Interview with Filmmaker Marta Renzi (HER MAGNUM OPUS)


Directed by Marta Renzi
A circle of friends gather to celebrate their mentor and learn that what lasts is those you leave behind.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Having made dozens of short films, I wanted to challenge myself to make a longer work, and one that reflected the passing of time.

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

Because I wanted to include a year’s worth of changing seasons, I knew it would take about a year just to shoot it.

Depending upon weather and the availability of those involved, the shape of it evolved gradually over that time.

It took about another year to edit it and release it. And I’m happy to report that it still gets seen 5 years later.

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

communal elegy

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

Because we shot intermittently over a long period of time, it was a juggling act to schedule the cast in such a way that it seemed like all of them stayed in the life of the main character. Fortunately, my leading lady made herself available often – and we were occasionally able to shoot scenes with just one cast member.

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

Almost more than the specific things that people said, I was happily struck by the range of audience members: in age, gender, race, native language.

I appreciated that each person used a slightly a different vocabulary or came at it from a different point of view.

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

It happened sort of gradually. In 1981, and then again in 1989, I was invited to make half-hour works for public television. I loved it, and wanted to do more. But I couldn’t afford to self-produce until about 2005 when equipment and software became cheap and accessible. It’s only lately that I’ve actually allowed myself to identify as a filmmaker rather than a choreographer who makes films.

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

Funny, I don’t actually re-watch movies often. I will always watch Fellini’s La Strada

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’ve been interested lately in sharing retrospectives of my work – there’s a lot of it, quite varied, and over the course of almost 15 years.

I don’t know if that works for festivals, though….

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

Very positive. Does anyone else remember WithoutaBox?

10. What is your favorite meal?

Anything shared with friends and family.

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

Lucky me, I always have something new in the works: Currently, I have a few dance films making the rounds. And look for a feature film which I edited and co-produced, called Guardians of the Flame featuring the multi-talented Harrison family and the masking culture of New Orleans.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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