One-on-one with Filmmaker Monica Mazzitelli - "I am a hopeless optimist"
Monica Mazzitelli, feminist directress and writer, Rome-born and Sweden-based, has filmed some twenty-five short films (documentaries, narrative films, videos, promos, booktrailers).
He latest film, the animated short 'The Wedding Cake', tells the story of a young woman who is forced to become a prostitute in order to settle her ex-husband’s debts. Her destiny is narrated through Playmobil figurines and a wedding cake that disappears along with the woman’s illusions.
iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
Mazzitelli: "Oh, this is a difficult question! Define "important"! I would rather say something about this very last one, 'The Wedding Cake', because it is a very important project for me. This short is actually a pilot for a larger artistic animated documentary feature and/or miniseries ('Silent Flesh'), that revolves around the female body as a commodity. It's a complicated, exciting and totally playful project that feels like the most serious endeavour I took in my life. The mission is: change the world. The vision is: a vision!"
iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?
Mazzitelli: "Making a short film with: no actors, no videocamera, no budget, no nothing: just a desk, some Playmobiles, a wedding cake, a camera, two lights, and a voice over. That's IT."
iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
Mazzitelli: "Succeeding being so poor and yet so strong and impactful."
Trailer: The Wedding Cake (2020)
iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?
Mazzitelli: "I did not know I could, but I was asked if I wanted to make a video for a conference about copyleft and I prepared something just as simple, filmed on my bed, and it reached 1,800,000 views on Youtube, back in 2006. So I thought that was a good start, and continued on."
iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
Mazzitelli: "Apart for the one mentioned above, 'Silent Flesh', I have written a miniseries and now I am trying to convince HBO to take it. Because I am a hopeless optimist."
iFilmFestival: What role do film festivals play?
Mazzitelli: "HUGE! They really allow you to understand where you are... It is fundamental to reach out and meet your audience. Also, a strong festival result is your best ticket to work further as a director."
iFilmFestival: What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
Mazzitelli: "Not to be afraid of getting feedback from trusted sources in order to make the best of your film, and then to target the right festivals. And not to be sad of failures. Many may regret their choices afterwards. It's happened to me, too."
iFilmFestival: How do you see the future of film?
Mazzitelli: "Curated television programming."
iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
Mazzitelli: "Oh... too many! Good directresses are those who make me feel most involved. Bad ones those that make me most angry!"
iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
Mazzitelli: "'Slalom', 'Sweat', 'The Father'."
Thank you Monica for answering our questions!
Interview by iFilmFestival on 18 February 2021