One-on-one with filmmaker Lorenzo Visentin: Crafting Cinema and Challenging Societal "Values"
Lorenzo Visentin, a multi-talented individual hailing from San Donà di Piave, Venice, is making waves in the world of cinema with his recent short film, "The Six Values of our Society." Although a newcomer to filmmaking, Lorenzo's remarkable journey from computer engineering to classical piano, photography, and now the silver screen is truly inspiring. His debut film was recently selected for the prestigious Venice Film Week, a testament to his unique perspective on contemporary social issues.
Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
Cinema is a new world for me, if I think my first experiments as a video maker date back to just a couple of years ago. I'm currently bringing my first and (for now) only short film at various festivals. Its title, "The Six Values of our Society," is eloquent by itself, as it suggests the film deals with current social topics. What's curious about it is that, in reality, what I've called "values" are actually the vices of society; vices so deeply rooted that they can be confused with what should instead be the true principles that guarantee brotherhood and welfare. The film is enlivened by dynamic and colorful video effects and uses a fun and ironic style, which vaguely recalls that of the American director Wes Anderson. The combination of irony and such important and delicate themes captures the attention of the viewer, who feels personally involved and is thus invited to ask himself important questions. The desire to share my feelings and distress I live every day led me to make this film.
What were the key challenges making it?
Since I've never had work experience in the cinema, nor I've ever studied in a film or photography school, I found myself making my first short film almost completely alone. I had to simultaneously play the roles of director, screenwriter, actor, cinematographer, camera operator, audio technician, editor, etc. Clearly in these conditions it's inevitable to make some compromises; the key factor is to try limiting these compromises as much as possible and thus giving the impression that the film was shot by a real crew. I have a background as a computer engineer and classical pianist; I think my technical skills (typical of the engineering field) and artistic skills (typical of musicians) are good starting points for reaching the goal. However, this work wouldn't have been possible without the aid of some friends who appear in the film and the contribution of a photographer friend, who played the role of camera operator, at least in the few scenes in which I was the subject and I couldn't place the camera on a fixed tripod.
How did you get involved in filmmaking?
It happened almost accidentally. I've always been interested in photography, but I've never practiced it consistently. During the Coronavirus period, I wanted to try recording myself at home while I was playing my piano; I collected some smartphones, started video recording, and then edited the footage. The tools I used were rather rudimentary, but the end result was still good. A few months later I thought that perhaps it might be worth starting to take things more seriously; so I studied a lot of video making tutorials, bought new photographic equipment, and started with the experimentations until in 2022 I opened a new music YouTube channel. The intent was to bring followers closer to the world of classical music in an original way, introducing funny sketches, explanations, piano performances, interviews, etc. After almost a year of video making for the channel, which unfortunately did not always receive the recognition I hoped for, I decided that the time had come to make my voice louder. This is why my first short film was born and how I entered the world of film festivals.
What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
I'm currently working on a new short film, which deals with delicate current topics, as my previous one. In particular, in the new film I will deal, among others, with the theme of homosexuality and its relationship with the Catholic Church. As in the first short film I published, there are also some moments in which I personally play my piano (a sort of trademark for my films). My ambition is to subsequently combine these two short films with a third one, which should also deal with similar topics, in order to form a trilogy. In a longer-term future, I hope to become better known for my videos and my thoughts, and maybe to start working with other professionals on the topics I'm interested in.
What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
I believe that a festival, rather than a real competition, is an opportunity for growing. Regardless of budget, the number of professionals involved in making a film, expertise, etc., we should never forget the spirit of sharing. On the other hand, what we can learn and the new friendships we can make are more precious than the plaque that the winner takes home.
How do you see the future of film?
Personally, I'm quite worried: artificial intelligence is a great resource for everyone, but when the primary interest of some people is economic gain, this tool risks penalizing other people who could see themselves replaced by a machine. Artificial intelligence, special effects, and a certain degree of "superficiality" in the covered topics are more and more essential expedients to make a film attractive and engaging, as if we needed increasingly stronger and easier to understand inputs to experience emotions. I think it would be a good idea to take a step back and encourage films that want to leave a human message rather than films that, despite making use of the aforementioned means, often show a fairly shallow depth. But this can't be enough without a school education which goes hand in hand with it.