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In Conversation with Nicole Favarelli, director of Chocolate Tronchetto

Nicole Favarelli has recently graduated from MetFilm School and has already had a movie on the festival circuit and another one finalised earlier this year, entitled ‘Chocolate Tronchetto’. Her short film beautifully depicts the relationship between a grandmother and her niece, the generational difficulties, and the possibilities of reconciliation.

Credit - Nicole Favarelli

Greta Fazzi: Let’s start from the beginning, tell me about your studies and how you came to choose film school.

Nicole Favarelli: I had a passion for cinema since childhood, and after high school I wanted to travel and move away from Italy. I had already taken film lessons in high school and so I chose MetFilm School because I was struck by the practical part. Film school gave me everything, taught me everything I know, and gave me the chance to create my portfolio.

GF: How do you choose the ideas that you want to develop?

NF: I just follow my instincts. I find ideas everywhere in my day-to-day life, but those that I choose to pursue are ideas that intrigue me but I can’t explain why. When there is something unresolved on my part towards a certain theme or story I know it's the right thing to explore. It makes the process heavy because you are working on something that you didn’t solve before. I spend most of my days banging my head against the wall, but when I decipher the situation I know that I own the film and the project.

GF: What was the inspiration for ‘Chocolate Tronchetto’ ?

NF: I had the idea of the project last Christmas. Back in Italy, my family tested positive [for COVID-19] and so after flying back for the holidays I had to stay two weeks with my grandmother, who lives in a town near my family. She was very happy, while I felt isolated and far from friends and family. Initially, it was difficult for me, however, one day I decided to make coffee for me and my grandmother and I asked her how she was doing. And it was like opening Pandora’s box, she told me what the pandemic was like for her, how she felt alone after the loss of my grandfather, and, after three hours of conversation, I realised how much I took her for granted. I comprehended how important grandparents are, how lonely she must have felt. I spent the first few days thinking it was a punishment, while this Christmas was unique, and this moved something in me.

GF: What is your writing process?

NF: In most cases I have a precise image in mind, then I start developing it through the classical script structure to start shaping the general form of the story. Once I have a general idea of the scenes, I start writing straight off. Then I do some research and decide what to adjust and remove the things that don't work. Once I have everything I deliver the material to my writer. In the case of ‘Chocolate Tronchetto’, I wrote the first ten drafts and my writer took care of the last three versions. Because I am not a native speaker I prefer her to take care of the final drafts.

GF: What were the next steps?

NF: I found most collaborators inside the university, students but also professors, like the director of photography who was willing to help. Then it took us about a month to find locations and the cast.

GF: Now that ‘Chocolate Tronchetto’ is almost ready, do you have any other projects that you're working on?

NF: I still have my previous short in the festival circuit, while ‘Chocolate Tronchetto’ is to be submitted to the festivals as soon as we finalise it. I’m also writing another script and today I have a meeting with a director for the role of assistant director in his next feature.

GF: Do you have fears or concerns?

NF: I have never had any fears, simply because I have seen so many people in this industry as well as classmates who have made it, the only way is to try. I’m young and I have plenty of time. Maybe in a few years, one of my projects will take me to a higher level, and if that doesn’t happen I’m going to be an adult with tons of shorts!

GF: To conclude, I was wondering if, as an Italian, you are considering working there one day.

NF: I love European cinema, and the Italian tradition is so rich that the current situation is such a waste of culture, my biggest dream is to help boost the Italian film industry. I would like to open a public school of cinema in Italy and support young people who want to create and work in the film industry.

‘Chocolate Tronchetto’ was awarded Best Original Score by Los Angeles Cinematography AWARDS 2022

Edited by Saffron Brown Davis, Film & TV Editor


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