Edhel: the fantasy that blends with everyday life. Interview with director Marco Renda

1. Hi Mark, thank you for accepting my interview. Talk about Edhel very happy and success. How does it feel to occupy the podium at an event as important as the Giffoni Film Festival? 

I knew the Giffoni Film Festival as a child and get to the finalwas in itself, a great satisfaction. Once there, we realized thatthe audience responded well. We weren’t expecting and itwas even more exciting. Arriving seconds, behind a film ofSony and important American productions, which are placedafter us, it was really a great achievement. We tried anindescribable feeling.

2. Today we talk a lot about bullying, especially because of  insane bond, which often maintains with the world of theWeb and Social. What do you think about it? 

What’s going on today with the world of Social is a rather complex process, which has the power to amplify behaviors always existed, such as bullying. I happened to see videos, in which young girls were biting violently of their peers and thisgot me thinking. Usually we always talk about the kid made victim of mockery, excluded from the group. The female aspect of this phenomenon, it comes off more difficult, but it exists and is growing. This prompted me to want to tell astory, in which the main character was a girl.

3. Why did you choose this theme for your movie? 

Again, I’m just inspired by what I saw. There is no reference autobiographical. Remember being a kid more solitary than my peers. Simply, I had as a child, musical tastes, different hobbies  to other kids my age and this pushed me to stay sometimes aloof.

4. In the interview for Naples Today, it strikes me in particular a statement: talking about your penchant for the Fantasy genre, say that this and the reality, not enough for you. I wish I broadened this concept. 

The film is also known as Seventh Art, an art that has the ability to include, contain, any other. The cinema creates worlds and characters that in reality does not exist. So I wonder, why restrict my art to mere reproduction and interpretation of the facts that occur around me? It would belike having a car super handsome, fully equipped, fast, crazy and always walk with the first. I want to have the freedom to tell different worlds, to send a person on a planet that does not exist. Let me, cinema is its peculiarity. Why not use it?Even through the Fantasy, you can tell the most noble andprofound aspects of reality and you can improve yourself,make more sensitive than their views. In Italy there is a fixobvious to consider the fantasy genre, as a kind of first category. We tend to regard him as a kind of less, less noblethan others, but, I think it is a common place entirely unfounded. I include in this thought even the fantasy  literature. I find such as the Lord of the rings, a novel expressive and thick, like many novels based on social issues such as the family, crime, etc.

5. What value to attribute to the words imagination and creativity? 

I would like a third word, that is freedom. Where I can imagine a story, even before arriving on the set, script, I feel a great sense of freedom. I feel really free, only when my mind can travel far without restraint, without limits and, when this trip is transformed into something concrete like a movie and is able to give emotions to other people, the circle closes, everything comes back.

6. Among the film makers who have dealt with and dealing with the Fantasy genre, is there anybody in particular whom you’ve inspired?

The directors are dozens, but when we talk about Fantasy, rather than a completely invented version of the medieval flavor, I refer to the whole “spielberghian” strand of the late 1970s, early eighties, as it succeeds in creating the right mix of reality, relationship with the young and surreal, incarnated for example in the shape of an alien. I love all those directors who have been able to combine intimate, everyday stories of ordinary people, extraordinary elements, out of reality. Among younger directors, I remember Guillermo del Toro, who with the Labyrinth of the fauna, managed to do a wonderful operation. Here, I try to point out that I like Fantasy, but more than the pure genre, I love contaminations. I love when the two hemispheres, that of reality, drama, and imagination meet. Edhel, in fact, has surreal elements, along with other real and tangible things.

7. Always in your interview with Napoli Today, state that cinema is the place where you can express who you really are. When did you find your passion for the cinema? Is there anyone who has addressed you, encouraged to follow that path and today would like to thank you?

It’s a bit hard question. Hard why, my father failed last year, suddenly. What I can say is that my parents were my first fans and if at 17 I decided to be the director, it’s because since I was little, I went to the cinema with my dad. He had no connection with the environment, he was simply Keen on it. When I was five, I was given the VHS Star Wars trilogy. That was surely the beginning.

8.  We know that production of Fantasy in Italy is rather complicated. Although it is a genre used by a broad and transversal audience, and sci-fi films produced in other countries, they are a success, we are not competitive. What would you suggest to change that fact?

I would like to emphasize that I have found a brave production, the Vinians, who decided to invest in my project. Many of the productions in Italy, however, lack courage. They move by following a habitual and safe way to reduce the risks to the minimum. The reasons for my point of view are two: the first is the justification, aware that the Fantasy genre requires very high budget availability. Obviously we can not compete with a continent like America, it is a fact that we can never invest such high budget. There is more than this, a second reason, which is not justified. I mean. It is not true that they always serve exorbitant figures to make a Fantasy. You can build such a movie, even by inserting few special effects and structural elements.

9 . We travel a bit with the imagination (so much to stay on the subject): if you were at this moment, the opportunity to invest in a project in total freedom, such as myth, story, fairy tale, would you like to tell?

I have it, but I do not want to reveal the idea. No doubt, I would do the Edhel series.

10. Are you already working on it?

I’m developing a serious subject, but I do not say anything else by accident. I’m expecting the exit in the halls and the audience’s response.

11. Can we say that the protagonists of your movie are teenagers?

In fact no. Within the story film a generational clash, a difficult relationship between a mother in difficulty (played by actress Roberta Mattei) and her daughter Edhel (Gaia Forte),  to the death of her father. The third ring, the one behind Edhel on Fantasy Road, is the nerd bunny, a 20-year-old boy, a bit disordered, well-played by Nicolò Ernesto Alaimo. The moral characters in this movie are pretty much everyone. We have a woman and mother who suffers for her husband’s death and is totally disenchanted and a little girl missing her father. In the common difficulty of overcoming mourning, there is a land of incommunicability between female protagonists. In this situation is inserted the twenties that finds in Edhel an alter ego, as both are in their own way marginalized. There is still another character and therefore another generation, the riding instructor, which represents the granitic point of view of history, and whose face is that of Mariano Rigillo, a colossal Neapolitan theater. For all, the message is the same, that sometimes illusion and dream can solve real problems.

12. How important do you think is the role of art and the specificity of cinema, the growth and the emotional education of the latter?

Art in the formation of an individual, especially if a child or adolescent, has a fundamental role. A child absorbs as a sponge everything he sees and he feels. For good and for evil, I am the result of all the images I have resembled a small one, through cinema, television, exhibitions I went to with my school or my family. Art is able to form you, to develop a sensitivity that allows you to go beyond the custom of thinking.

13. With your first feature film, you’ve already reached a significant goal and I hope you are the first of a long series. Do you feel you give advice to teenagers who are studying for affirmation in the movie directorship?

It may seem despicable, but the advice is to invest in your training. To do the job of cinema, whether as a film director, sound engineer, or as an actor, you must first study. True, there are talents, but they must be cultivated. I think training is the key to everything.




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