Roberto Strazzarino is 69 years old and was born in Italy. He is the son of parents who worked in the Italian film factory called “Ferrania” and has been a self-taught filmmaker since the times of 8mm. His development as a filmmaker, which began in the darkness of 1960’s cinemas, was fundamental. The proximity of the film factory sparked the desire to try his own hand at filmmaking and the use of the 8mm camera helped create familiarity with the medium. His participation in “in camera editing” competitions has favoured the development of a strong sense of visual storytelling which allows, through careful planning and detailed storyboarding, to shoot each scene almost as it will be seen on the screen, without having to rely on heavy coverage and editing. His passion for film has remained alive/present throughout his life, also thanks to his attendance at the Venice Film Festival as a correspondent for private radio stations and specialized magazines since 1979, the year of the festival’s relaunch with Carlo Lizzani. Since his retirement he has dedicated himself full-time to his passion of filmmaking. He has attended film courses at the Sentieri Selvaggi School in Rome and at the Holden School in Turin. In 2019 he enrolled at New York University - Tisch School of the Arts where he took the course “Sight and Sound Filmmaking.”
Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about?
The year is 1968. Five teenage boys dream of running a movie theater in which they will not show pro-war films.
One summer afternoon Giò, Delfo, Max, Ricky and Paolo learn to become trusted friends, indispensable to one another.
A coming-of-age, adventure film about friendship, one with small but large rebellious acts that signal the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.
What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
I've preferred to use the so called "street casting". I wanted to have fresh teen-agers, take them by the hand and drive them into the story with the help of an acting coach. I didn't want teaching them how to act, but how to become the characters.
How did you communicate with the cameraman?
I've prepared a detailed storyboard with camera angles and lenses information. We did a lot of walkthroughs. Once on set we were staging the camera together according to the storyboard, but sometimes I've decided to change the storyboard according to the cameraman advice.
What locations did you choose for your project? And why
Our film age is 1968. We've prepared a basement full of posters and patches as teen-age boys were used to do in the sixties on their dens. We've also shot in a ruins castle that have the required flavor of adventure and danger. For the scene of betrayal nothing was better than an old, decrepit and dirt toilet.
Why should distributors buy your film?
Because Pentaclub is a film about friendship, both on the screen and behind the scenes. In fact, a group of friends, who met in the 1960s, was essential to the film's production. The director wrote the screenplay together with his wife, while their friends worked on the production design and the costumes.
Because is a film were five boys dream of running a movie theater in which they will not show pro-war films.
Because the audience love stories set in the goldens sixties.
Because is a film full of emotions and adventure.
What expression elements did you use in your project? How would you characterize your work?
The author talks about a topic with which he is familiar, setting the young characters in the Sixties. He presents them with an experience they must go through and where their motivation to act relies on a sense of belonging.
Their dream is considerable, that of running a movie theater in which pro-war films will not be screened.
The adversities for the realization of their dream generate conflicts among the characters: they all behave in ways that put their own selves before the others.
With dedication and an ever-growing desire to create human connections, the characters finally find a balance between their individualism and their relationships with other people. They eventually become a team, they become The Club of Five (Pentaclub) and they understand they are trusted friends, indispensable to one another.
While the dream is what is at stake consciously, the unity of the group turns out to be the unconscious challenge.
The author's personal experience, transposed into the story, provides a sense of uniqueness and authenticity to the experience of the characters.
The actions in the film, so distant in time, become the means to talk about timeless, universal values.
To visually narrate the transformation of the characters, the director favors, first, the use of shots that highlight the individual actions of the characters (master & coverage). Furthermore, as the group grows into self-awareness, the director progressively adopts the point of view of the group itself, with planned long takes in which the camera and the group move with increasing harmony.
At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
PENTACLUB (The Club of Five), short film directed by Roberto Strazzarino: festivals and awards summary.
- London Director Awards 2023/24 (UK) – Winner as Best Short Script and Best Art Director at the summer edition.
- Berlin Indie Film Festival 2023 (Germany) – Winner as Best First Time Director, Short Film (August 2023)
- Montecatini International Short Film Festival 2023 (Italy) – Winner as Best Short Film. Screening on October 19th, 2023
- Montreal Independent Film Festival 2023 (Canada) - A Nominee in the Best Composer and Best First-Time Filmmaker category at the seasonal competition. (July 2023)
- Giove International Film Festival 2023 (Italy) - Winner as Best First-Time Filmmaker Short. Screening on August 20th, 2023.
- Independent Shorts Awards 2023 (Los Angeles, USA) - Winner as Best Short of the Season (Special Jury Award) and also as Best Indie Short, Best Children Short, Best Male Director, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Original Story (September 2023).
- Monza Film Fest 2023 (Italy) – Winner as Best Screenplay at July/August session.
- Venice Shorts Film Awards (Los Angeles USA) – Winner as Best Editing (Fall 2023).
- Budapest Short Cut Film Festival 2023 (Hungary) – Winner as Best Production Design (September 2023)
- Manhattan Independent Film Festival 2023 (USA) – Official Selection
- Bratislava International Film Awards (Slovakia) – Winner as Best Short Film and Best Cinematography (August 2023). Screening in 2024.
- New York Cinematography Awards 2023 (USA) – Winner as Best Film of the Month and also as Best Cinematography, Best Producer, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Film Poster (July 2023).
- Rabat International Children and Family Film Festival 2023 (Morocco) – Official Selection. Screening on Novembre 16th, 2023
- Greece International Film festival 2023 (Atene) - Honorable Mention
- Rome Indie Film Festival (Italy) – Winner as Best Cinematography (October 2023).
- Theta Short Film Festival 2023 (Nola, Italy) – Winner as Best Italian Short Film. Screening on Novembre 30th, 2023
- Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival 2023 – Winner as Best Foreign Film. Screening on December 10th 2023 at The Hudson Theater, Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood CA
- Producer's Night (Los Angeles) – Official Selection – Screening on December 8th, 2023
What motivated you to become a filmmaker?
Roberto Strazzarino is 69 years old and was born in Italy. He is the son of parents who worked in the Italian film factory called "Ferrania" and has been a self-taught filmmaker since the times of 8mm.
His development as a filmmaker, which began in the darkness of 1960's cinemas, was fundamental.
The proximity of the film factory sparked the desire to try his own hand at filmmaking and the use of the 8mm camera helped create familiarity with the medium.
His participation in "in camera editing" competitions has favoured the development of a strong sense of visual storytelling which allows, through careful planning and detailed storyboarding, to shoot each scene almost as it will be seen on the screen, without having to rely on heavy coverage and editing.
His passion for film has remained alive/present throughout his life, also thanks to his attendance at the Venice Film Festival as a correspondent for private radio stations and specialized magazines since 1979, the year of the festival's relaunch with Carlo Lizzani.
Since his retirement he has dedicated himself full-time to his passion of filmmaking. He has attended film courses at the Sentieri Selvaggi School in Rome and at the Holden School in Turin. In 2019 he enrolled at New York University - Tisch School of the Arts where he took the course "Sight and Sound Filmmaking."
Which movies are your favorites? And why?
Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone) because it is telling a story of friendship and because it manipulates the time.
The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino) because it is telling a story of friendship.
Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood).
What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
I like to be on set. This is the moment I like the most. I like to start from a very chaotic situation and eventually to streamline it and transform it in a source of art and emotions.
What genre do you like to shoot and why?
I like to shoot many genres: coming-of-age, detection, drama.
What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?
I have a treatment that combines a detection story and a story of friendship. I would like to shoot it!
What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
I listening to music. I like rock and rock and roll, both American and British.
I read books.
What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
As I mentioned before, I would like to shoot a film based on my treatment that merges a detection story and a story of friendship. I would also be happy to shoot a film based on a good script, no matter the genre.