Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Andrea Cavuoto (UNDERDOG)

UNDERDOG was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2021 Crime/Thriller Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

An Insurance company… That was the starting point. I was working for an Insurance commercial in the US and they wanted an alligator-like Mascotte. The first draft I sent was rejected because it was too funny. I eventually changed it completely and made a new version for them. So I thought what about the old funny gator I made? I can use it for something, maybe he can have a story, a family… and that’s how Al Gatore was born. From there I built everything else. When you start adding layers to a story and building the world around it, it’s impossible to stop until the idea is born, in a form or another.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Roughly one year. From the “I want to make a movie” moment to the final export.
The movie took longer to write than to produce, the actual production was less than 4 months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Smooth Criminal

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The hardest part was to scrap ideas… We had so many characters, locations, and plots we wanted to develop. The hardest part was to stay lucid and keep telling myself, and the team, that less is more. An idea can get easily out of hand and grow bigger until it’s a 3 hours movie we cannot afford to produce. We had a 4 months production time, so we could not go off-road. We had to stay true to the soul of the movie and make that good.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was incredible to see people from the other side of the world enjoying your movie and pointing out all the small and hidden details you sprinkled here and there. They were not only the casual audience but passionate people with a keen eye that dissected every aspect of Underdog very accurately. I could not be happier and satisfied as a director.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’m a senior animator, I’ve studied and worked in the animation industry for more than fifteen years.
During my early years as an animator, to improve my craft, I realized I had to learn how to move a camera, how to frame my characters better, how to lit them properly to convey a message, or simply make a nice reel. I did not realize I was studying as a film director. It was a natural evolution. There was a point in time when I said: “Hey… you have 3d actors, a set, props, camera, and lights. Why don’t you make a short film?” And I did, and it was terrible.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings about the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway changed everything, can you imagine filling up hundreds of different forms to submit your movie!? I did it in the past and it was a pain. This platform is really well designed, this way a filmmaker can focus on what really matters: the movie.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Sometimes stereotypes are true… I’m Italian and I love pizza.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

We had to contain the overflow of ideas raining down for Underdog… so many ideas that we realized we have to expand this world. We are now officially looking for an investor who can help us produce Underdog, the TV Serie.
We want to expand our team, build new stories and reach more people.
Thanks to this festival we might find the right person who wants to bet on the Underdogs.

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