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With the 12th annual Screamfest L.A. Film Festival running this Friday, October 12th, thru the 20th, we chatted with True Love Italian producers and screenwriters Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, regarding their psychological abduction flick.
Look for its LA debut this coming Sunday, October 14th, at 6:00pm. Read on for the trailer and exclusive stills!
Written and produced by Guaglione and Resinaro (with other producer credits going to Mario Gianani, Lorenzo Mieli, Fausto Brizzi, Marco Martani and Peter Safran) and directed by Enrico Clerico Nasino, True Love stars Ellen Hollman, John Brotherton, Gabriel Myers, Jay Harrington, Clare Carey and Tyrees Allen, and (according to the film’s synopsis) revolves around, ’Kate and Jack, late 20’s, who on the surface are happy. But like everyone, they carry secrets that neither is prepared to reveal. After their wedding they awake from a deep sleep, each alone in a sealed room with no doors or windows – only images projected on the walls and a monitor with two buttons: one for ‘yes’ and one for ‘no.’ As the horror of their situation unfolds, surveillance films showing their life together appear on the wall, while the monitor starts asking terrifying questions. It soon becomes apparent that a bizarre test of their relationship is underway, and the secrets revealed lead them deeper and deeper into what could not just destroy their love, but threaten their very lives.’
Chatting with the writers/producers, Guaglione told us of their inspiration for True Love, “As writers/directors we’ve been developing movie projects for years. It’s a long process every time, so we decided to actually make a movie instead of developing another one. Therefore, the spark that generated True Love actually was, ‘What’s the best story we can create with the minimum budget possible?’
From here, in order to kill costs, we had the idea of using only a bunch of actors, one main location and some ‘stolen found footage’ from hidden cameras. That’s how we came to the main concept of True Love: spying on the daily life of common people, recording their secrets, trapping a husband and wife in two separate rooms, and making them watch their recordings, and test them regarding the strength and the truthfulness of their true love.”
“So, our inspiration was very pragmatic,” added Resinaro, “but one thing was clear in our minds creatively speaking from the beginning. We wanted to use the rules of the thriller and horror genres in order to tell a story that ultimately is a love story. We always wanted to focus on the characters, their feelings, and their love story.”
“Therefore, we didn’t have direct inspirations from other movies,” Resinaro continued. “Even if we can say this movie probably would have not existed without works such as the first Saw or The Cube, and while they are the most recognizable influences you can see in our feature, they are not the deepest. In fact, speaking of influences, we feel that Silent Hill, Inception and most of all “Lost” all had major impacts in the shaping of True Love.”
As for their scripting process, “We approached the writing as a real inner journey, and we wrote the script in a couple of weeks,” offered Resinaro. “Yes, we had noted down the main turning points for the three acts, but we tried to imagine to ‘be trapped inside the room’ while writing the screenplay. That’s how, as an example, the idea of the device with the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ buttons came to Guaglione. He was just imagining being inside that evil room, and that device was perfect to embody the conflicts and the themes of the movie, so we used it.”
“Having for the entire movie our characters trapped in a room,” added Guaglione, “we needed a lot of twists and turns for the plot, so we kind of tried to have a twist every three minutes. That led us to a number of subplots and connections that makes in our opinion the movie very thrilling and entertaining, even if we don’t have buildings that explode, or big superhero fights. If you watch the movie two or three times, you’ll be able to catch more details, and more nuances, that will help you create your own theory about what really happened inside, and outside, the room.”
With the script complete, the duo undertook the more daunting task of finding funding for True Love.
“We came from the independent filmmaking world of music videos and short movies, so we wrote something that we knew we were able to make with a micro-budget,” Resinaro stated. “Then we went to Italian producers that usually make domestic comedies for millions of Euros, and we asked them, ‘Do you want to have an international cult thriller that you could make for ten percent of the budget that you usually invest to make one single Italian comedy feature film?’ We knew they just couldn’t say, ‘No’. The problem then was ours. We had to work for a couple of years using every single drop of our energy, tears and blood, without making a single Euro from it!”
With the ‘cinematic’ scenes filmed on the Canon 5D, the production employed handy cam, GoPro, cell phones, spy and web cams for the ‘found footage’ segments, shooting True Love for one week in Los Angeles, CA, with another three weeks of principle photography outside Milan, Italy, where the set of ‘the room’ had been constructed.
“Even if it’s a micro-budget movie, there’s a certain production value on every frame, visually and acoustically speaking,” said Guaglione. “Some line producers that saw the movie asked us, ‘You spent 2 million dollars, right?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, right. Just kill one zero, and you’ll be nearer to our budget.’”
“Even the postproduction was done very indie,” added Resinaro. “Consider only two people working on all the editing, only two people working on all the VFX, or only four people working on all the sound and music. Combine all that with our perfectionism, and we had eight months of post-production, from editing to final 5.1 mix.”
As for the current status of True Love’s festival tour and distribution, “We’re currently living the festival and international sales phase,” Resinaro said. “We attended London Sci Fi, Shanghai International Film Festival, Rome Fantafestival, Ljutomer Grossman Festival, Sopot Film Festival and LA Scream Fest now. Next stops are Bruges’ Razor Reel Film Festival and Abertoir National Horror Film Festival.”
“Even if the movie hasn’t been officially released in any country yet, TF1, the international sales agency, sold the movie in more than twenty territories and more than sixty countries,” added Guaglione. “True Love doesn’t have a US/Canada distributor yet though, and we really hope something will change after LA Screamfest!”
“An American distributor would probably allow us to realize True Love Part 2, and wouldn’t that be lovely?” concluded Resinaro with a wink.
Tickets to the US premiere of True Love at Screamfest can be purchased by clicking here.
Tickets to the Opening Night Film & Party of Screamfest can be purchased here, full festival passes can be purchased here, and the full schedule can be found here. For more info follow Screamfest (official site here) on Twitter or Facebook.
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