the beginning, quite the contrary instead.
When I was a child I was passionate about science. I remember when my parents gave me one of those scientist apprentice boxes and the red microscope with all those slides to investigate and classify. But at the same time I liked stories, especially those of marine adventures like "Leagues Under the Sea" and with animals: I remember a huge book by Salgari, about India, tigers and other exotic wonders.
I started filming when from that isthmus in the center of the Mediterranean I moved to Bologna to study in a faculty that I had chosen in the morning, by chance, reading a newspaper article just before taking the high school exam. No innate vocations, no knowing what I have always wanted. My twenties were an aimless journey in which, however, by chance, I found in the shooting of images with small cameras and in the story, something that attracted me because it took considerable technical knowledge, but at the same time something was told, not necessarily scientifically certain.
And so I became part of OrfeoTv, a neighborhood television project carried out by the same militants and intellectuals who had raised the antenna of Radio Alice in the seventies.
We held endless meetings in a sort of basement, I remember Stefano Bonaga who excited us with his philosophical passion and Franco "Bifo" Berardi with his speech as slow and calm as it is sharp and polished.
I don't think Bologna was my city, but it was the city of my twenties, of the study of a faculty that I did not like, of an engineering test that I had passed in thirteenth place and that I had not chosen for fear of becoming a scientist who pays little attention to tales and stories. Drunken evenings at Pratello, concerts at XM24 and nights spent in the OrfeoTV garage editing interviews with the neighborhood butcher or broadcasting a few football matches with our tipsy commentary instead of Bruno Pizzul's.
After practicing with media activism, I first met and worked with Paolo Sbrango Marzoni from whom I learned a lot about the film editing and then Adam and Davide, young scholars of the DAMS who went around shooting short films, taken from the cinema more than from life itself. It was love at first sight and as our first job together we shot a commercial for a typical italian cheese, a contest in which the best commercial became the official commercial of the cheese in question (no, we didn't win), in which a mother threw a cheese into the air and we had to be able to film it well with the few equipment we had.
Today, more than fifteen years later, Elenfantfilm is a solid reality and even if I no longer live in Bologna they remain one of my many families around Europe. We work together remotely on projects that fill us with satisfaction and have a lot of fun.
At a certain point I got tired of something, of a too regular life, of having settled in Bologna? Have you just followed the high road? Of a city that I had chosen at the age of 18, in the morning, in a newspaper that sponsored Umberto Eco's Faculty of Communication Sciences (which I have never even seen in the faculty)?
I do not know. The propulsion that pushes you to do something that you really "shouldn't" do is something mysterious, the same that pushes the scientist of "Leagues under the sea" to board anyway the Abraham Lincoln and look for a giant narwhal that his experience as a scientist suggests does not exist.
I was in Venice to film the carnival and I saw a very young girl dressed as Peter Pan who made up people outside the Santa Lucia station.
I fell in love with it. We lived in Padua for a few months in a squalid, insignificant neighborhood and then we moved to Turin. There was any special reason for.
My period of anger against the dominant ideology began, anarchist struggles, the protest in Val Susa where I spent almost the whole 2011. I was defending a mountain and that was what I wanted to do, coming back to nature , protecting it, know it again because I felt that I was going through an era in which man was completely disconnecting from it with dangerous consequences (which in fact are increasingly visible and concrete).
I was not interested in the fight against the State but rather the days before the arrival of the State in the valley (in the form of thousands of doped policemen); days in which the people of the valley presided with serenity and determination the place where they claimed to drill the Alps. Discussions, coexistence, the exchange of knowledge in the shade of centuries-old trees and millenary mountains
I will never forget when after the clashes with the police on July 3, going up the mountain, we met an old gentleman who at his venerable age was still hoeing the earth and without ever having seen us before he simply asked us: Are there still fascists down there?
To that man eyes', fascist is the one who goes to a territory and disturbs the people who live there, in peace.
Sara and I got tired of the fight in the open and left with an old camper from 1981 for Genoa where we embarked, at Christmas 2011, for Barcelona. There was any special reason for.
We started our nomadic life passing through Valencia, Granada and many other places that I don't remember anymore, but we didn't like the highway, that's for sure and so very often the old fiat ducato climbed incredible mountains, with our whole life crammed in it, at 20-30 miles per hour.
I learned to fix pipes, water pumps, solar panels, the same things that those in the camper club do, but not in the garage to prepare for the August holidays, but always, every day, on the run. There was something extremely exciting about being on something that moves and is your home at the same time. To make up for some money in this period we did street art with my sax, which my father gave me when I was 10 and an elastic lycra cloth. We got by and after various adventures we arrived in Cadiz, an old Phoenician city on the Atlantic, at the gates of Portugal, a country where I would have stayed for 4 years.
I reached Lisbon on foot. Sara dropped me off at an ancient prehistoric site near Evora, 40km east of the capital, and I ended the journey to our final destination on foot by walking for a whole night thanks to the effects of a special infusion of Datura seeds. I remember that at one point I passed through a village in the middle of the night where there were public toilets with showers and hot water! Even today I don't know if all this really happened.
We didn't stay in Lisbon because we were actually looking for a land and a region where we could settle and live in the countryside. It was in the context of this design that Giulia entered my life. A mutual friend of ours introduced her to us and she told us to go to the Serra east of Coimbra, a city between Lisbon and Porto, because many foreigners lived there who bought or rented land to move to a rural life and practice permaculture.
That's where we met Julho. An old gentleman who had spent 40 years in the Portuguese colonies of Africa trading who knows what and then returned to his village of thirty inhabitants in Portugal. From time to time one of his various children in Africa came to visit him from Africa or Paris.
He taught me how to distil grappa, with a huge copper alambic that produced 8-9 liters of brandy. The only thing to know, he told me, is how to prepare the fire (strictly wood, no gas). Three different types of vegetable fuel with different combustion time periods were artfully arranged under the boiler and once the fire was lit he no longer touched it: the combustion, its propagation, duration and precise intensity, that makes the brandy, he said, it's the fire that makes brandy, not us.
Julho lent us one of his land to live in, restore a house, cultivate and take advantage of the river just below.
It was a great stage in my life. I had only worked with a computer and there I learned to use my hands and a few dozen other tools instead. I studied astronomy, botany and all the things that are studied in the university of life, the one you choose. The roads with Sara separated and when I had already decided to return to "civilization", because I wanted to be a director and not a farmer, in Lisbon, I met Giulia again, years after the first time, by chance (? ) the day before she was leaving the Lusitanian city for a big while.
She proposed to me working as a seasonal worker in France to raise money quickly, breaking our back with winegraps. I accepted and after that experience we decided to make a long lenght feature film that we started shooting in 2016 and which, nowadays, is about to be finished in Brussels.
bottom of page