Interview with Luigi Pastore

LouisLuigi Pastore, the Italian director of Come una Crisalide, pauses to talk with us about his filmmaking journey. After his first feature film Come una crisalide, Luigi is currently busy with his new project Una lacrima dipinta di nero, a thriller film in pre-production.

A: Who is Luigi Pastore?

B: I am a small businessman, family man, with a passion for film.

A: What drew you to the world of filmmaking?

B: When I was very young I was stunned to see a Super8 film projected on a white wall. It was something magical. Some time later I found a small hand-wound camera in the basement and spent a lot of time trying to understand how it worked. Once I understood its potential, I quickly equipped myself with a more modern camera, a semiprofessional projector, a small tape splicer, and a magnifying glass for editing.

A: What year do your first short films date back to?

B: I was 11 years old when I made my first short film, in which I involved family and friends. I remember that I tried to enact the story of a little girl ghost. But the lack of seriousness on the part of the actors irritated me to such an extent that I destroyed the film.

A: Which directors do you consider to be your Masters?

B: Without a doubt Dario Argento, it was his cinema that inspired me. But then I got to know other Italian auteurs who influenced my film tastes, such as Sergio Leone, as well as overseas directors like Aldrich, Hitchcock, Carpenter, just to name a few.

A: You collaborated in the making of The Stendhal Syndrome and Dario Argento's The Phantom of the Opera. What can you tell us about these experiences? How did they mark you?

B: Stendhal Syndrome was my first film set. I was lucky enough to be able to attend two weeks of filming. Dario was very kind to host me and let me shoot a little backstage.
It was a great experience, which spurred me a few months later to make a new short film with more commitment and more professionalism. I had seen with my own eyes how filmmaking was done and was determined to take that path seriously.
A few years later, while Dario Argento was already shooting The Phantom of the Opera, I learned of a problem with a location. The Aggtelek caves were no longer working, because the inner lake had dried up. So I volunteered to look for a similar location in Italy, and after an initial attempt with the Zinzulusa cave in Puglia, I arrived at the Pertosa caves in the Salerno area.
I gave the production the images I had shot and, a few days later, I went back to the site together with set designer Antonello Geleng to take new, more detailed shots, just on Dario's instructions.
From that moment on, I found myself involved in the process, agreeing to shoot backstage even though I was uncredited.

A: In 2002, you founded Lu.Pa. Film (an independent television and film production company). Can you give us a summary of these 12 years of activity?

B: It has been a very intense 12 years, very hard even, but one that has never made me stop believing in what I do. I wanted to name this small business after myself, playing with the initials of my first and last name, precisely because it reflects my choice of professional life.

In my work, I have been accustomed to various technical roles, and I still carry this wealth of experience gained in the field, where, however, there is always room to store more.
I am very curious about everything to do with this craft, not only the artistic aspect, but especially all the possibilities that technology makes available today.

A: Since 2010 you have been the creator and artistic director of the Italian Horror Fest. Are you satisfied with the result achieved? Do you plan to continue to offer fans and insiders an increasingly interesting festival full of outstanding guests?

B: I believe that the Italian Horror Fest City of Neptune has now become one of the major Italian festivals dedicated to our genre cinema. It is a festival that exists thanks to the foresight of a young mayor, Dr. Alessio Chiavetta, who is a great fan of this cinema and understands its cultural value. This is precisely why we try every year to offer the public a week of meetings with the authors who have contributed to making our cinematography known throughout the world, as well as always inviting an international star who is in some way connected to our cinema.
I am very satisfied with the result achieved and look forward to continuing to organize new and more exciting editions.

A: How did the collaboration with screenwriter Antonio Tentori for your debut film Like a Chrysalis (Symphony in Blood Red) come about?

B: I am bound to Antonio by a deep friendship. I started with him to write my first screenplay, back in 1999. Over the years we have had the opportunity to collaborate on various projects, including a beautiful documentary-testament by director Rino Di Silvestro.
Perhaps it was that experience that united us even more professionally, in fact soon after that we decided to produce Like a Chrysalis.

A: How was this film received in Italy? And abroad? Are you satisfied with the result?

B: It took a while to arrive in Italy. It's a film that I suffered a lot because it took a long time before it found the attention of a distribution. Then, after it was released in Germany, things changed and audiences started to get to know the film. Then in Italy it was distributed by Sinister for Cecchi Gori Home Video and in 2014 it will be released in the U.S. by Troma.
It is a film that has divided critics and audiences, some liking it while others dislike it.
I can only love it, it is my first film, but I am sure I could do even better.

A: Come una crisalide is the work that draws inspiration from the Italian thriller particularly that of Dario Argento. Serial killer's modus operandi, music (Simonetti himself is present together with Daemonia in a short sequence shot in a disco) and special effects by Sergio Stivaletti elevate your film to a true homage to Dario Argento's cinema. What can you tell us about this intentional reinterpretation of the Italian thriller-horror of pure Argento-esque style?

B: As you say it is a real homage. Before we even shot it I asked Dario Argento for permission to be able to use the line from his film Tenebre, explaining that it was our intention to dedicate the film to him. He replied that he would decide only after seeing it, and so it was.

A: What do you say to those who accuse you of tracing the glories of the Roman director without affixing a clear matrix of your own?

B: That they have not seen the film carefully, because Dario Argento himself said in the documentary that the film is not only a sincere homage to his cinema, but that it has its own personality and poetry.

A: In Like a Chrysalis the viewer sees through the eyes of the killer. Why this choice?

B: In reality, you never clearly see the face of the killer. This is a choice I strongly wanted already from the conception of the story. For me it was not crucial to understand who the killer was, but why he had become such. I wanted to make him look more like a victim than an executioner, without granting any possibility of identification.

A: A Tear Painted Black is the title of your new thriller. Is the title tentative or is it the final one? Can you give us some anticipation about this upcoming work of yours? When will it be ready?

B: It's a screenplay that has been locked in the drawer for 15 years. It was my first screenplay, but it was also my first collaboration with Antonio Tentori. Unfortunately, it was a very expensive film to make and I had not yet gained all the technical and production experience that I have gained over the years. So I thought it was time to make it, relying also on a much more advanced technology that really allows you to optimize costs today.
Also today there is this possibility of crowdfunding, which works well abroad but still finds some resistance in Italy. However, I too wanted to launch a fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com, aimed at fans of films of this genre and supporters who with small offerings can help increase the film's budget, in exchange for rewards.

A: Why the choice of this wonderful title?

B: I am glad that the title is finding positive endorsements, although I asked Maestro Castellari to tell me honestly if it is more of a "Sti cazzi!" or "Mei cojoni!" title for him. He replied that there is some risk of it being "Sti cazzi!", however, he also told me that he would be pleased if I wrote him a cameo.
I let you imagine what immense joy this request of his has given me, which, of course, I will not let go of. In fact, I can't wait to shoot his scene!

A: Is the online casting section for this upcoming work of yours still active?

B: Yes, of course. It will be active until mid-February. Then I will start the convocations. I'm a big believer in collaborations and I like to surround myself with enthusiastic people. I like to experience the set as a party, where everyone has fun doing what they do. Of course, there is no shortage of tense moments, complications, adrenaline running high, and unexpected events, but it's all part of the game.

A: What are your future plans?

B: I was actually preparing another film, a beautiful but at the same time very cruel love story. I met a Japanese producer in Germany who was willing to produce it, but it is still a premature project and I will talk about it in due time.

A: Tell us about your taste in film, what do you consider to be the best Italian and foreign directors who have made film history? What are the best films?

B: There are indeed many Italian directors who have made film history. Just as equally fundamental are the foreign records that have left an indelible mark. But if I really have to say only one name and the title of a film, then I have no doubt: Sergio Leone and his absolute masterpiece "Once Upon a Time in America." It is a film that I deeply love and that always moves me every time I watch it.

A: What do you think about this interview?

B: That I was very pleased and I hope I answered all the questions adequately.

A: Add a message addressed to the DarkVeins community!

B: Dear friends of DarkVeins, I am really happy to be here with you. The beauty of this profession is also to share emotions and get together, exchange opinions and benefit from criticism as well. I don't know if I will be worthy of continuing this filmmaking journey of mine, maybe I don't deserve it, but I will strive to always do it with great honesty and passion as long as I have the strength to do so.
I thank you for taking the time to read this interview of mine, and if you would like, please continue to follow me because this will give me even more strength to move forward. Thank you all.

A: Thank you Luigi!

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Barbara Torretti
Barbara Torretti
Editor and moderator of the DarkVeins community. Passionate about horror cinema, I also do reviews and interviews pertaining to the film, music and art circuit.

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