Interview with Gianluca Santoni, director of “Gionatan con la G”

The young Italian filmmaker who won the 2017 Critics’ Choice Prize at this year’s Ennesimo Film Festival. We have interviewed him to understand how his short as well as his passion for cinema were born.

Hello Gianluca. First, a question about the film: how was the story of Gionatan con la G born?
One of the few things I understood while I was attending the Cinema Experimental Center was that the stories I love are those born out of questions, difficult if not impossible to answer. Those stories forcing characters in dilemmas hard to deal with. Questions behind Gionatan are: is violence possibly hereditary? Is there a moment when violence is legitimate?
Davide Rubeis, a middle school student, has written in a review that G stands for Great. Is it true?
A review by such a young person is, I think, one of the biggest satisfactions for people who do, or try to do, this job. The title refers to a very common habit in suburbs to call children with English names, inevitably misspelt. The idea was to give a name to our main character which could be linked with reality, but bearing the mark of a specific place in a specific historical time as well. I must admit that our young critic’s interpretation is far more interesting than ours, though!


What was the hardest thing and the most beautiful experienced you had during the shooting? 
Casting was actually much more difficult than the shooting. Finding Luis—little Gionatan—and the other boys hasn’t been easy at all. I must absolutely thank Ganni Amielo and Daniele Luchetto who made me understand the importance of keeping on looking for the perfect actor until you can find them. The most beautiful moment, I think, was also the hardest one emotionally: shooting the final sequence. The encounter between Gionatan and his mother was so complicated to screen. We wanted something deep, and there was an effort by the whole crew, but mainly from the actors, who did a lot physically and emotionally.
Gionatan con la G - miglior recensioni


Come How did your passion for cinema start and when did you decide to graduate at the Cinema Experimental Center?
I could answer this question with a number of funny and touching anecdotes, but this is the truth: I don’t remember. The only thing clear in my mind is the moment when, as I was a kid, I asked my mother who made films and she said: “Film directors.” In that moment, I naively told her that I wanted to become a film director. My mother replied as naively: “All right.” Because she couldn’t know that I was serious! Too bad for her. The CEC for me was something apparently unattainable, and I think I was really lucky to be part of it. From the inside I could also see its shortcomings, but its virtues definitely take over in the end. If you asked me whether it’s worth it, I would definitely say yes, but this is the rule—the more you do and challenge yourself, the more the school gives you. You have to stand on your own two feet.

Any project for the future? Do you dream about doing a feature film?
I and my screenwriter have been working a lot on a project for a feature film, and we are now thinking about it with a producer. At the same time, with the same producer, we are also working on a new short, which we would like to shoot in autumn. It’s going to be a very unusual love story, we are obsessed about it and can’t wait to start shooting! Like everyone who starts doing this job, a feature film is the goal, but telling stories is even more important for me.