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May 21, 2011

Nokia Shorts: Finalist 4 (of 8): Sand

30 year old Joe Marcantonio is our fourth Nokia Shorts finalist. He’s a huge Arsenal fan and also owns what he describes as ‘an ever expanding collection of stills cameras’. Let’s find out a bit more about Joe and his short, Sand.

What inspired your short-story pitch?

I really enjoy working on very short films, trying to tell a complex story in a simple way.

You always find with post-apocalyptic movies that people have punk haircuts and drive gas-guzzling muscle cars. It has always bothered me, as I imagine both hair-gel and petrol would be hard to find. I wanted to do it in a truthful way.


Who inspires you?

Other than my wife, people like Werner Herzog. His ‘Herzog on Herzog’ book is the most inspiring film book I’ve ever read. I met him once and he was really nice.


Why are you passionate about films?

Without getting too deep, I’ll just say that film is a wonderful and inspiring medium. It can involve and effect it’s audience more that any other art form, bar-none.


What is your favourite short film?

I really love ‘Death to the Tin Man’ by Ray Tintori. The budget didn’t get in the way of telling a really unique, fun and interesting story.


What is your favourite film of all time? Why did it leave such an impression on you?

I’m sure everyone has cheated and gone for two or three. I’m going for two.

If there is one film I will watch all the way through, every time it is on TV, it is Back to the Future. I know it is very mainstream, and isn’t as cool as namedropping Fritz Lang but it really has the most brilliant script, full of clever and subtle set-ups and pay-offs. It’s brilliantly entertaining and very, very clever.

The joint-first is ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ by Powell & Pressburger. They were better than David Lean, but don’t get the credit. It’s a brilliant, life-changing, beautiful movie. It was so far ahead if it’s time.


Who is your favourite director?

Too many to mention but the one I admire most is Stanley Kubrick – he never made a bad movie, and never worked in the same genre twice. He made one of the best War films (Full Metal Jacket), Sci-Fi (2001), Horror (The Shining), Period Drama (Barry Lyndon) and Comedy (Dr Strangelove). Add Spartacus, The Killing and Clockwork Orange to that list and you can appreciate he was pretty special. Hitchcock, Herzog and Scorsese are great, but they have each made a couple of stinkers. Quality over quantity.


What was the first film you’d ever seen?

I remember watching the BBC film of ’A Picture Of Dorian Gray’ when I was very young. It totally freaked me out when the guy smashed up the picture at the end and turned old. I watched it again recently and it still freaks me out.


Have you ever met a film star?

I used to work for Ridley Scott’s production company but in two years I only met him twice. One time I got a nod and a hello, the other time we had a chat in the lift. He was very nice.


Described the best scene ever committed to film

I’m going for the opening of ‘A Matter of Life and Death’. David Niven is in a badly damaged bomber plane about to crash on the way home over the channel. He has selflessly given all the parachutes to his crew, made sure they are OK, but has none left for himself. He’s going down with his ship.

He gets through on the radio to Kim Hunter… I’ll never do the dialogue justice by writing it out here, but safe to say it is funny, tragic, romantic, silly, serious and probably amongst the best ever written. It has me in floods of tears every time. Astoundingly brilliant.


Name a memorable moment in your life

Any memorable moment? I got married last year, and my wife is brilliant. As for my career, I’m still hoping my best years are ahead of me.


It’s the 100th anniversary of the first Hollywood studio, what are your thoughts on its legacy

Mainstream films are in a terrible state, but they have been since the discovery of the blockbuster in the 70s. As great as Jaws and Star Wars are, they screwed everything up for the rest of us! but I’m hopeful. The biggest hurdle is working out how to deal with illegal downloading and digital platforms. People are getting used to watching films for free and that is not a good thing.


Thanks Joe, we look forward to watching Sand which you can see the pitch for here!

Sand from Joe Marcantonio on Vimeo.