© 2020 by The New Current. 

Cannes Court Métrage
short film corner
Festival de Cannes | 2018
"It took some time to realize that it wasn’t just the characters on screen I was falling in love with, but the ability for film to transport me to a different world."
Henry Quilici 
Echoes of You
United States | Fiction | Drama | 2017, 18m
henryquilici.com
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Echoes of You as a classical pianist struggling to make his mark who finds his greatest fulfilment in an unlikely place.

 

Hi Henry thanks for talking to tNC, how's everything going?

I’m doing great! Thanks for reaching out to me, I’m very excited to be chatting with you.

Congratulations on having Echoes of You in this years Cannes Short Film Corner, how does it feel to be part of the festival?

Thank you! I feel honoured to be a part of the festival. Especially for a young filmmaker, it is very nice to get some recognition for one’s hard work. It encourages me to see that my film resonates with people. I put my soul into this film, and now I’m showing it to the world. It is a very vulnerable act for a filmmaker to showcase his/her work. When it is put in front of an audience, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, its the best feeling in the world.

Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?

More excitement than nervousness. The great thing about the Short Film Corner is how it facilitates networking between filmmakers. The main thing I’m looking to get out of the festival is to meet some talented filmmakers and collaborate with them in the future.

Can you tell me a little bitt about Echoes of You, how did this film come about?

As a young filmmaker, I’ve made a lot of short films, but I wanted to make one single film that could serve as an example of my best work - something that I would put my all into. So I was on the search to make something, it was only a matter of when I would find the right story.

I always want to create films that I personally connect with. Naturally, a theme that I connect with now and really wanted to explore on screen was: what does it mean to be an artist? That is the question at the heart of Echoes of You. With that question in mind, I just started writing, until I found a story in the midst of all my jumbled thoughts. Although it came a long way from first draft to final draft, it always held that motivating question at its heart.

"In today’s world, we are so pre-occupied with our own narratives that we often forget that it is better to give than to receive."

I also had to step back and look around at what resources I had around me that I could use to create the best film possible. Luckily for me, my brother Max Quilici is a brilliant musician. For those who have seen the film, the music is a critical part of the experience. The first step to realizing this film was sitting down with Max and coming up with a song that would inspire the entire creation of the film. He came up with a simple yet powerful piano piece - it was exactly what I was looking for. Whenever I was writing, storyboarding, etc I was listening to this song.

Then I partnered up with producer John Lapin, who I was introduced through a mutual friend. John was essential in taking action towards realizing the film. As soon as we partnered up, we were taking steps every single day towards bringing the story I had conceived in my had to life.

What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

Echoes of You is about the power of giving to others. Inspired by the sacrifices that many parent’s make for their children, this story emphasizes how serving others can be immensely more satisfactory that serving ourselves. In today’s world, we are so pre-occupied with our own narratives that we often forget that it is better to give than to receive. Giving to others not only is good for those we are helping, but fills our live’s with purpose and joy.

Ultimately, our protagonist realizes that there is often a purpose beyond ourselves. Although he never achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a renowned classical pianist, he took the time to inspire a little boy who came from nothing; and even though he did not know it, that moment of kindness, of unselfishness, would change the boy’s life forever, and subsequently, Andrew’s too. For now he realizes that his life has not been a failure as he led himself to believe, but a riveting success.

What was the most challenging part of directing Echoes of You?

The most challenging part of the experience was simply holding on to the belief that we could make this film. There was so many obstacles that came up in preproduction, as on any film. It really was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. At some moments, it seemed like making this film would be utterly impossible, and out of my control.

 

These were the tough moments where I had to dig deep down within me and muster up the strength to really believe that we could find a way to fix things. And we did. Things always go wrong, we just had to embrace it as part of the experience and see how we could make the most of it.

Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?

Of course. When looking back on projects that I have made, I can’t help but see it for all the things I could have or should have done differently. This may initially seem pessimistic, but I’ve actually come to accept that outlook as something very beneficial. It means that I’m learning, which is the most important thing to me. If I was looking back on this film and wouldn’t change a thing about it, it would mean that I’m not growing as an artist.

Have you always been interested in filmmaking?

I always loved movies, but it took me a while to figure out that it was something that I wanted to pursue professionally. As a kid, I often found myself falling in love with film characters. One moment I wanted to be a secret agent like James Bond and the next I wanted to be a detective like Sherlock Holmes. It took some time to realize that it wasn’t just the characters on screen I was falling in love with, but the ability for film to transport me to a different world.

How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut short film?

My approach is always to make films that explore a universal truth about the human condition. That approach has remained the same and I think always will, because that is the type of content that matters to me. That being said, my technical approach is always changing. Especially as a young filmmaker, I want to work on various types of films, taking different approaches and always trying new things.

What has been the best advice you've been given?

If you don’t believe in yourself, neither will anybody else. I have come to learn that in leading a group of collaborators, one must first whole-heartedly believe in themselves and their project. In order to convince anybody that your film must get made, you must really believe in it yourself. People will follow someone who is confident in their vision, not somebody who has a half thought out vision of something they think might make a decent film. And if you are not, don’t let anybody ever find out. The moment that others start to sense your own disbelief, you have lost them forever.

Now you can be reflective do you have any advice you would offer a first time writer / director?

Stop making excuses and go make your movie already. There will always be a load of obstacles in your way, and it will seem impossible, but have the audacity to believe in yourself. Take actionable steps towards your goal every day, and the impossible starts to feel more and more attainable.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently in early development for what I want to be my directorial debut feature film. Hopefully, the next time you see me, it will be with that feature in Cannes!

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

I want my audience to realize that giving to others, even if it's only a moment of kindness, can change their lives forever.