Director: Andrea Lodovichetti
Writer: Andrea Lodovichetti & Luca Caprara
Featuring: Umberto Uliva, Nicola Gaggi (voice), Michela Ermini (voice)
Synopsis: Hauntingly beautiful documentary profiling the fishermen who sail out of small ports in Italy to face the challenges of the oceans – and who would not have it any other way. Bringing in the day’s catch is a hard, tough life, but they face the challenges with admirable fortitude.
With The Southend-on-Sea Film Festival will be returning once again from 26th – 29th May, I got an opportunity to ask Co-Writer-Director Andrea Lodovichetti a few questions about the film ‘PESCAMARE’ which has been selected to play at the festival on Sunday 29th May at 11 am.
Q. What can we expect from the film?
A. I’d say… a little movie and a big dream for its author (s)! PESCAMARE is based on a simple point that everybody should stop for a while and start watching what we all have in front of our eyes. Something we take for granted, something “not important”, something that “is there but who cares?”. But we should care. Because it’s part of our roots, our past, our blood. The Fishermen in this case, in “my” case, are just the witnesses, the repositories of a set of values that we tend to forget in life. Something that we should take by hand in the most beautiful way on our daily journey.
Q. How did the idea for the film come about?
A. Having returned from NYC to Italy, from 2016 to 2018 I went through times of intense activity and stretches of quiet. And sometimes, that quiet period started to weigh me down. So, since I was being a little stuck, I started thinking of something I had always wanted to do. Something I would have never done otherwise, cause something contingent had always taken me away from that. And then, I finally made it and it was this movie, PESCAMARE. I wanted to make this documentary as a sign of affection for my roots, but above all for the bond that every human being should maintain with traditions. The movie is about my hometown, Fano, which is located on the Adriatic Sea, in center-east Italy. And it’s about the fishermen. Some people tend to say that nowadays the fishing industry in small towns is dead. But it’s not. Nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed. The ports of small towns are yes, different, since they have deeply changed over the years. But it’s wrong to claim that something, once change occurs, is dead. With PESCAMARE I tried to go well beyond the borders of Fano, and I think the movie proves an unconditional love for the sea, as such, and for the people that live with it, at it, for it. Tradition will not perish, as long as we can hear… those voices. Yes, because there are still fishermen over there, who work today with the same strength and passion as in the past despite everything.
Q. What was the process for bringing the footage for the film together and how long did it take to complete?
A. The production / shooting was very long and arduous. It took us about nine months, more or less. We were aware of the difficulties but, honestly speaking, it’s been a little more tiring than expected. Being on the high seas for days in the cold and maybe rough seas with cameras and all the filming equipment is not really an easy thing. We have always shot with 3 cameras (mine, the DOP’s and the operator’s), and we ended up with a large amount of great footage that took us up to three months to be reviewed and edited. We have the stuff for chapter two! Although some changes have occurred, I have always been faithful to a principle that have led me in showing the soul of “my” fishermen: both during the shooting and the editing I have imagined what their life would be from the other side, water beings that leave to come to their beloved ones and then going back immediately after towards an endless space that swallows them up again; no more men on the foreshore contemplating the sea in front of them, but rather unsteady sailors wishing for the land to embrace them.
Q. Whilst researching for the film, did you find out anything unexpected?
A. Every day was a sort of discovery of the world I was trying to tell and also of myself. I have spent years in research, resuming from dusty drawer tons of pages written in more than twenty years: I have always been very attached to my roots and to the fishing industry of my hometown. It was a long and nice job. I rediscovered stuff that I didn’t even remember having; I reread notes and anecdotes that I had forgotten, I dusted off pictures and items that were part of me but that had been blackened by time. The research, the second part of which was done together with Luca Caprara (the co-screenwriter), has been the first marvelous step of a very deep journey.
Q. Did the film change at all during the filming process?
A. Although I always had a very clear idea about this film since the very beginning, as it often happens on projects like this, yes: definitely something has changed. But I would say a “modulation” rather than a change. Since some aspects have come up during the shooting, in the editing process they naturally flowed into the narrative. I think that in order to have an authentic documentary you have to consider that everything takes form in the editing room – not before. Only in that phase you realize what exactly your footage, the world you’re trying to talk about, is made of. And exactly in that moment you have to start rethinking your film. Keeping anchored to the project as it was on paper is a bad thing and a “dangerous” naiveté: a real limitation that could address you to the loss of great creative and artistic opportunities.
Q. What were your favorite moments whilst making the Film?
A. All the development of PESCAMARE was kind of magic. And a deep exploration into ourselves as well. From the script to the final sound mix. We have spent weeks together with the fishermen, “savoring” their silences, their curses, the sweat of their toil. We have shared with them the food, our dreams, their memories… some embarrassed tears. We have been fishermen ourselves, for a while. We have entered into symbiosis with the strain of all these people and their bad tempers… only apparently bad. We have also realized a few special aspects of our city, some unknown shades about our people that we would never have expected. I’m sure none of us will forget this experience.
Q. Did you experience any issues whilst making the film?
A. I’d say no, thank God – or whoever for Him. Notwithstanding that, as all of us know, when you’re about to shoot a movie, you know your starting point, but you don’t know if and how you will get to the end of your journey. But from the very beginning I knew that we were a great team: I succeed with this project thanks to the guys who worked with me, night, and day, in the sun and rain, on land or far out at sea. It is an outstanding group of friends and professionals I shared the soul of the project with, and of whom I am sincerely proud.
Q. What do you hope people will take away from the film
A. I hope the audience understands the importance of the little-big things we often underestimate, like roots. Every country in the world with its people is something beautiful; traditions are a sacred thing, a moral heritage received from our ancestors to be transmit to the younger generations. A few but crucial concepts are at the core of this work: remembering is necessary. Legitimizing is important. Hoping is human. And dreaming is never childish.
Q. Do you have any other projects which you are working on?
A. Yes, of course I do, since I’m sure that rolling stones gather no moss! A couple of years ago I had completed two screenplays for feature movies. A noir and a dramedy, “Those who remain” and “Grand control to Major Tom”. Then the COVID-19 came over and all the industry stopped working in an ordinary way. So then, I have rolled my sleeves again and started (just 8 months ago) the development, on paper, of another old project of mine, “Neighbors”, a documentary about the genocide in Rwanda and the Balkan wars, both tragic event of the nineties. And now the Ukraine conflict clearly shows that the worst things never end. Well, I also started working… on myself: we are living in strange days, and since we can’t give ourselves the luxury of whining, it means we all should work harder than before. Or, even better, let’s say with a different look; with a new, promising awareness.
Q. If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?
A. First and foremost, I don’t like that much the word “advice”. Rather than pretending to be an expert in anything, there’s one thing that I use to say very clearly to my class, at the University where I have a chair in film directing: keep feeding your Dream and never stop fighting. A lot of young filmmakers ask me for advice. Well, truth to be told in my life I read lots of articles, tutorials, books about how to become a filmmaker and being part of the industry. And I ended up with a simple lesson: we shouldn’t rely too much on advice and listen to ourselves carefully instead. By paraphrasing Francois Truffaut: film is capable of overcoming life’s imperfections; to make a film is to improve life: a movie has to be filmed by adventurers, not by technicians. By artists for whom film is an extraordinary and impassioned adventure. The film should be an act of love. The insight of the founding father of the French New Wave is no exaggeration. Personally, I will never be done thanking all the artists like him who helped me see the aesthetic, ideological, historical and – above all humane – value a film can have. In my modest opinion the point is one and it’s relentless: do you really feel the need to share something good for yourself and the audience? Yes? Cool: Definitely let’s keep going with your movie. Do you yearn for money, sport cars, a luxury villa with a swimming pool, a tennis courtyard and a bevy of models and actresses at your feet? Then, instead of film making, drug trafficking is maybe your way which I would not recommend it highly unless you feel comfortable seeing the world in stripes through bars instead of the viewfinder of a camera. Jokes aside: just spread your story, share your soul, don’t be cheap with your dreams. And as my Master, the Italian academy award-winner director Paolo Sorrentino I worked for in some of his movies used to say to me: “If you think you deserve something, don’t stand around wondering why they haven’t given it to you. Just go out and get it”.
Thanks a lot for your time and attention!
The Southend-on-Sea Film Festival runs from 26th – 29th
You can find out more about the end and purchase tickets on the website here: https://www.southendfilmfestival.com/
Published in various websites, Philip is a reviewer who is best known for his interviews and media coverage of independent projects including; films, books, theater and live events. Always on the lookout for something different to cover!
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