Filmmakers: Ivan Silvestrini

From Fellini to Benigni, Italian directors have been among the best for decades.  Our first Italian filmmaker is Ivan Silvestrini, who just released the “0th episode” (a prologue) of his first web series.  After 10 shorts and a feature film, he is diving into made-for-web content.  I interviewed Silvestrini over Skype to find out what made him choose the web series format.

CrewTide: What inspired you to create a web series?

Silvestrini: The main actor (who is also my co-producer) and I met to discuss what we would produce next.  We argued a lot, but in the end agreed that we thought the internet is going to beome the new TV soon, that it will completely replace the old TV in 5-10 years, so why not be pioneers (at least in Italy) in exploring the possibliities of this wonderful medium.  YouTube supports HD and you can get great images with today’s cameras, so the technical combination is there.

We came up with a character that was perfect for this actor — an emotional trainer who is an expert in existential blocks.  He deals with people who have existential blocks with a very anti-psychoanalytic approach, we call it “hurt therapy.”  The vertical line in the series is about his clients, who each have a different emotional problem. The horizontal line tells about his own complicated relationships.

CrewTide: How did you first start making films?

Silvestrini: At school I wanted to be a rock star, a heavy metal singer, but my voice was too low. Then I wanted to play guitar, but I got quite annoyed with it.  I love it, but it’s just not my thing.  I had to choose a major in college, so I chose film.  I had always loved the cinema but had never really studied it — it was at my university that I learned that it was what I wanted to do.  It allows me to mix my interests in music, photography, and telling stories.  I got the chance to attend Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.

CrewTide: I don’t know that school — where is it?

Silvestrini: It’s in Rome, it’s the oldest film school in Europe.  They only accept six directors per year out of about 500 who apply.  It’s a three-year program, you shoot a short film each year. The last film I did there was a high-budget short that cost about 100,000 Euros.  That short was seen by some producers looking for a director to do a feature film they had the script for, and I got to direct.  That project is still in post-production.

CrewTide: Sounds like you have a lot of projects — how do you spend your day?

Silvestrini: I wake up and I may have to write/edit/shoot/schedule shootings/rehearse or any combination of those, depending on the time of year. Right now I’m editing my first feature during the day, I have meetings before dinner, then I write after dinner.

CrewTide: Do you participate in competitions or festivals?

Silvestrini: I used to, with my short films. My first short, “The Beginner’s Guide to Self-Destruction,” won many prizes for best film and best actor, and so did my last one, “We Were Twenty,” which won outstanding award in Beijing and special mention in Cleveland International Film Festival plus local Italian prizes.  But I don’t believe in shorts anymore — if you have to produce short content you should write web series, it’s the natural evolution of short films.  It allows stories and characters to develop and create an affection that’s impossibile to achieve with short films.

Editor’s note: You can watch Episode 0 of Stuck here:

And keep up with their progress on their blog:


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