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An Interview with Nathan Tosoni, Director of 'Before A Painting'

Please introduces yourself and tell us about your education and your interest in cinema.

(May 2022), I'm 23 years old and I've just published on Vimeo my first short film of 24min awarded by several international film festivals: "Before A Painting" whose concept can be summarized by this question "What happened right before 3 painting masterworks?"

Seeing and reading what works aroused your interest in this medium, and as a result, what works do you owe your education in cinema to?

One day my father showed me Lawrence of Arabia. Even though I only understand it years later, my interest in making films came when I saw this film.

Tell us about your first project. What difficulties did you have in the beginning?

My first project was "Before A Painting" which I made during the year 2021. I was unknown in the Swiss film industry when the idea of making a film paying tribute to masterpieces of painting came to me. The only thing that seemed difficult at the beginning of this project was my extremely low budget to make a film that I wanted to be longer than 15min, this "difficulty" as I saw it at the beginning quickly proved to be a great ally. This film allowed me to feel the immensity of energy that a human being can have when he does something in the field that he is really passionate about.

Is it more important to have a budget, or to have the mind to find salvation solutions in critical situations?

Being able to find solutions! That's a wonderful quality for a director. Money comes and goes. A good director will always find a way to make a good movie. Whether he has money or not.

Do you think film festivals help filmmakers?

A film festival is an excellent opportunity to get feedback from film lovers on our film. It can also be the ideal connection between a talented young director and a production company.

Tell us about film production companies. Can one, as an inquisitive filmmaker, count on production companies?

Of course! A production company is an incredible thing. Except for maybe a small

handful of directors, what director can self-finance a $10 million film and release it in theaters around the world? If a production company has confidence in a competent director with vision, it can bring wonderful works to the screen. On the other hand, the director has to respect the budget and deadlines as well as other potential guidelines.

How much of the future of cinema do you think is in the hands of powerful companies like Netflix?

Cinema has always been supported by big companies. Such as RKO, Warner Bros, Paramount, or others. Netflix has made a name for itself in recent years. Although the production of a Netflix movie is similar to those of other film studios, it should not be forgotten that in its distribution, Netflix is closer to a web giant than a film studio. Many of the biggest billion-dollar box office hits in movie history, such as Star Wars 7, were released after Netflix gained notoriety. TV networks have much more to fear from Netflix than movie studios. Movies that are released in theaters and then on HBO Max are a bit like movies in the '60s that were released in theaters and then on TV. Netflix and HBO Max have become great gateways for talented young filmmakers to have their films seen by millions of people around the world with just a few clicks.

Is cinema, as some say, dead, and should we expect television and Internet broadcasts to be gaining more and more power?

Several times in the history of cinema, such as in the middle of the 60s, cinema was considered to be dying because of the television that was gaining more and more space. Then came Penn, Coppola, Spielberg, Scorcese, and many others, with a beautiful cinema that included a wonderful dramaturgy and visual storytelling that was brilliantly relevant to the dramaturgy of their film. Nowadays, several not necessarily good series available on streaming platforms are becoming very important. But cinema is still there and will always exist. It's also always the cinema that lasts in time. In the long run, producing a good quality film is more profitable than producing five series that are forgotten after a few years. There is competition in this industry. It's a sign of a well-running industry.

What skills do you think a filmmaker needs to have? Is it necessary for the filmmaker to personally understand many specialized subfields?

It is important, to make good cinema, that a director knows the subfields that constitute cinema. A director must be able to identify things, listen to others, and make decisions. Above all, he must understand his team and be its friend.

A director is also someone who knows what he wants, follows his passions, and does it with all his energy. His work becomes unique. Fellini is not De Sica and Huston is not Wilder, but all of them make wonderful cinema and that's what counts.

Tell us about your next project, please.

The great Elia Kazan had a piece of advice which was that every project should be guided by a leading word. For my next film, the word that leads it is: suspense.


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