AN INTERVIEW WITH Luca Machnich, PRODUCER & DIRECTOR


Please introduce yourself as a filmmaker.

My family has films and filmmaking in its blood. My mother was an actress, my grandfather was an engineer who did 

experiments with color film and was awarded patents that he then proposed to the Technicolor company. 

My great grandfather was Antonio Machnich, one of the first to open a movie theatre in the cities of Trieste and Bucharest, 

where he called them the ‘Cinema Volta’, and he also opened what I believe was the first theatre in Dublin, where he

had the great writer James Joyce, the author of Ulysses, as a partner. 

I started out as a production assistant on a number of films, and then I wrote an encyclopedia of Italian horror and fantasy films 

entitled Spaghetti Nightmares, considered by many to be one of the best works in the field.

Finally, I studied directing and producing at the Los Angeles Film School, also

taking similar courses at the University of Southern California.


How did you become involved in filmmaking as a director and producer?

It had been a goal of mine since childhood. In the 90’s, Italian cinema went

into decline. The great directors, such as Sergio Leone, were no longer around, and funding was scarce. 

Television, with its censorship, started to play too much of a role, turning out films whose stories were dull and uninteresting, 

and Italy’s stellar tradition of horror films had seen its day. In Mexico, the great director and writer Alejandro Jodorowsky 

completed his "visionary journey"; entitled Santa Sangre, while the English filmmakers Richard Stanley and Phillip Ridley blazed 

new trails with their typical verve and venerable theatrical tradition. All of this convinced me that there was a way to turn out nnovative, 

visionary films which combined the different genres, giving meaning to the goal of being a director.


Give us more information about yourself and the films you have made so far.

At first, I was going to do a film based on a short story by Alejandro Jodorowsky, a story as bizarre as its author. 

I am a great admirer of his, and I would have made every effort to turn out the best film possible, only the story had no end, 

and so I could not make it work as a screenplay. After a number of failed attempts that produced endings which seemed forced and contrived, 

I regretfully had to give up the project and switch to a straightforward horror story, a tale that had won me over. It is written by Nicola Lombardi, 

a friend of mine, and offers an ironic take on an encounter between Santa Claus and the family of a child The ending ties things up 

as neatly as in the film, except while writing the screenplay I decided to remove much of the irony,

replacing it with the dramatic plot device of the illicit adoption, in order to keep the ending - which on film, 

as opposed to the page, was a bit too obvious -from falling flat with the spectators.

What are films or people have had an impact on you and your deep-rooted desire to become a filmmaker?

The masters I admire most are Fellini, Tarkovsky and Kubrick: the first for his creative fantasy, the second for his spirituality, 

and the third for his technical prowess. Taken together, they make for a perfect combination. 

We are talking about living legends of the seventh art. Their films are unparalleled miracles that deserve an entire interview 

all their own, even lengthy conventions devoted to them. Phillip Ridley has also had a certain influence on me, 

seeing that he managed to revolutionize the horror story, reviving its spirit in a way that few have equalled. 

When it comes to works of horror with a certain social awareness, I immediately think of Kubrick’s Shining, 

unquestionably an anti-American film, in which the isolated hotel set in the midst of the snow (a metaphor for the cold war), 

placed atop an Indian cemetery, stands for an America whose citizens become obsessed with their personal advancement, 

to the point of violence, while the shining is simply the clear-sighted vision of the ills of society possessed by the pure at heart, 

those who are different, such as the black head chef, or the new generation, meaning the son, or the wife with the native American features. 

 All of them people who have been oppressed in the past and whom the writer, in fact, wants to kill.

Then there is Day of the Dead, Romero’s favorite film from the trilogy (and mine too), in which the lead character, once again 

a man of colour, someone who has been oppressed, is destined to save the survivors from the militarist microcosm of a bunker 

(a symbol of militarism under Reagan) using a helicopter (an angelic symbol) to reach the refuge of a desert island and repopulate 

the world in a spirit of peace. It is no accident that the excellent leading lady, the only woman in the group, is called Sarah, 

which means "mother of nations" in biblical terms.


You made the excellent film, ;"The Eve", chosen for an award at the

"American Golden Picture International Film Festival". 

As a filmmaker, why did you decide to make it?

I wanted to make an innovative horror film that would mix the experimental and classic genres and arrive at a new approach. 

At one festival, a critic stated that I had reinvented the genre. I’m not sure that’s the case, but if so, it would

be one of the finest compliments I have ever received.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film?

I had to handle the very lengthy post-production process, which involved more than 130 digital effects, all my own, seeing that my co-producer, 

at a certain point, was obliged to go off and work on other projects. And back then 3d effects were not as sophisticated as now, 

so we had to do a number of them over. Still, I won some awards for the special effects too.


Tell us more about your experience with this specific film, "The Eve".

The work went well, thanks to an excellent assistant director and a production crew of thirty professionals, quite a lot for a short film. 

The heads of the different units did a great job during a total of two and a half weeks of shooting in a villa in Rome, plus a day of blue-screen work at the legendary Cinecittà theater 5. Things went smoothly with the actors too, including the little boy. 

Children grow up faster nowadays, so they are less frightened by blood.


The directing, the cinematography and the editing is very good and supporting the drama in a very effective way. 

What was it like to work with your cast and crew?

The directing was easy. I blocked out the story frame by frame (and respected that outline) in a week’s time. 

Then certain ideas, like the animated sequence produced in India, came to me during the post-production period.

I wanted the film shot in colours that were pastel-like, in the style of Christmas. Together with the superb cinematographer, 

Giulio Pietromarchi, I reviewed any number of films, settling on what cinematographer Russel Carpenter did for "Lady in White" 

as something of a reference. The film was shot as a refined, festive fable, much like my own. 

I was especially struck by the ray of light that shines on the killer’s eyes at the end, a subtle homage to the opening 

scenes of William Lustig’s Maniac. I had four different editors putting the film together. 

Most of the work was done by Niccolò Palomba and Donatella Ruggiero, a pair of top-flight professionals who 

understood what they had to do without me even having to tell them. I worked well with everybody.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from making this film?

That being a director is an exhilarating but very tiring process. It throws your life off balance, and is probably the most all-consuming form of teamwork in the world.


What keeps you inspired to continue making films?

My wish to free myself of my fears.


Distributing the film is the most important thing. How did you arrange for distribution of your film "The Eve"?

I still have to distribute it. I’ve turned down a number of offers, because they wanted to make cuts and I wouldn’t have had 

any guarantee of control over the royalties. We’ll see what happens in the future.


What are your filmmaking goals?

To be someone who works outside the mainstream, attracting even spectators who aren’t diehard fans of horror films, which is my genre. 

As Sergio Leone used to say, there is no reason to look down on the makers of genre films, automatically considering them second-rate. 

Shining is a horror film, but we certainly don’t think of it as a B-Movie.


What is your next project?

A bizarre, full-length horror film with a socially aware outlook on the topic of food, something with which I have always had

 a difficult relationship . I hope I can get it made, because it’s an idea I’ve been working on since my time at the Los Angeles Film School.


GOOG LUCK Luca


Luca's Link:

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/THE_EVE_2015

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