Raindance Film Festival 2021
The video for I Sleep Little and Dream a Lot explores the travel theme in all its facets. Important topical issues such as eco-sustainability, social equity and criticism of consumerism find space, which is revealed in oceans populated by plastic fauna and in a habitat dotted with waste.
Hey Paolo, it's great to talk with you, how have you been keeping during these strange times?
In this pandemic year, I retired to my hometown, Avezzano, between the Abruzzo mountains and interrupted the production process.
My intention was to find a sense of balance between my entrepreneurial activity and my narrative drive. Having worked a lot in previous years on my two feature films, on dozens of advertising and on many video clips, I needed to stop and think. I honestly think it is necessary, not only for an artist, but for any human being to force himself to stop sometimes. Stop, to reflect on your path.
Has this time offering you the chance to find some new inspiration or opportunities?
Boredom was a key companion. I was once again able to perceive the need to work to achieve an objective dear to me, which was not exclusively linked to my professional growth, but which was also made available to the community. Therefore I have dedicated a lot of time to the two film festivals for which I take care of the artistic direction, that is Cinema and Ambiente Avezzano and Garofano Rosso Film Festival, and it was wonderful, since I was able to bring my experience in the field of cinema to my territory, thus offering a small megaphone , in a land forgotten by maps. I like to think that Dormo Poco e Sogno Molto contributed, having been the last work done before the lockdown.
Congratulations on having I Sleep Little And Dream a Lot at Raindance 2021, what does it mean to you to be at the festival?
It’s a great honour to be in a festival of such high international importance, an important milestone for our video clip. We would never have thought of achieving such goals, but we are happy that so many months of work have paid off in the only really important way, having visibility in places where there are people, like you, who love the Seventh Art.
Can you tell me a little bit about I Sleep Little And Dream a Lot, what inspired this music video?
The video clip is an elegy to our imagination, to the ability our mind has to travel. I wanted to understand this, I wanted to tell a story as my childhood mind used to imagine it, as a journey on two dimensions, in continuous discovery. And I wanted to do it with an avatar that was lovable, good, as every child sees his or her ideal travel companion. Ours was then seasoned with elements of the good Marcello, singer of Espana Circo Este. The technical choice was then forced by Covid restrictions, so this limit paradoxically laid the foundations for an original and unique work. We worked at a distance between creative direction, cgi and animation.
The hi-tech universe, partly represented in the video, has allowed us to continue our work confrontation, to observe ourselves in morning video calls, sharing creative ideas and rejoicing in such a sad moment. A bizarre experiment, in which three people worked in parallel putting together ideas and suggestions. Andrea Di Berardino from Zurich, to take care of the 3D tracking, Gianpaolo to design every holy animation and I to orchestrate, breaking up and assembling with last-minute additions. After all, I believe that forced enclosure was the fundamental ingredient to give vent to our imagination, the video clip a lifeline, a journey of the soul in which the pleasure of discovery and love have been able to alternate in a constant creative drive.
Since you founded The Factory & Redcouch Pictures how much has your approach to your projects changed since your debut video?
Thanks for the very analytical question, as The Factory and Red Couch are the same as my children. My approach to audiovisual changes from day to day, it is a continuous internal and external research. In the beginning I acted by instinct, then with the training which took place at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Italian National School) I was able to better channel some impulses that I perceived only in potential. Today I am much more reflective and rational in my choices, but I always keep the emotional approach to every job basic. I always try to be guided by a strong feeling, in order to maintain a fidelity to the feeling of what I am telling, no matter if it is a feature film or a video clip. The path for me represents the most important work, having started from a glimmer of inspiration to get to found two film companies of international standing.
What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced making I Sleep Little And Dream a Lot?
Hypothesizing such a process on paper is not trivial. I imagined the story, obviously born from the words of the song, established its intertwining and created a lineup. In our case it was then necessary to understand how to fit, as assumed, inside the devices. Wanting to complicate our life, we also decided to make them move, so we can interact with them. I remember very well that we took a lot of blank sheets and started to establish a map, a path that our avatar would have traveled on the X and Y axes, in time and space. Just like I used to do as a kid, creating endless carousels. It was our guide to scenographically prepare the devices and to create the animations to insert them. We filmed the video clip at the beginning of March, in the days shortly before the first lockdown, moments when it was difficult even to concentrate to do the shopping, let alone to build such a dreamlike journey. In our studio, The Factory suddenly impregnated with alcohol and amuchina, we found myself, Marco Anselmi (our handyman) and Gianpaolo in the company of a 50 iPhone and iPad and a scene to set up (the hands in the video are theirs). It was a very first set experiment with ffp2 masks, complex and surreal.
How important is the collaboration between a music video director and the artist?
It's important in the conception, in the initial briefing. In spite of this, I always try to maintain independence from the artist on duty, as I believe it is essential to make my audiovisual work experience its independence and uniqueness. It is essential that the musical work is the starting point for a new work that is able to excite through other languages. In this way, collaboration can be virtuous and add meaning to people's lives.
Where did your passion for filmmaking, animation come from?
I think it all starts from my childhood. It all starts with tons of cartoons and films watched as a child, thanks to my father and mother. My childhood was studded with drawing and painting, in fact at school I scribbled all the time. I also attended a specific course with my sister Chiara, afternoons spent realising what was reasoned, a deep work of concentration. During primary school I even won a competition on social issues, with a drawing that I made in a half morning, huge room full of other kids, which earned me the first prize. In short, I was quite obsessed. Growing up, however, the void. With the arrival of technology I totally lost the creative and artistic relationship with my illustrative manual skills. The ideas remained, but the capacity was diverted elsewhere (we are finite beings). Getting to know Gianpaolo was a great fortune, having two other dedicated thinking arms, designated for illustration, is very stimulating. I can devote myself to the visual world as a whole, he can dig deep going to dissect from time to time the technique with which we decide to interface.
"There was the intention to urge that world to open up to the daily suffering of peoples, breaking through and breaking the screens of isolation."
In 2020 you won multiple awards including the November Award, Best Director Animation Film for I Sleep Little And Dream a Lot, what did it mean for you to get this type of recognition for your work?
I don't think I know exactly how many festivals the video was shown and I lost count of the prizes won. On the one hand this is sad, since it takes so many months in a job like this and then the speed of our world swallows everything up without making us realize exactly the result obtained. But I also believe that in my heart, apart from the results, I am never fully satisfied with one of my creations. The process remains the true point of arrival. Obviously, receiving recognition shows that attention to work and meticulousness are the right keys to reach people's hearts, but we must never forget that the very speed of our society can one day lift us into Olympus and the following day condemn us to the abyss. What therefore matters is the comparison with other human beings, the ability to collaborate and the ability to create a community.
Do you have any advice or tips you would offer fellow directors?
Dear directors, please always follow your heart, always be ready to get involved, especially when the challenges seem insurmountable, do not forget that the truth can only be sought within yourself. Fidelity to sentiment, always. Loyalty to yourself.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away I Sleep Little And Dream a Lot?
I think that the screens of the devices are reminiscent of those of the isolated and at the same time always connected world of social media. There was the intention to urge that world to open up to the daily suffering of peoples, breaking through and breaking the screens of isolation. The current social dilemma, to quote a recent Netflix production, represents one of the great challenges of today's man. Being able to live in this mechanism without getting lost, without being sucked into the algorithms and addiction they arouse, I think is complex and very difficult. The revolution of my generation is the result of those many discoveries made by brilliant entrepreneurs, and by the very nature of their creations driven by business, it becomes more and more slave every day, losing more and more contact with the world made of earth and blood. It is these mechanisms that dictate the issues to be followed and the topics to talk about. Paying attention to what doesn't engage the flow takes a lot of effort. Maintaining memory takes effort. "Living" by opening up to today's world requires effort.