Daniela Lucato started playing theatre in Padua (Italy) parallel to her studies at the university.
After her degree in Philosophy she moved to Rome, Wellington and finally Berlin where she works as an actress/filmmaker. The Birthday (2014), her first short film written/directed in mandarin/english language, has been officially selected from 25 international festivals (among these Micgenero, Frameline, ShanghaiPride where the film was also nominated for the best cinematography). In 2015 she founded Connecting Fingers Company. Her last productions for theatre are Connecting Fingers, The Wheel, The rebellious Body. Her last films When I dance (2016),The Wheel (2017) are screening on international film festivals. For the time being (2018) received the award as best international short film at DUAF/ Tribeca Film Center. In 2019 she wrote/directed the experimental short film Vieni and in 2020 the narrative short Mamma dorme (Mommy’s sleeping). She is now working on the script development of her first feature film and of a creative documentary.
Chambre Fluide: Tell us how your passion for art was born and how did you approach filmmaking?
Daniela Lucato: I was starting my career as an actress for theatre and independent films. Until six years ago I never considered to work as a filmmaker because my only passion was acting and performing.
I started to direct after I wrote my first script for the short film The Birthday. While writing it I had the images of the film so clear in my mind that I never imagined to involve somebody else to direct it.
When I finished I thought I wanted to direct without any doubt! I was a bit crazy at the time but it worked well!
CF: You studied philosophy; does it play an important role in your artistic production?
DL: Somehow philosophy changed my way to look at things, to interpret or analyse them. I don’t know how to explain it without sounding banal. If my study has a role in my work it is in the traversal way I communicate messages in my films and it is part of the process while I create. In the creating process I am used to build a complicated structure in the plot, around my characters, in the way I want to tell a particular action or in the mood/or in the change of an emotion of a character.
What I do later is to simplify that structure, taking off a piece and then another piece and then another piece. What remains is the film.
CF: We would like to know more about your project Mamma dorme.
DL: Mamma dorme was inspired from the poems in the collection "Memory in the Body” by Antonella Sica that talk about death and nostalgia for the father she has lost and can’t forget. The father enters the protagonist daily life: she mixes the memory of him with the reality changing her reality in a sort of dream.
I liked the words of the poems, the atmosphere Sica created with them. While reading I was imagining a particular landscape that you find in the film. The poems talk about silence and gestures. For instance in this film gestures have a symbolic meaning and they are significant part of the narration. Consequently dialogues are less important also because Mamma dorme is for me mostly a photographic film.
CF: Daniela, you are from Italy, but you moved first to Wellington and then to Berlin. Does your Italian culture influence your works? How did the new places you lived in incentive your work?
DL: Yes, definitely! My Italian origins and culture influence my work a lot. It is something that I have in my blood, in the way I see the world or the way I explain the world I see. I particularly see the influence of my cultural background in my first work "The Birthday"...for the use of colours and the atmospheres I wanted to realise. While doing the post production colour I was on the side of a friend, a German editor/colourist who was suggesting several colour possibilities. For the first five or six proposal he did I remember I was always answering “I’m too Italian for these colours... the atmosphere is turning too much to a Berlin film”. Actually it was a Berlin film but with an Italian as a director.
I lived in New Zealand for a short time in 2009: it was an amazing experience full of surprises and wonders.
The nature is stunning, the people is so relaxed and happy...at least this was my impression. I absorbed some new energy there that I transformed later in new works. When you live in a place for a short time you take all the best you can take from it and you will never forget it.
Well, concerning Berlin...Berlin is my second home. Actually it is my home now! I have to admit that It wasn't easy at the beginning, in fact I wanted to return to Italy but at end I stayed, and now I feel it is my place. It changed my work.
I was saying before that "The Birthday" was a film where my Italian cultural background is very strong but unconsciously when I wrote/directed it I was already influenced from the new culture I was experiencing. It would never be born in Italy, not in the same way, not if I was just shooting in Berlin coming from Italy.
It was a result of my life here. I really think it was. Here I feel I can do everything I want to do, and I find the courage to do it, I trust myself. The city influences me so much for bad and for good and my mind never stops to work at something new. It works for me as a magical engine.