John Credico is the co-producer and co-writer of the Italian feature film Five Hours South which will be playing at the New Jersey Film Festival this coming Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. Here is a recent interview I did with him about his film.
Nigrin: Your gorgeous feature film Five Hours South deals with a restless small-town Italian policeman stuck in a dead end job in the barren mountains of Calabria, Italy. Can you give us more information about your film?
Credico: The film is inspired by true events. The real policeman appears just before the end credits in uniform at work. He plays the part of Mino’s bodyguard and club manager in the movie. In real life he turned his back on his military career and his fiancée to run after a career as a dancer, but in the end decided that all the tinsel wasn’t enough to make him give up what he had to start with. We liked the concept of the twist on the usual rags to riches trailerpark to Hollywood formula to show something different—real people have real lives, real loves and a lot of baggage that they can’t just discard from one minute to the next. The main character at the start of the story is a policeman with the spirit of a breakdancer, but later becomes a dancer with the spirit of a policeman!!
Nigrin: Your film also focuses on dancing. Why did you decide to incorporate this element into your film?
Credico: Dancing is universal and we wanted to show that the youth culture and the search for instant fame is equally universal. Breakdancing may be born in the USA but it is a global phenomenon. The dance crew were from all over Europe, and Luca’s dance double, world champion breakdance spinner in Guinness Book of Records, comes from a little town north of Venice. You don’t have to grow up in the projects to break hard.
Nigrin: This film was shot in Italy. Where exactly did you shoot this film, why did you shoot there and how long did it take to complete?
Credico: We shot the film in South Italy, specifically in the region of Apulia, the “heel” of Italy because this is where the real story took place, and because we love this area so much for the special light and beautiful unspoiled landscapes. This region has long been the best kept secret in Italy—it is number one tourist destination for Italians themselves, with its miles of pristine coastline, beautiful stone towns, unspoiled landscapes, fantastic cuisine and warmhearted people. We wanted to showcase this area to the rest of the world. Along the way, our region got on the international radar…both Helen Mirren and Merly Streep recently purchased properties here. We shot in Apulia, in Rome and in the region of Rome which is called Lazio, in various locations along the coast and in Sermoneta, a perfectly preserved mountain village where we shot Luca’s police duty. After three months of preproduction we shot everything in five weeks. It was a race against the clock and we had a few mishaps but we managed to finish the movie, and then spent over a year doing post production, between editors in LA and here in Italy. We got great music from Joel Shearer (with Alainis Morissette for years) and Damon Dash. We chose two Directors of Photography, one Italian with loads of experience with costume dramas and the other American with experience in music videos, to get that combination of chiaroscuro and videoclip in the shots. We wanted to show the dancing in an unglamorous light, as a hard, sweaty job rather than the usual candycolor treatment in movies to show that Luca stepped out of one grind into another.
Nigrin: The lead actors are quite are very talented. Tell us a little more about them.
Credico: We managed to attract a young talented cast of American actors with the idea of shooting a movie in Italy—Jordan Bridges, Kate Nauta and the others took up our offer to spend time in Italy. We matched them up with older, Italian theatre actors playing the roles of the parents for a contrast in styles.
Friday-September 28-Voorhees Hall #105-7 p.m. $10; $9; $8
There will be Free Food available prior to this screening courtesy of Jimmy Johns of New Brunswick!
Look Up – Amanda Prager and Jake Oleson (Millburn, New Jersey)
In this charming film, an imaginative child becomes fascinated with the idea of flying. 2012; 5 min. With in-person appearances by directors Amanda Prager and Jake Oleson!
Gravity Of Center - Thibaut Duverneix and Victor Quijada (Montreal, Canada)
This beautiful short dance film is a poetic investigation of the herd vs. pack mentality, the dichotomy of abundance and scarcity, and the inner conflict between social assimilation vs. the need for individualism. 2011; 14 min.
Five Hours South - Mark Bacci (Bari, Italy)
Set in gorgeous locations in Southern Italy, Five Hours South takes the conventions of the dance movie and flips them upside down. Luca Santoro, a restless small-town Italian policeman stuck in a dead end job in the barren mountains of Calabria, struggles to reconcile everything he cherishes in life with his passion for dancing, all the while dealing with a dark secret from his past. His long-time girlfriend, Paola, is also anxious for him to settle down. When Luca is unexpectedly given a job in a dance company, he turns his back on Paola and his family, and takes the five hour train journey to Rome to start a whole new life. Or so it seems....as he cannot elude the blood oaths that tie him to the past. In Italian and English, subtitled. 2012; 94 min.
Friday-Sept. 28, 2012
Voorhees Hall #105, Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey 7 p.m.
$10=General; $9=Students+Seniors; $8=Rutgers Film Cop/NJMAC Friends Free Food courtesy of Jimmy Johns will be given out during this screening of the New Jersey Film Festival! For more information go to www.njfilmfest.com or call (848) 932-8482!