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IFH 492: Directing and Selling Beckett to Netflix with Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
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We're getting deep into the weeds on Italian director and screenwriter, Ferdinando Cito Filomarino American cinema debut film, Beckett, which I absolutely enjoyed! Beckett stars the incomparable John David Washington and Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander. This action thriller follows an American tourist (Beckett) who had been in a tragic car accident in Greece and suddenly finds himself at the center of a dangerous political conspiracy and on the run for his life. He sets to reach the USA embassy to clear his name. Elements of romance and questions of political power are rolled up into a 90-minute manhunt. Beckett's world premiere was at the Aug 2021 74th Locarno Film Festival and is now distributed exclusively on Netflix. Filomarino talks about the cultural diversity on set - having seven languages spoken. I assume that would include, English, Italian, Greek, Swedish, etc. I was fascinated by the film’s meticulously crafted visual elements and screenplay. Filomarino’s work may be new to American screens, but he’s gained notoriety in European cinema directing or writing on films like The Other Man, Academy award-winning 2017, coming-of-age romantic drama, Call Me by Your Name (Second Unit Director). The story sets in a 1980s rural Northern Italy --- romance blossoms between a seventeen-year-old Jewish Italian, Elio, and a 24-year-old research assistant, Oliver, who’s living with the family over the summer to help Elio’s father, archaeology professor with his academic paperwork. Filomarino shadowed Call Me By Your Name's director, Luca Guadagnino while working the second unit on the film and forge a good professional relationship which led to a collaboration in 2010. He was fortunate to have Luca produce his directorial debut, Diarchy in 2010. Diarchy is a Locarno and Sundance Film Festival award-winning short film. Giano and Luc are traveling through the woods when a storm breaks, forcing them to take shelter in Luc's villa. Gradually and insidiously, a competition emerges between them, with terrible consequences. We also chatted about Richard Eyre's, The Other Man, fresh out of university, and how that experience prepared him for his own films. We know that experience is the best teacher, so I am always down for hearing knowledge bombs filmmakers learn from other filmmakers in this line of business. Sort of like an unofficial masterclass. Go watch Beckett! But first, enjoy my conversation with Ferdinando Cito Filomarino.