Luca Centoni

Born in Tuscany in the town of Livorno, Italy, he started as photographer at the age of 12th and grew up as filmmaker since 20 years old. He directed 89 documentary movies and 8 Television series for the Italian National & Private TV (Rai - Mediaset - Tele+) and distributed on several international networks including SKY, BBC 1, France 2, FOX TV, Amazon Prime Video. In 2019 he resumed directing three new documentary movies plus a mini TV series actually in production "Templars", composed of 5 episodes.

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
Actually I have entered three documentaries, two episodes of a mini Tv series ("Templars") and one stand alone short.  So one of the episodes is "The Sinclair Legacy" filmed in Scotland ad England and a little part in Italy and in the Principality of Seborga. The other episode is "Gudrid the Fair" filmed in Iceland and USA that tells a very original true documented story about a Viking explorer lady who settled in North America in 1021 A.D. giving birth to the very first European in that land. Finally the short is "San Pietro Island" that is about the westernmost island of Italy.

What are your ambitions with your project?
Well right now it is all about participating to important film festivals like yours. Meanwhile these works are already on air in Amazon Prime Video USA & UK.

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
It's always a different surprise each single time as being specialized in documentaries allows me to find out different subjects, formats and ways to tell a story. So it's pretty various and attractive to me even after I made already 89 docs-films in 38 years of activity.

For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
There are two different groups of spectators of my works. The ones attracted by travels, those who like historical culture and then both of things.

Why should distributors buy your film?
Because normally my works are liked by the audience, indeed this is why they have been all aired in Tv networks in Europe and USA.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
My films typically have a good cinematography and sense of the importance for the quality of sequence's photography. I am also the film editor of them all and this gives me a great direct creativity about the rhythm and the sound.

The film editing is the other half of my job that I compared to when you cook in the kitchen the ingredients you have available regardless. Once again every time is a different result but always well cooked or in this specific field well edited.

Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
Because I started as photographer at 12 years old when my mother started her portrait photography activity. Then at 20 years old, after I have traveled worldwide with her and my father making still pictures, I decided that it was not enough for me. Being a music lover and a movies addicted I decided to give the pictures a movement with sound. Two years later in 1987 I assembled the first video studio making the editing of my very first documentary "Discovering Queensland" filmed in video tape. It became a VHS cassette sold with the magazine in Italy. Right after in 1988 I filmed in 16mm a series around the world. I had to wait 1990 to edit it and once again sell it in the bookstores as 5 cassettes VHS all together with the series title "Dimensione Oceano". By then until today I have made 89 works and 8 Tv series.

Who is your role model?
Various Italian and English documentarists along my career. I have been lucky to know Folco Quilici in Italy at the Travel Tv station "Marcopolo" in Roma.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
Speaking about fiction movies there are severals like Big Wednesday, Once Upon in America, Nine Hundreds, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, for the way they speak about friendship. Also I love well done biographical films and true stories. But in general I like any kind of movie if it's well done, acted and possibly with a decent cinematography and soundtrack.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
To be honest I do mostly own my own. It can come out from a personal format idea, from a book or from an untold true story.

Which topics interest you the most?
Travels, Food, Culture, History, remote Geography, stories never filmed before and so on.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
First of all to have been lucky to do what I liked most in my life, then to see even children watching my works even if they were not designed specifically on them. Participate in prestigious festivals like yours and finally something that I have still to reach which is number 100, like the meaning of my last name.

What do you consider most important about filming?
To make something artistically attractive telling a story without the audience gets bored.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I do not think there is a best technique as all of them can be attractive if the job is properly done. The experiments and innovations can go together with the past if the basic rules and aims are respected.

15. How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
There are valid innovations that are coming out and documentaries are now much more affordable that in the past. One of the things that I really don't like are the filming vertically with the cell phone, the extremely short reels that are in the social networks, the fake Tv reality shows, the ignorance about the filming basic grammar, a bad soundtrack, a bad audio mixing and all related to the final quality. Today the technology gives a lot of great chances to create a decent basic work even with a little money available. Fiction movies luckily still require a good team of numerous professional specialists.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
If it's boring and with a terrible image and sound quality.

Who supports you in your film career?
There have been several steps and changes. It was and still might be like a rollercoaster. I started 38 years ago thanks to my parents, though they wanted me to be an attorney so I studied law at the University, but then my uncle a psychiatric doctor told me also to continue about my works and before him at the college a professor of philosophy predicted exactly what I would have done. In my Italian high school me and my classmates also filmed a theatrical scene about "Waiting for Godot". Ever since many other supports came out like various national and international Tv networks. I have just interrupted to make documentaries from 2006 to 2019 doing the journalist because my ex wife separated and then divorced. As she was a Tv actress and the main subject of some of my Tv series I had to do something totally different. In 2012 I moved from Italy to USA with my son of 11 years. Then in 2018 he told me to restart my old job filming and distributing on the Tv Stream network. So I did it. In USA I have now made seven films and a mini series, "Templars", since then. Now approaching to make a new Tv series " A & F " Amy & Francesca a Gourmet and Wine Story.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Generally good. One of my films "Templars The Da Vinci Code Secrets" released on Amazon Prime Video USA & UK in 2020 during the pandemic totalized over 6 millions of visions, therefore we decided to create a mini series of five episodes, and now two of them are in your Film festival. On Prime Video the reviews were good, too. Friends and family also like my works. My greatest satisfaction is to work, when he can, with my son who is a student of business administration in an American University. He is a great drone cinematographer and most of the quality of the last 3 episodes is because of him.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Yes in my career I had so far 12 nominations and one winning.

What are your future plans in filmmaking carriere?
When I will reach documentary number 100 I will retire giving space to the Youngers.

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