Interview with Filmmaker Luca Massimiliano Pizzoleo (In the Valley of the Moon)

IN THE VALLEY OF THE MOON, 29min,. USA, Crime/Action
Directed by Luca Massimiliano Pizzoleo
In the Valley of the Moon, follows a young man working as a hitman for the Italian mob in 1977. He takes a job in Petaluma, California, posing as a potential buyer at an open house to confront the realtor who he suspects has a sinister connection to his past.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

As an Italian-American I grew up on all the classic mob movies like “Goodfellas”, “The Godfather” and “The King of New York”. These films hold a special place in my heart, it’s long been a goal of mine to tackle a film in this class. ‘In the Valley of the Moon’ simply put is my love letter to the genre. I wanted to pay homage by creating a visceral and engaging aesthetic similar to the very things that inspired me to become a filmmaker.

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

It took close to four months from conception to a final product.

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

Subverts expectations.

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

Maintaining period accuracy was one of our main goals coming into the film, It was also the most challenging aspect. We didn’t have a production or costume designer, so in turn I took on that responsibility myself. I spent numerous hours at antique malls, prop houses and thrift stores to help breathe life into each character and location. I used photoshop to create some of the key screen used props (ie: real estate sign, business cards, etc.) Outside of finding 70s accurate locations and props. I think one of the most difficult parts was locking down our 67′ Mustang. They don’t tell you that if you want to rent a vintage car, you need to be at least 30 (I’m 24).

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

I was extremely pleased to hear the positive feedback from the audience members. It was a joy to hear them pull their favorite moments from our film and praise our cast and crew for all the hard work we put into the project.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

My journey as a filmmaker began at the young age of 5. My father had gotten home from work and turned on the TV. He flipped to the usual, TCM. They were running a Hitchcock special, starting with the 63′ classic ‘Birds’. In hindsight I was probably a little young to be watching a horror film about murderous Birds but my Mom wasn’t around to change the channel, so I sat with my eyes glued. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make movies. It has been an obsession ever since.

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

“Singin’ in the Rain”. Not only is it one of my favorite films of all time but truly a comforting and nostalgic film from my childhood.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I love every aspect of the festival so far, I appreciate the in depth feedback video from audience members and I’m thrilled to be invited on to the podcast for an interview. This festival has placed focus on the filmmakers which I’m sure is greatly appreciated by any filmmaker who submits.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway has been a phenomenal tool to all filmmakers, I find it extremely intuitive and easy to use. I remember back in the day when Withoutabox was our only online festival submission form. Now with FilmFreeway we have all the great aspects of Withoutabox plus much more.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My moms homemade pasta radicchio.

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

I believe “In the Valley of the Moon” has major potential to become a larger piece, whether that’s a feature film or mini series, I have many ideas that could take this concept to the next level. I will continue to promote and champion this project, but in the meantime, I have already completed production on my next project, a dark comedy entitled “The Tragic Death of a Frenchman”, Which follows two best friends who accidentally kill their French drug dealer, and now must decide what to do with the body.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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