Angelo Donzella, born in Turin in 1964, is a director and actor. He began his career as an actor in 1993 and then turned to directing starting in 2020, with his first award-winning short film ISOLATION, directed together with Roberto Loiacono. Subsequently his major works were in 2022 the spy thriller JASMINE'S SUSPICION and then in 2023 the award-winning short film UNEASE. In the same year 2023 he made his latest medium-length film SURVEILLANCE, a "Spy Movie."a
A photography enthusiast since way back in 1982, he has brought his maniacal care for photography to his films. Since he is also a musician, the soundtrack has a decisive impact in his films; in fact, composer Paolo Cercato-who has worked with him for many years-has already won numerous soundtrack awards.
Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
My project is a "Spy Movie" dealing with a plot in which a general election candidate becomes involved. The plot, devoid of sensational action, takes place in a suspense thriller atmosphere, set mostly in the night.
What are your ambitions with your project?
I honestly never thought about what this film might bring; I made it simply out of love for the Spy Thriller genre, that is, a genre I had already experimented with a few years ago with one of my first short films called Jasmine's Suspicion.
Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
Considering that my film was made on a very low budget, I appreciated the willingness and passion of all the people who worked with me, from technicians to actors, dedicating part of their time to its making.
For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
This my Film is a product that aims for genre entertainment, has no particular message, and I believe it is suitable for those who like Spy Movie or thrillers with little action.
Why should distributors buy your film?
My film was made out of pure love for cinema; I have no ambition to sell it to distributors, but if it were to happen I would obviously be very happy. What might strike a distributor is the originality of the film, which is devoid of action-unlike the films in vogue today-and has a constant tension.
How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
The first 7 minutes of the filming are without dialogue. The result is made enjoyable thanks to the excellent work done by my composer Paolo Cercato, who has already worked with me on the soundtrack of my previous Short Film Unease. Paolo and I have known each other for a very long time, many years ago we played together in the same music band. Paolo and I understand each other very much and the soundtrack represents the soul of my films thanks to his help. I also want , to mention the composer of the song "Surveillance" from the end credits, Mark Meccoli, with whom I recently started a new collaboration
In Surveillance, I opted for the risky choice - to almost never use stage lights (except in very few moments), both indoors and outdoors and especially at night. We relied on the choice of locations and lights on location, and during the day, we took advantage of natural light. I wanted the locations to be perceived by the audience for what they really were, without altering the atmosphere. My video operator Sergio Milani was a guarantee in this regard, as he was very meticulous in all aspects
Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
I started working as an actor, then over the years my passion for filmmaking took over. I wanted to be a director as filmmaking, along with music, is one of my passions. I love making movies and music-I am also a guitarist.
Who is your role model?
The directors I love most are Michael Mann and David Ficher, although I could mention many others such as Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, Jim Jarmusch.......
Which movies are your favorites? Why?
My favorite films, which I watch often, are The Heat, M. Mann's Collateral, Sydney Pollack's Three Days of the Condor, Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, Bryan De Palma's first Mission Impossible, the Bourne saga, and then also the TV series 24 and Homeland, and many others...
Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
For my films I draw inspiration from other Films or Directors I love, many of whom I have mentioned above.
Which topics interest you the most?
I love mystery plots, characterized by intrigue that is gradually revealed. For example, I love M. Night Shyamalan's early films, with those unsettling endings. I also love films that feature plots and undercover investigations. From the latter I drew inspiration for Surveillance.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
At the moment, I would say that the amazing results and numerous awards won in many film festivals with my previous short film UNEASE (which deals with a social problem by exploiting a mystery plot) is the biggest achievement I have made. I am also proud of the many awards I received as best actor with one of my first directorial works, 2020's ISOLATION, made in collaboration with director Roberto Loiacono.
What do you consider most important about filming?
I think film photography matters a lot in filming. I like to take care of it in detail and scrupulously. Another key element is care in acting, when this is possible, but of course it depends on the actors you have. In Surveillance I was very pleased with everyone.
Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I prefer the old directorial style, the manic attention to framing, the cinematography. I don't really like the constantly moving camera (as it's used now), the movement has to serve the narrative and not be mere virtuosity for its own sake. I made an exception with Surveillance, where I used a less satirical technique because I wanted to experiment with something new.
How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
Unfortunately, current cinema does not hold a candle to cinema of the past; there are very few exceptions. As I said, in my opinion there is too much thought today about virtuosity and spectacle and not enough about the substance of the narrative and the product. However, I find some independent films to be real gems.
What can disappoint you in a movie?
I am often disappointed by films that have an uninteresting narrative at their base. In my opinion, the screenplay and the story remains the most important thing, more than the technique, regardless of the genre.
Who supports you in your film career?
My wife is my real strength, she writes the scripts, acts and produces our works with me. Inspired by simple ideas and directions from me, she often manages to accomplish many things
What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Friends and family members who had a chance to see Surveillance were pleasantly impressed. What they liked was the tension that characterizes, especially, the final part of the film. For the time being and as long as it participates in festivals, the film will not be shown publicly.
Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Surveillance has already participated in some Film Festivals, with excellent results.
What are your future plans in filmmaking carriere?
If I am fortunate enough to find a production willing to believe in us, My next project is a feature film in the mystery and new age genre, a screenplay by my wife Maria Rosaria Scicchitano with the working title "Un giorno qualunque qualcuno parlò" (“An ordinary day someone spoke”).