Victoria Fiore • Director of Hide and Seek

– The director talked to us about the process of making her first feature film, shot entirely in the Spanish quarter of Naples

Featured at this year’s CPH:DOX, Victoria Fiorefeature debut of , the Italian-British co-production hide and seek [+see also:
film review
interview: Victoria Fiore
film profile
, recounts the harsh daily life of Entoni, who has just turned twelve at the start of the film and who lives in the Spanish quarter of Naples. We jumped at the chance to interview the director, to talk about the long production process of her project and the intense emotional journey she experienced, in close contact with a family living on the margins of Neapolitan society. .

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Cineuropa: When and how did you start working on this project?
Victoria Flora: It is difficult to determine the exact moment when I started working on this project, because everything was done very spontaneously. I led a cinema workshop. A social worker from the Association of Spanish Quarters, who is also a friend of mine, Eleonora Dell’Aquila, showed me videos of children describing Naples using expressions typically associated with this region, and these children asked to film the “cippo” [the annual St. Anthony celebrations organised by the Quarters]. We involved them in the project, we gave them GoPro cameras and we asked them to tell us about this tradition. This would become our first hardware, which we then used to develop hide and seek. It was through this experience that I met Entoni. He was particularly interested in the camera. He wanted to shoot Titanic on the beach with his cousin and tell us about his dreams and his neighborhood. He showed real creativity. Then we met Dora [Addolorata, Entoni’s grandma], who really loved what we were doing. She invited me for coffee asking me who I was and what exactly I was doing. Initially, she did not want to be filmed. […] Over time, Addolorata was happy that we were filming her more and more [freely]. It was a long journey of four years.

Did you encounter any technical difficulties?
80% of the time my cinematographer [Alfredo De Juan] and I was doing the filming. The spaces involved were tiny and it turned out to be a great decision to film in these, as it allowed us to maintain a sense of intimacy with our subjects. We did not work according to the deadlines set. Everything had to be totally improvised, always. It was probably the hardest thing to deal with. On the other hand, it worked well for us, as it meant we could film a reality that felt more “lively”. It’s hard to follow the daily life in the Neighborhoods.

Has the family seen the film? How did they react?
The first to see the film were the lawyer and the social worker. Then Dora saw him. Before showing him the film, I showed him the whole script and also talked to the whole family, so that they knew more or less what to expect. Dora liked it very much. Then we showed it to everyone else. Right from the start, Natalia [Entoni’s mother] kissed me and we cried together. She thanked us for telling an authentic story. Gaetano [Entoni’s younger brother] also liked. We want to bring him to Napoli in June. It’s part of our plan.

How did you work with the film’s composer, CJ Mirra?
We worked a lot together. Naples is a claustrophobic place where there is not a single second of silence. I didn’t expect to create the “musical party” effect in the film. For starters, we wanted an electronica-based soundtrack because Naples is modern, cinematic, and so many other things. When I hear CJ MirraI liked the sound work of , with its almost “liminal” quality. It is halfway between music and sound design, between melody and background music. It’s the kind of music that touches your soul without being too overwhelming. And the story seems so real it can’t be true, if that makes sense…

Yes, as a viewer, I felt like I was watching a very realistic but fictional film.
We wanted to give it this fictional aspect, almost beyond reality. Music helps to transport us into this world which is no longer a documentary, it goes beyond.

How has this experience changed you as a human being?
The process of making a film is definitely incredibly intense and it changes a lot of things. It’s hard not to get cynical, it’s a struggle. Sometimes things happen right before your eyes that make you want to lose hope. It’s naive to make a documentary thinking that we’re going to change things. But it was important to be there throughout the process and to accompany the characters until the end, offering them the necessary support. It is definitely an empowering experience.

What will be your next project?
I’m writing a feature film based on a true story, set in northern Italy and called Aida.

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(Translated from Italian)

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