Filmmaker of the Month: SoulFilm Productions

This interview has been translated from Italian to English

We are happy to introduce the production company SoulFilmProduction from Italy as filmmaker of the month.

Thanks for your time in this interview.

Thanks to Userfarm for giving us this opportunity.

Why the name of SoulFilmProduction company?

Federico: We say it so many times all in one breath because it creates a mixture of embarrassment and nostalgia: Marco and I thought of it in a phase of discovery and experimentation post-high school and fresh in our minds was the whole philosophy of the last year of school. Metaphysics and transcendence were the starting points of our first short films.

How many people are involved in this production company?

Roberta: The historical founders are Marco and Federico, although not the oldest. I joined later on and then finally Giada. But we have a lot of external collaborators that we can count on.

How do you organise the tasks for each one?

Marco: Giada looks at the writing and the overviews each job, so the initial stages. Federico and I then take care of the image in every aspect, of the content we want to communicate and then, on set, directing and photography; but we are keen to follow the editing and any visual effect and music. Roberta is the rational part, trying to make ends meet all the parts of the puzzle that brings the team down to the ground when someone pulls out crazy ideas.


I would like to start with new projects, are there any projects that you are working on now? (it can be for Userfarm or any short or full length films)

Federico: we are working on a project for a documentary in which we do not want to give too much away. At the same time we are trying to get back to the cinema, without leaving commercials, so we wrote two projects, one for a potential series, another for a short film. In these days we are also working on the contest for ISTAT. Our upcoming project is a documentary on the world of sport climbing. We won a competition promoted by Infinity Mediaset; and the prize is half of the funding we need for production, the rest we will have to find through crowdfunding on the “Produzioni dal Basso” platform. We are enthusiastic about this new possibility of a long-term commitment and with such a wide showcase: the documentary will be aired on Infinity next year.

[Editor Note: for further information on this project, click here!]

Can you describe what it is about?

Giada: Without going into too much detail we can say that the project we are working on for the series intrigues us a lot because it is in one location.

How and why did you start with Userfarm?

Roberta: When we started to think about the reality of Soul Film as a full time job, we still devoted ourselves fully to video clips, we felt the need to widen our point of view but also the mode of narration. We came across the contest for Baci Perugina and the possibility of making a video that, while adhering to a brief, directed us to other types of stories involved. The subsequent work, for Arena, still remains among our best commercials. Over time Userfarm has proven to be a good opportunity.

How was it at the beginning of your experience with Userfarm and how do you consider yourself as production company now?

Federico: The first experience, with Baci Perugina, was … Formative. We had written the outline and in the shot there was: a child, a spaceship, a night scene, one with a bicycle in the middle of the road. Bringing everything together during the 45 seconds was, in fact, formative.

Roberta: Well, I think it was a path that with years and experience, has led us to become a reality. The corporate structure is only a second step, certainly necessary, of what we already had in mind to do: to be professionals. In this period it is fundamental, for a reality like ours, to stand out from other videomakers: we are a company and a complete team, so we can give our customers different services.

You have been participating in many calls… How do you approach a Brief, what are your steps when you have developed the idea for your video?

Giada: This is one of those things that has never changed. We read the brief all together, at an All You Can Eat restaurant while having lunch, or in the studio with good background music. Then for days, everyone pulls out proposals and it is at this stage that our Whatsapp group is filled with messages of 3 and a half minutes, with suggestions or ideas, full of “mmms”, “I wanted to say”, “or maybes” that often they close with self-evaluations like: “no, leave it, it’s not a good idea”. The bad ideas, however, sometimes give a small “eureka” to another one of us and eventually we leave. We give ourselves a deadline for the idea and from there start the classic stages of casting, choice of locations, customs and general organization.

How do you define your film style ? Can you tell us your principle film skills for your creation of content?

Marco: When it comes to commercials it is rather difficult to talk about a defined style because each product has different communication needs and it is our duty to adapt as much as possible to the brief; paraphrasing Bruce Lee “The only style is not having a style”. This should not be misunderstood with an impersonal representation, but certainly the suggestions and atmospheres vary so much that it is difficult to find a common denominator. What we like to do is undoubtedly maintain elegance in form, tell a story and look for emotion in an image. We can be satisfied only when we manage to leave the viewer with something that remains in the time following the spot.

Federico: We do not have particular skills (or at least we cannot see them from the inside), but we recognize some ability to leave nothing to chance, from the choice of actors to the details of the scene, whether it is a contest, a video clip or something else.

The direction of the camera and footage is always very attractive, who is in charge of it? And how do you get such a good result?

Federico: It is both me and Marco. Often the speed with which we have to make videos (one day in most cases) does not help; we are the first to never be completely satisfied with a job. At the beginning of each set we try to be realistic: “What can we do with such little time?”, This allows us to achieve a result that is more or less in line with what we have in mind.

Another aspect to highlight is the great choice of actors in your work. How do you carry out this process?

Giada: Where the ultimate goal is to tell a story in seconds, we find that an expression says more than a voice over. We therefore hold a lot to the choice of the expressions of the protagonists and we take the opportunity to thank all the actors who have believed in us, trusting only on the basis of our previous work. It is therefore their choice (and the time that we invest to find them) that helps us to make the right decisions.

Would you recommend Userfarm to other people who want to start their filmmaking career?

Roberta: Yes, above all to learn time management, but also the production steps necessary for any video work (from the most creative to the bureaucratic paperwork of releases and permits). The variety of the contests also give us the chance to have a rich and varied showreel.

And the last question, can you recommend any films where we can find the inspiration of SoulFilmProduction?

Marco:  Each of us we should make a personal list, but we should also distinguish between films we love (great masters, aside from the point of view of style) and works that inspire our choices. I limit myself to mentioning the three films of which we have posters in our studio: Hate, Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind.

All the best for your upcoming projects and we hope to see more videos from SoulFilmProduction!

L'invenduto banjo della famiglia Gustavi

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