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How I Made It: Profondo (2019)

Leonardo is a fifty-year-old photojournalist. A very reserved man, timid towards his neighbor and now disillusioned with life because of a series of hard failures that have profoundly marked him irreversibly. Moved by very intimate reasons, Leonardo seeks personal redemption. Leonardo wants to realize one last and very important service, the most important of his career and his existence. Arriving in a small seaside village populated almost exclusively by fishermen, Leonardo goes in search of the "Diavolo Rosso" (Red Devil), a legendary marine animal that has inspired local folklore for many years. The animal, real or not, becomes a real obsession for the man as well as the last possibility of redemption towards a life that has never been lived until the end.

87 Mins | Italian | Drama, Adventure, Fantasy | 2019 | Italy

In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Guiliano Giacomelli

Why this subject matter for your film?

Since childhood, fantastic stories have extremely charmed me, in particular those that had monstrous and gigantic creatures. I grew up with 1933 “King Kong” and with Ishiro Honda “Godzilla” and for me those movies represented the true essence of cinema. Besides monster movies, the other thing that characterized my childhood was some American literature, adventure novels such as “Moby Dick” by Melville or Jack London’s works (“White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild”). I needed to debut with a film that could tell not only what I like but also who I am, in the good and the bad.

Where did you find the story for this film?

Behind “Profondo” there are a lot of suggestions related to what I love the most, movies and novels that inspired me directly or indirectly (I think about “Jaws” by Steven Spielberg or “The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway). “Profondo” is still an original screenplay that has its roots in my passion for some adventure novels and for those stories capable of mixing the human and emotional element with the fantastic one. I knew I wanted to bring to life a film for everyone, dedicated in particular to those who, like me, are trying to follow a dream hard to catch. But I needed to create something that could create a dialogue between commercial cinema and auteur cinema.

What were the challenges you faced in making the film?

Every single one you could think of! [laughs] We can say I had to face a bit of all the difficulties that could have happened, from pre-production to post-production. “Profondo” comes as an answer to another project of mine that sadly never came to life because of a production company not serious at all. At this point, I chose the way of auto production, and this choice brings with itself just difficulties. It’s a pity that, in Italy, when you decide to be “independent” they don’t see you as a cinema hero (which it should be!) but as a hassle that has no space in the system. Therefore, the obstacles are endless. I can’t go into detail but I can say that having a tiny budget and shooting on a 12mt fishing boat I had to work with a small troupe of 7

people (main actor included). Mind you, a normal troupe is composed of at least 30/40 people. I let you imagine how hard that was! [laughs]

Did you face any problems in releasing the film?

As said before, in Italy being independent is more of a shame than a pride. I find this very sad because it shouldn’t be like that. The real difficulty, for an independent filmmaker, is not making a movie but distributing it. It became hard to find a collocation of your own work in the market. Italian independent movies have a hard time circulating because the Italian system does absolutely nothing to help them. Instead, it hinders them. Years ago we had festivals that gave those movies a platform to shine but in the last 15/20 years things have changed and now those festivals have started to discriminate against small works that don’t have a big production company or distribution company behind them. With “Profondo” I was quite lucky because it had a good response from abroad (the United States, India, and Brazil), and after some international festivals the prestigious Minerva Pictures bought it and brought “Profondo” on its main VOD platforms.

What was your background before making your first film?

The love for cinema is something that I have had since childhood. I remember making some short movies (some of them silly and very ugly) when I was very young. But I was around 18 years old that I transformed my passion into a profession when I enrolled in an undergraduate bachelor’s in cinema (DAMS) in Rome. I started working on sets right away, improvising doing anything and everything. And I say EVERYTHING! [laughs]. I always dreamt of being a director and screenwriter but in the beginning, you accept to do anything you find. When you are young, you only want to learn and observe as much as you can. This brought me to be hired as a direct sound engineer or as an SFX artist. in 2011, I started working as a first assistant director and this experience allowed me to learn a lot, to understand better how to organize the set, and how to manage time most efficiently. Besides that, in 2011 I entered the crew of the award-winning “Across the River” by Lorenzo Bianchini and that, for me, became an experience as hard as challenging.

How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?

Cinema is the most beautiful form of art, you could say it is the most complete one. Being art needs the liberty to grow and blossom in the most authentic way possible. But I recognize that making cinema is expensive both in money and in time, and I know that not everyone has the financial capability to do what I did with “Profondo”. But I believe that if there is passion, and it is authentic, a way for making your movie is always possible, especially with all the technologies we have nowadays. I firmly believe that the key is trying, is doing. Even if the outcome is not the best one, because it is important to learn from your own mistakes. The fundamental thing is to put your head in the game and get involved, always, sincerely, and genuinely. If there is a suggestion I feel giving to young filmmakers that are trying to make their first movie is to not compromise too much. Often, where compromises start, art dies. If you are making an independent film, it must remain as sincere as possible. Truth is the most beautiful virtue of a movie.

Any other interesting facts about this film that you may like to cover.

I can say that the whole processing of “Profondo” can be summarized in a gigantic anecdote. One of the most interesting aspects of the film was to do the sea shooting, which, of course, I had underestimated at the beginning. Shooting on a small fishing boat, without a support boat for the troupe means that everything, and I mean everything, became uncomfortable and difficult. In particular, we had to deal with the seasickness that a lot of the people suffered (especially an actor) and this slowed down the shooting schedule. It happened multiple times that we had to interrupt the workday to bring some people back to land. This transformed the estimated four weeks of shooting into over two months of work. It’s a good thing I was an assistant director in the past! [laughs]

Film Poster - Profondo

Festivals and Awards

  1. Cinefantasy – International Fantastic Film Festival

  2. International Tour Film Festival

  3. Black Bear Film Festival

  4. Diorama International Film Festival

  5. Monsters – Taranto Horror Film Festival

How to Reach the Director

Guiliano Giacomelli




How to Feature your film

If you have made an independent feature film, or a short film, which has won awards at the International Film Festivals, or a film of Social importance, and would like to tell the world how you made it, Indian Film Institute is helping independent filmmakers reach the right audience, and inspiring the next generation of filmmakers. Drop an email to for more information.

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