How did you get into filmmaking and what drives you?
I am a scriptwriter first and foremost and have recently branched out into filmmaking. What has always interested me is telling stories. Allowing people to get to know the experiences of others. It was the project of Atopos that pushed me to become a director. I see myself more as an orchestra conductor. I choose the elements and put them together to create my unique work. For example, in ATOPOS, generi teatranti (translation – theatrical genders), I asked the photographer Giovanni Hanninen to give his aesthetic vision to the project and to Marcela Serli to accompany me in telling the story of the theatre group she created.
How did you first get involved in filming ATOPOS?
ATOPOS, generi teatranti was born by chance and out of necessity. In 2014, I was asked to write a love story with a transgender woman as a protagonist. I started to do some research and interviews, looking for real life experiences to give depth to my characters. Around the same time, I chanced upon a fortuitous connection. Irene Serini – co-founder of the company, Giovanni Hanninen – future author and cinematographer of the documentary, and I, knew that Marcela Serli was going to do a workshop with Atopos, a theatre company whose artists were also transgender people. I immediately decided to attend the workshop and for me this was a revelation. Marcela Serli is a really talented director and actor and I realized how strong her idea was to use theatre to investigate gender identity. I was also impressed by the empathy that everyone showed. The stage became a place where you were able to express yourself and where everybody wanted to share themselves with the audience. In the end, the movie I was writing wasn’t produced, but I fell in love with the project of Atopos Theater Company and I wanted to be part of it, doing what I can do: telling stories. The documentary ATOPOS, generi teatranti is the realisation of my necessity to tell their story.
How did you find the filmmaking process for ATOPOS? Were there any barriers that you faced?
Some artists at the theatre company are experienced actors and dancers, but many of them are not professionals. They do very different jobs in their everyday lives. There is a policewoman, a manager, a lecturer in marketing, a peer educator and an astrologer… It is a varied company. During the filmmaking process, my first difficulty was managing to gather all these people together at the same time. This was due to their work schedules, not because they didn’t want to be a part of the project. Everybody was very enthusiastic about the idea of having a documentary telling their experience.
Some preferred to be in the documentary only with their performance on stage: they didn’t want to be interviewed. At first I thought that it might be a problem, but then I understood that this was the peculiarity of the project. When you’re on stage, you become a character even if you’re telling your true story. When you are interviewed, you speak of and for yourself without a filter, and it is much more challenging. I decided to put this reticence into the documentary and I think that it demonstrates perfectly how theatre can become a medium of truth-telling, sometimes more than documentary itself.
What are you trying to show the audience with this film? Is there significance in the combination of cisgender and transgender actors in the documenting of ATOPOS, generi teatranti?
Two of the questions that Marcela Serli always asks during her workshops is “What is identity?” and “Who needs identity?”. These two existential questions concern everyone, not just transgender people. Even if the communication about the company was pushing the message of “transgender people doing theater,” I think that the importance of the project is the union of people – cisgender, transgender and belonging to any letter of the LGBTIQ acronym and beyond – building their own version of identity and discovering that this can change during our lives. We all live in transition.
Alberto Amoretti is 34 and Italian. He lives between Rome and Milan and he’s a screenwriter, author and director. After the Master Degree in DAMS (Art, Music and Show), he graduated from Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the oldest film school in Western Europe, in Production and Writing for TV series. Since 2011 he’s been collaborating with director Stefano Reali and he wrote tv-movies and series for Italian networks RAI and Mediaset: Caruso (2012 ), Angeli, una storia d’amore (Angels, a love story – 2014), Rimbocchiamoci le maniche (Let’s roll up our sleeves – 2016). In the meanwhile he worked as playwright with Atopos Theater Company for the show Homini (Man Pride) which debuted in 2015 at ATIR theatre in Milan. Combining his words to the images of the photographer Giovanni Hänninen, he also wrote reportages for Italian magazines: Riders, Io Donna and Playboy. “Atopos, theatrical genders” was his first experience as a documentary filmmaker. At the moment he is filming a short doc series about migrants between Senegal and Sicily.
Alberto Amoretti’s documentary ATOPOS, generi teatranti will screen at the Scottish Queer International Film Festival at the CCA on 28th September 2017. Tickets are priced on a sliding scale, from Free – £8 in £2 increments. A guide to the sliding scale can be found here.
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