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New Directors/New Films ’10 | Directing Duo on the Documentary Approach They Took to “La Pivellina”

New Directors/New Films '10 | Directing Duo on the Documentary Approach They Took to "La Pivellina"

Looking for her lost dog, a middle-aged circus worker, Patti (Patrizia Gerardi), instead finds an abandoned two-year old child in a playground. In this engaging unsentimental tale of human decency and solidarity, the little orphan finds home and family with circus folks in a trailer park on the outskirts of Rome. As they search for the mother, Patti and her friends and neighbors slowly but surely fall in love with the kid.

Drawing on their background in documentary, filmmakers Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel naturally depict the easygoing rapport among generations in a small community where everybody depends on one another. The superb acting brings us close to a marginalized group rarely depicted with such unpretentious dignity, showing their joie de vivre and infectious family spirit. [Synopsis provided by New Directors/New Films]

Editor’s Note: This is one interview in a series profiling directors whose films are screening at the 2010 New Directors/New Films Festival.

“La Pivellina”
Directors: Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
Producer: Rainer Frimmel
Cast: Patrizia Gerardi, Asia Crippa, Tairo Caroli, Walter Saabel
Writer: Tizza Covi
Editor: Tizza Covi
101 Minutes

Directors Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel on how they met, and were lured into filmmaking…

We met at the academy for photography in Vienna. We began to develop photographic projects, then we decided to make our first documentary movie called, “That’s All.” We consider filmmaking also as a way to enter in different worlds and ways of living and to share these experiences with the audience.

The two on why they chose to make “La Pivellina”…

We wanted to make a portrait of a small community living at the margins of society, away from stereotypes and prejudices.
The screenplay was a 30-page plot. We developed the plot every day with the  actors on the set. All dialogues are improvised.

Directors Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel. Photo courtesy of New Directors/New Films.

On their love of the documentary approach to filmmaking…

The documentary approach is what interests us the most in terms of filmmaking. What reality gives you just can’t be reenacted. We need the freedom to work without a precise script, without a big team and without the pressure of being successful at any cost.

Their biggest challenge on the production…

Being only a two person team.

The team on their inspirations…

Pasolini’s “Mamma Roma“  and Werner Herzog’s “Stroszek“

And on their next collaboration…

A movie about a stage actor and his strange uncle.

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