Here is my interview with with Buon Ferragosto filmmaker Claudia Miatello:
Nigrin: Your short animated experimental film Buon Ferragosto takes viewers on a fun ride through Florence, Italy with a 7-year-old-boy and his newly adopted cat. Tell us what motivated you to make this film.
Miatello: I've always been in love with Florence. My father is from Florence so when I was a teenager, we would travel from Canada to Italy to spend summers in the city. I rode on vespas with friends and cousins, went to the sea on the weekends, and ate bomboloni in the mornings for breakfast. It was a very happy time for me. Since then, I've visited many times over the years and I always come back home with beautiful memories.
Nigrin: How did you create the great animated effects for your film?
Miatello: Buon Ferragosto is a story about joy. But how do you illustrate joy? The color, shape, movement and gesture of the animation all need to work together to express joy. When I was young in Florence, everything always seemed full of life to me. So, the colors in this film all reflect how the little boy sees Florence: full of beauty and wonder. Even his shape suggests joy: the boy is round, approachable. He appears small - miniscule actually - against the grandiose architecture. But his spirit is great. Whereas the cat is more triangular with a sharp pointy chin, he is dynamic and unpredictable, and quite confident. He, too, has a joyful spirit. I draw with Procreate on an iPad and edit with Adobe Premiere Pro. I started to learn to use Blender - a 3D animation program - and I didn’t enjoy using it as much. I prefer 2D animation. Basically, my animation is my drawings coming to life. I like all the imperfect irregular lines and coloring. I know a film or a drawing is finished when I love all the imperfections - not when all the imperfections are corrected and made perfect.
Nigrin: The soundtrack for your film is pretty amazing. Tell us more about it.
Miatello: Federico Ferrandina, who is from Italy, composed this whimsical Italian folk song which is really like a time capsule that will take you back to Italy during the 1950s and 1960s. It has old world charm and is a tribute to the enjoyment of leisurely days. I love its exuberant mix of accordion, mandolin, guitar and bass. It is sweet & nostalgic - a beautiful homage to the enjoyment of childhood. Also, by omitting a lot of dialogue from the film, I was able to instead fill it with sound effects. So, the soundtrack is made up of a kind of symphony of sounds: the little boy’s words and often just what he hears - sounds of cars, bits of conversation and background noise - together, of course, with this beautiful music.
Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you would like to relay to us?
Miatello: I always want to create happy films with happy endings. This is my personality. Of course, along the way the characters might feel anger or frustration, but my films end right on the upswing of a down moment - you could say, right before another wave in life hits them again. I find people dismiss happy endings as being naive. But I think they’re wrong. The great and noble nature of the human spirit is this: even in the face of disinterested parents and other children, the little boy finds joy. He manages to find hope in the face of despair, and light in the presence of darkness. This film, like all my drawings, is intentionally simple. The simple truth is that joy should win. Let joy be your guide - which, to me, is not naive, but deeply profound.
Here is Claudia Mitello’s video introduction to her wonderful and charming film:
Come see Buon Ferragosto at the Spring 2023 New Jersey Film Festival on Friday, January 27. Claudia Mitello will be present to do a Q+A with the audience. Buon Ferragosto will be playing with another Italian language short entitled Vagrant and the feature documentary The Language I Speak Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ. To buy tickets go here.
For General Info on the Film Festival go here: https://newjerseyfilmfestivalspring2023.eventive.org/welcome