Luigi Rossi and his directing partner, Enrico Granato, drew on philosophy, economics, and traditions of Italian storytelling from Boccaccio to Pasolini for their remarkable film, The Sale of an Appetite. A diabolical tale of what happens when The Haves have too much, it is filled with unforgettable imagery — and questions. Together they are the winners of a Dusty Award from the prestigious Independent Film Project.
As a student filmmaker in his final year of school, I wanted to create a project that I could show to people outside of the comfortable academic environment without being afraid of being judged as the typical film with the “student look.” I wanted to craft something that I could use for my future career as a filmmaker and producer.
In my 4 years of experience in college, the most important lesson I’ve learned is: NEVER TRY TO MAKE A FILM ON YOUR OWN. I’ve seen too many friends and fellow students take on the massive task of writing, producing, directing, and sometimes even editing their own movies. Filmmaking is a creative process that involves a collective, not just one mind. I had a script I really wanted to produce lying in my closet for over two years, when I had the luck to meet a great person (and friend), Enrico Granato, who just so happened to be a very talented director. I knew it was the right moment to take that script out of the closet and start working on it.
In my sophomore year at SVA, I had randomly stumbled upon this weird short story written by Paul LaFargue, Karl Marx’s nephew. I was reading a book on economics, and in the footnotes of the book it mentioned a story called “The Sale of an Appetite.” It was a metaphor for the capitalistic economy. I was immediately curious; I looked up the story and when I read it, I knew I wanted it to turn it into a short film. The message and the atmosphere conveyed by the author were so compelling that within a few hours of reading it, I had already written a first draft It would take me two more years to really start preproduction, but I believe it was worth the wait.
Enrico and I talked about the story, the message we wanted to put out, and the kind of atmosphere and vision that the film should have. At first, it wasn’t easy to see it take a form I didn’t imagine it could take, but I had complete faith in Enrico and we started re-writing. As the script was coming together, we started recruiting our crew and sharing with them about the shape the story was taking. Every single individual gave us great insights and a different perspective. We would dismiss some ideas, but other times our eyes were opened to possibilities that we had missed. They had been there in front of us since the start, we just needed someone else show us.
The 6 months that we needed to develop this project were one long adrenaline rush. Enrico and I are based in NYC but we decided to shoot back in our hometown –Rome, Italy. Everyday, regardless of time difference, we would talk with all of our crew in Rome, in order to touch base on everything that we needed to do to and be as prepared as possible for the doom…I mean shoot date.
Although we both were terrified as the beginning of production approached, we had put so much work in scheduling and preparing ourselves with our crew, actors, locations and services that some days we would freak out just because we didn’t have more to organize. The saying is “you’re never too prepared,” and it’s true. As a filmmaker you live with the constant anxiety that you should be doing more. Do not despair, everyone feels it, and if you’re actually working and still have that feeling that means that you’re doing well.
The 5 production days were overflowing and amazing. If the first 6 months was an adrenaline rush, these 5 days were its peak. No sleep, no rest, a lot of stress but at the end of it — I was the happiest person on this planet. And I owe it all to the people that worked with me and made this project come to life the way it did.
Shooting in Rome was an incredible experience. I hadn’t worked much with Italians in the film industry and I have to say it was very interesting. I wouldn’t have expected such a high level of talent and attention to detail. We are known to be somewhat lazy people that enjoy swimming and tanning every day…. Well, all of the people I met were incredibly dedicated to the project, and thanks to their talent and attention, they elevated the whole production. Obviously, another plus of shooting in our hometown was that we were able to ask favors from people who have known us fall of our lives. Most of them didn’t understand what it means to have a production going on your space. Letting us shoot in all of the locations we used was a huge sign of their faith in Enrico and me. Let’s just say that know we owe them a big favor!
Again, I cannot stress enough how important the support of every single individual was. Enrico and I could have never made it on our own. This film proved my core belief: YOU CANNOT MAKE MOVIES ON YOUR OW