For over twenty years, Maurizio Mistretta has been a director, screenwriter and actor in several films, documentaries and plays. He trained artistically first in Bologna, then in Pisa where he was artistic director of a company of actors held in the Don Bosco prison in Pisa. He has developed projects in public and private schools in Italy and in Thailand, refugee camps, juvenile prisons and much more. He currently lives most of the time in Bangkok where he founded his production company All Soul Production and is the artistic director of the Italian Film Festival in Bangkok and the Dante Alighieri association.
Maurizio Mistretta has collaborated with Sandro Calvani on the writing of the screenplay “Gaudium – La profezia della coca”, published by Bertoni Editore on January 23rd 2018. Since last summer, Maurizio Mistretta has been busy shooting some scenes of the film.
We asked him some questions to find out more about this compelling story and challenging project.
His first meeting with Sandro Calvani and Gaudium: what struck you in this story?
There have been several preliminary meetings with Sandro Calvani and in the most varied circumstances. In almost all these occasions Sandro proposed to me the idea of developing a subject and writing a screenplay on this unknown universe, which started and developed from the coca plant and its centuries-old history in the Andes. Finally we met only to talk about this project of which I still could not grasp the many possibilities. I then took a week to understand better, with Sandro bringing me scientific and historical materials. In him there was a fortuitous request that the final product had a broad scope, come, intelligently, to as many people as possible. There was no story yet, this is the thing that attracted me the most, but many stories some real and belonging to a historical past strongly evocative for us Italians, others less visible that intertwined and changed the global dynamics, until today. We just had to write the story, and Gaudium was born.
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What are the strengths of this film production from your point of view?
I love stories with rich contents and unwritten endings. This is a story that we read every day in the newspapers, but it started 4,000 years ago. Let’s say that it will be difficult to annoy the viewer and we can keep it attached to the screen for a long time, whether the final format is filmic or serial. If a film has such characteristics, it is easy to predict sequels even in crescendo. For the series, if we want, it is even simpler.
Currently Gaudium is in the hands of different international production houses. Tell us which ones are most interested?
We have some American producers who are studying the situation. Everyone is interested in a new product. But diversity attracts and rejects at the same time. Here in Thailand it is easier to interact with Hollywood, which often uses Thailand as a location for some films or parts of it. I would like to start to have some feedback also from Europe, starting from Italy where, on paper, we have to shoot a lot.
You have already shot some scenes, chosen actors and locations. Can you explain the reasons for these choices?
A few weeks ago we found ourselves having a small budget available to shoot some scenes. I did not want to make a trailer, as I often start, when I think it should end instead. So I wrote four scenes for a teaser, which are not even in the script, and we looked for a location that would allow us to shoot everything in one day, however, wanting to shoot with high standards. It was a successful simulation, since we shot almost 10 minutes in one day with actors often at the first experience. The choice of location was the hardest thing anyway and we were lucky that a local production company organized the troupe at very low cost. This teaser, however, was also possible thanks to the talent of the director of photography, Niccolò De la Fere, who is also one of the producers of Gaudium
She has been living outside Italy for a long time and has been a professional in the field for many years; tell us what do you think the limits and potentials of film production in Italy and the main differences with the opportunities that the foreigner has given and could reserve to Gaudium?
I struggle to answer this question because I came to Thailand when it was still filmed. I have never dealt with cinema in Italy except for some documentaries that have been made on some of my theatrical operations quite extreme, like my work in the Pisa prison. Being a theater person and living in the province, coming into contact with the world of cinema was very problematic. In Thailand I continued my theatrical activity, but it was the community of local actors (expat and Thai) that brought me closer to this world as this is a source of work and income for them. Digital, meanwhile, has provided some facilities for experimenting with its potential to engage in this new language. I started almost by accident, but I must say that I enjoy it a lot and the results are very encouraging.
Well, you just have to invite you to consult the link on Gaudium if you want to know more:
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Dhebora Mirabelli is a legal project manager as well as a lawyer specializing in administrative law and protection of human rights.
An expert on equal opportunities, social business and corporate social responsibility, she has worked for over fifteen years as managerial coordination of European projects at the Agency for Digital Italy, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry for the Protection of the Environment, the Earth and the Sea, the Directorate for Cooperation and Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc. on the themes of social inclusion, social responsibility, protection of human and environmental rights.
He graduated in business law at the Luiss Guido Carli in Rome, the first level degree in Manager of Development and Cohesion Policies at the University of Parma, the II level Master in Engineering for Public Administrations at the University of Parma. University of Rome Tor Vergata and the Master’s Degree of Executive Business Administration (MBA) at the Graduate Business School of the MIP-Politecnico of Milan, deepening his studies in the international course held at the Tonjii University School of Management in Shanghai, the Audencia Nantes Ecole de Management and the Coppead UFRJ of Rio de Janeiro.
He is a member of the coordination of the national DESC on the Economic and Social Rights of Amnesty International since 2015. Slow Food member. Support of the projects in Africa of the “La Terra di Piero” Association and of the initiatives against the mafia of the “Gli Amici di Goel” volunteers association.
He has edited several sections of online publications, among the most important: https://immigrazione.west-info.eu/; http://www.socialchangeschool.org/it/tag/blog-fatto-quotidiano/; http://www.spiritoleader.it/category/csr-mip/
He has published a book of fairy tales and African photographs “Pole Pole: fairy tales and colors of Tanzania” devolving the proceeds to build a school in Tanzania. Born in Rende, she lived in Sydney recently returned to Italy.