Interview with Mariano Baino (English version)
What has happened since Dark Waters and today?
Promoting and trying to secure international sales for Dark Waters took a lot of my time and energy once the movie was finished. Subsequently, I optioned one of my favourite books, Ritual, by Graham Masterton and spent a long time developing and trying to make that movie. Many times we were just about to start and had to stop for one reason or another. Everyone loved the script for Ritual and producers started commissioning me to write other projects they were developing.
So, I started getting jobs as a screenwriter. It really allowed me to develop as a writer.
As many working screenwriters know, it is fully possible to have some sort of “career” as a screenwriter without any of the projects you get paid to write ever getting made into films. I wrote 15 movies as a “writer for hire” for producers in Germany, the UK, Italy and the USA and only one of them was finally made into a movie in 2010! I worked in many different genres. I got hired for a lot of adaptations, including Chris Niles' urban thriller Hell's Kitchen, Gogol's classic gothic tale The Vij and French noir thriller Three To Kill by Jean Patrick Manchette.
Then, I wrote, directed and produced Never Ever After, a short film I am very proud of, which people can see on the second disc of the NoShame double disc edition of Dark Waters. I had had enough of just writing for other people and thought it was time to return behind the camera. I also directed some music videos in the UK and developed other projects which are still bubbling away.
I also had some solo art exhibits of my mixed media “surreal” drawings which I produce with a “burnt paper” technique I've been using since I was a teenager, and even did some artwork for CD covers in the UK!
Do you still believe in «Ritual»?
I have been trying to get Ritual, the brilliant book by Graham Masterton, to become a movie for a long time and it is absolutely still a project I want to make. I totally believe in it!
You’re not only a filmmaker but also an accomplished artist. Would you tell us a little about your work?
Drawing is something I have always done and I have always liked to do, since I was a small child. I used to draw Tarzan comics and (very short) “animal encyclopaedias” when I was still in Elementary School and sell them for a few cents to the other children in the class.
Then I started drawing monsters, and I never stopped!
I don't get enough chances to draw, which is a pity but there's too much to do for one lifetime!
It's also useful to be able to draw when it comes to doing my own storyboards and doing concept art in pre-production.
I have had wonderful opportunities to exhibit my work in Europe and in the USA and I love having a form of artistic expression which does not need a lot of money and a huge machine to accomplish. I can sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and have the satisfaction of completing a piece of artwork without having to wait for financing or all the other obstacles involved in film-making.
Who are your main influences, whether it’s art, movies or other?
I truly believe that, like beauty, influence is in the eye of the beholder! I think audiences bring their own influences with them and see them in your work.
For example, I am a very visual person, a lot of my work relies on images to tell the story and yet, I have always been influenced much more by books than by movies or paintings.
I read avidly and always used to read a lot and imagine the shots in my head, even as a child. I still remember “daydreaming” through the Iliad and the Odyssey when I was at school and imagining all the shots while we were reading it in class!
What is your opinion on today’s genre movies ? Is it difficult to be so passionate about it and wanting to be a part of it, as well ?
It's never difficult to be passionate about something you love.
The atmosphere of Dark Waters is surreal, nightmarish and very lovecraftian. With Astrid’s Saints, will this surreal passage to the other side of the mirror also be a part of it?
Astrid's Saints will definitely be rich in atmosphere and have surreal touches. We can't say too much about it at this stage, though. We don't want to ruin any surprises. Suffice to say that any fans of Dark Waters won't be disappointed!
Is the script finished?
Yes! Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni and I have finished Astrid's Saints script and now we are producing the film as well to preserve the purity of our vision. That's why we decided to use crowdfunding and go on Kickstarter.
The Dark Waters soundtrack was wonderful. What are your ideas for the musical ambiance of Astrid's Saints?
Thank you very much for the compliment. There are some sound theories and techniques I was trying to test and implement with Dark Waters and with Never Ever After which I'd like to take further with Astrid's Saints.
I am a big believer in the power of almost subliminal sounds used to
underscore a more classical musical composition.
Will you be filming digitally or traditionally?
If you'd asked me a year ago, I would have answered you differently but I think digital acquisition technology has finally reached the point where I am sure I can obtain all the results I need digitally.
I have already worked digitally in various formats and I know I can preserve my style and obtain rich cinematic results using digital tools.
10- Would you tell us about your collaboration with Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni ? Has she become your muse?
Coralina is definitely my muse but calling her just a muse is very reductive. She's much more than that! Astrid's Saints is the second script we have written together and our collaboration is truly magical. When we write together we are creatively so entwined that one can literally say we write as two creative minds fused into one single entity.
Astrid’s Saints seems to be a sort of poem dedicated to Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni...
Coralina deserves much more than a poem. Even an epic poem would not be enough. I consider Astrid's Saints a gift that Coralina has given me. Without her this film would never exist and could never have existed. We wrote Astrid's Saints together, sitting side by side, from the first word to the last, so I suppose it's a poem we have dedicated to each other!
A very big thank you to Mariano Baino & Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni.
Help Mariano Baino & Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni make their movie! CLICK HERE