Daniele Nicolini from Ancona, Italy, a wonderful small town by the sea in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. He completed his graduation from the University of Bologna with a B.A. in Literature and Philosophy, minor in Cinema Studies and later on he moved to Canada, where he studied Film Production degree at the Vancouver Film School in 2010.
What is your ultimate inspiration as a filmmaker?
I was amazed by the magic of cinema since I can remember. I recall watching The Empire of The Sun, by Steven Spielberg, in the theatre when I was around six years old, and that was with no doubt the exact moment I decided that movies would have to be my life. Since then, I was inspired by many directors, but if I have to mention some more, I would go with Billy Wilder, Terry Gilliam, Federico Fellini, Quentin Tarantino, the Cohen Brothers, and David Lynch.
When did you start your career as a filmmaker?
My first experiment ever was a short film called The Border, back in 2002. It was almost without dialogues and with only one actor. I used my parents to play dead, as murder victims. It was very funny to put some ketchup sauce all over them. We had a lot of fun doing it and surprisingly it even made its way to a couple of festivals.
Do you remember how many films you have made so far?
I directed about ten shorts plus I worked on a few more in other roles. One of my favorites, for many reasons, is Salvation Park, shot in Vancouver back in 2010.
We shot it in a 16mm film which was a great experience and it’s very rare nowadays, especially for shorts. I was very lucky to have an outstanding cast of actors to work with, including wonderful Leo Award winner Juan Riedinger. The film it’s an homage to Milano Caliber 9, a great Italian movie from 1972, by Fernando Di Leo.
Would you like to add something more about your initial project?
Since we already talked about my first film, I’d like to tell you about the first time I won a prize at a film festival instead.
It was with one of my first shorts, The Way of Silence. Chiara Pavoni won the best actress prize for her role in the film, at the Joe D’Amato Horror Film Festival 2007, in Tuscany, Italy.
I have to tell you that being at a festival it’s always one of the best times you can have as a filmmaker. You get to meet amazing people from all over the world that love cinema in the same insane way you do. It was great to be there and get up on a stage and get a prize. In the last edition of the same festival, in 2008, I also got to meet Stuart Gordon, (Reanimator, Fortress, Edmond), an amazing director and wonderful person that unfortunately didn’t get as many credits as he deserved and recently passed away. A lot of beautiful memories from festivals, I guess I wish I could spend my life between sets and film festivals.
How challenging is it for you to work as an independent filmmaker?
It definitely is, and sometimes it can also be a little frustrating. For sure, in shooting films with a very low budget you learn to be as creative as possible with what you get, and also you become very good at problem-solving. At least when your hard work, later on, makes its way to a Festival you feel rewarded in a beautiful cathartic way.
It sounds like filmmaking is very exciting for you, isn’t it?
Definitely working with actors. To me being an actor is by far the hardest job in the entire filming process. To build the characters together, before the actual filming and later onset, it’s to me with the most fulfilling experience of all. It’s a process of constant exchange of ideas and trust. It’s pure creation,
you start with a vague idea that first translates in ink on a blank page and finally evolves into a living and walking creature. In the end, I feel really happy when actors love their work in your movie.
What are your future plans?
Alongside my longtime collaborator and friend, Simone Coacci, I wrote a Sci-Fi Thriller called, Elsewhere, something like X-files and Stranger Things meets with L.A. Confidential. , We would love to find the funds to turn it into a mini-TV show, five or six episodes max. We will start a fundraiser soon through internet and film production houses. It’s very hard to get visibility or make it in the industry in Italy when you decide not to live in Rome or
Milan, but as I said in the beginning, I made my mind clear about what to do with my life a long time ago and I am not ready to give up yet. Finally, we hope The Electric sign will do well in more festival possible before it will be released, in order to get also attention to our next project, Here Elsewhere.
Where people can follow and see your work?
D: Through my official site, of course, www.danielenicolini.com, but also my social accounts as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and finally IMDb.
The Electric Sign: https://www.theelectricsign.it/