The success obtained by ‘La Terra Buona’, thanks to an unprecedented process of crowdfunding and word of mouth, allowed us to exchange thoughts with its director Emanuele Caruso, in order to discover how the idea came to mind for such a touching and unexpected film and about his future projects.
I would like to start by asking you whether it has been difficult to ‘join’ different stories during the writing of the script for: ‘La Terra Buona’?
Alfred Hitchcock used to say that a film is three things: “script, script and script”. I think a lot also depends on the actors, but I do agree with this thesis to a certain extent. A good film without a good script couldn’t exist. We worked on it for a year and a half during our free time, as there was no budget to allow us to be more dedicated. Therefore yes, it wasn’t that simple.
What attracted you towards the story of Father de Piccoli? Do you think that ‘La Terra Buona’ could have an influence on the destiny of his library?
I met Father Sergio when he was still alive. He emanated a peculiar kind of energy, both contagious and discreet. You didn’t feel judged by him, simply welcome. The idea of a film also telling his story started growing since the first time we met. I think that ‘La Terra Buona’ has highlighted the possible future of the library, though I’m not sure it will be enough to save it. I grow more and more surprised by institutions. Every time it seems we have reached the bottom, we manage to dig a bit more. It would be a real tragedy to lose that cultural pole, the dream, that good smell Father Sergio worked on throughout his life and left us as his inheritance.
The success of ‘La Terra Buona’ seems unstoppable, thanks to the word of mouth. What was it like to be at the core of such a huge crowdfunding process?
I always feel like I could have done more. The film went really well and will be projected until September, however even if we spent most of our physical and mental energies to release it, I still think we could have done better even if I don’t know how. It is true though that the word of mouth was totally unexpected and miraculous.
When introducing the film, you talk about a four year long work. What were the main differences – both in their genesis and the results – between ‘La Terra Buona’ and ‘E fu sera e fu mattina’?
To be honest the two films were produced in a similar way. They were both born from two projects nobody believed in in Italy and have been both brought onto the screen, with such mental sacrifices that often overcame the limits. The real big different was our budget, as we jumped from 70.000 euros for the first film to 195.000 for the second.
Can I ask you about the themes you would like to deepen in your future works?
I have three ideas in mind. Next summer I should start working on one of them. I am certain though that my experience of ‘cinema to the limit’ finishes here. From now on, we either find budgets that allow us to work without driving us crazy, or we’ll have to stop with such insane projects.