You probably remember Oliver Astrologo from his film Moments of Puglia, where he paid homage to his beautiful country. Now, he’s back with a new film, this time taking us along through the canals of Venice and the secret communities that lie therein.
How long were you in Venice for and why did you decide to go?
We filmed during the first two weeks of August, although the planning, location scouting, and permit releases started four months before. I couldn’t have been more thrilled and honored when Caovilla asked me to make a video tribute to a city I love. I grabbed the opportunity straight away, knowing they had the resources to allow me to show the city from a new perspective, far from the common tourist videos.
What was your inspiration behind making this film?
More than inspiration, it was a personal challenge. I knew that this city had been filmed a lot, and the idea of being able to make my own short film with the support of such a great shoe brand was very inspiring.
Venice is a very photographer/filmed city, how did you go about capturing it in your own unique style without making it look cliched?
I consumed a lot of films and photo works prior to writing the script – this really helped me identify recurring visual elements. The two that stood out the most were: The Venetian people as a whole, and the city itself. It was all about the local culture and people, not the tourists for me.
What about Venice inspires you?
It’s amazing how every detail of this city is beautiful and well maintained. Everywhere you turn there’s something unique to photograph. Most of my inspiration came from Venetian people. For example, I found the Rialto Fish Market really interesting, especially because it’s such an integral part of the city and it has managed to remain untouched by influences from mass tourism.
How long did it take you to film this?
The project took a month of shooting, editing and designing. I collaborated with a lot of artists for the soundtrack that you hear in the video.
During the trip, what were 3 of your favorite experiences to capture and why?
- The Inside of Luigi Bevilaqua’s weaving shop, which has been around since 1700 and is now officially recognized as part of The Group of Historical Companies of Italy. They still use the original chassis and machines to make fine velvets.
- The interior of the historical costume and tailoring shop of Nicolao Atelier, ( in a few scenes in the video there is a mask that walks with a original costume from the play Rigoletto). From 1980 this boutique exports costumes all over the world, they serve as a great example of Italian craftsmanship.
- A ride on a gondola! It’s a bit of a tourist attraction, but I think it’s definitely a once in a life-time experience.
Being Italian, i’m sure you know Venice very well, what were some surprising things you learned while making this film?
It’s a bit weird, but coming into this project I knew very little about Venice. I was lucky enough to come here once for a holiday, but I never really got to experience life as a Venetian. I was surprised to discover a small, hidden world made of artisans and artists that have survived unchanged over centuries, beneath all of the tourism. They remain faithful to their traditions, which allowed me to see the city as it once was, long ago.
What were some of the biggest challenges you face while making this film?
Venice is obviously one of the most famous destinations in the world, meaning that there are constantly tourists everywhere. I would wake up everyday at dawn to get a chance to film the city “naked” of visitors. Also, the city is structured along canals, making it very difficult to get from one place to another without using a boat. The crazy thing is that Venice doesn’t have street traffic, it has boat traffic!
Tell us more about the father/son craftsmen aspect of this film. How did you find them and what inspired you to tell their story?
I researched artisans and learned of the Remer, a manufacturer of oars and oarlocks. There are only four of them left in Venice. This really inspired the narrative of the story for my film. The idea of passing down craftsmanship for generations is something that has always inspired me.
What was your editing process like, did you have a narrative in mind when piecing the film together?
It wasn’t easy. Months prior to the making of the video, we contacted several people from Venice to help us secure locations for filming. We researched the artisans online and drew up the shot list and schedule. Getting everything together was challenging.
While we were in Venice we also came up with new ideas (like the ballerina), which added to what we had already put in place. Once we had all of the footage, we went through the long process of selecting what would make it into the film. Some of the material was excellent, some wasn’t, but we had the flexibility to form the narrative of the film as time went on. Unlike my previous videos, I wanted something that was much slower with more connection between images. The transitions I used on previous videos are less focused in the present, with the past almost overshadowing.