Directors Notes on “SAMP”

An interview with film directors Flavia Mastrella and Antonio Rezza from the Venice Film Festival.  

1.This is your sixth feature film in a 30-year career that has encompassed Television, shorts and medium-length films. How difficult is it nowadays to get a film financed? 

Flavia: “Escoriandoli” (our first movie) was the only film we shot with a producer. It was an interesting experience but we soon realised it was impossible to replicate it. The production pressures had too much impact on our artistic choices. We produce our films and use independent distribution channels.

Antonio: For us, getting a budget is never the main issue. We can always sort something out. A budget is useful because it offers warranties to the film. Without that guarantee, we can’t start shooting. So we look for funders. 

Idea for the Film 

2. Where did the idea for the story and the script of “SAMP” come from? 

Flavia: The inspiration came from the ancestral landscape of Puglia. I was deeply involved in the stories from “La terra del rimorso” (The Land of Remorse), written by Ernesto De Martino. 

Antonio: Flavia made a location scouting in the Triana Valley in the spring of 2001. The idea was born there. The screenplay is the result of a cycle of abandonment and reconnection with an on-again, off-again 20 year-long work. 

The Sense at Venice 

3. What should audiences infer from this film and take away from it? 

Flavia: Our films are open to interpretation. We do not offer a truth. We just gather some thoughts. I would like the audience to grasp that sense of expressive liberty we encourage. 

Antonio: The great sense of freedom and lack of interest in all forms of power. 

4. What are your feelings of having the film play at  the Venice Festival this year? 

Actor and Director (left) Antonio Rezza 

Flavia: We are happy. We can finally see if our communicative experiment works, see the reactions of an audience. We continue to seek new methods to surprise ourselves and others. I enjoy the risk. 

Antonio: I was moved by the great acclaim that welcomed the film. It’s nice to feel emotions. It is very childish to vibrate to the sound of approval. But it is the only thing that keeps us attached to the world. 

5. Do you feel a little cheated by the Covid-19 crisis with less people attending the festival? 

Flavia: For us it is completely normal to be selected in times of crisis, it is our bizarre destiny. 

SAMP screened in Competition at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.

Production Company: Rezzamastrella 

Running Time: 78 Minutes

Country: Italy 

Steve Yates contributes to Black and Paper.

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