GIVE US A SMILE, 13min., USA
Directed by Alessia Fionda
A humorous retelling of the sitting of the Mona Lisa featuring the master himself, Leonardo da Vinci and his not so talented pupil, Alessio.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I was motivated to make this film because the script I had written encompassed everything I love. Women's issues both past and present, art history and of course my favorite, comedy. The Mona Lisa is the most recognizable and discussed piece of art in existence, yet there is little to no information regarding the subject of the painting, Lisa del Giocondo. I wanted to add a colorful reinterpretation of what could have happened during the sitting. Also, I deeply wanted to play the character of Mona Lisa and challenge myself from an acting perspective.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The idea came to me in Spring of 2021 and the script came together about a week after. After a bit of an acting drought at the end of 2021, I had the itch to direct something, even though I had never done it before nor had I been to film school. I started mapping out the process and trying to figure out how to even make a film. After seven months of hard work, we filmed for two days in July of 2022. My film premiered in July of 2023.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Satirical & Surprising
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle that we faced was out of our two days of filming, one of the entire days of audio was lost. Thankfully, I had excellent actors and an even better editor. No ADR was needed!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was so overwhelmed in the best way possible. I knew that the film resonated with a certain audience (mainly family and friends), but it was a whole different experience having it resonate with total strangers. Hearing their interpretations and commentary on the films made me feel both proud and understood. Since I am now on both the filmmaking and acting side of the industry, I am all too well aware of rejection and people not believing in you. The feedback video gave me the drive to get back to writing my next screenplay!
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I have been acting for the better part of 6 years now. A lot of that time has been spent sitting and waiting. Not every acting experience is very collaborative. I enrolled in a playwriting class in my last semester of college and loved every minute of it. I always have had a knack for storytelling, but it has been seldom that I have written them down, largely since Barbie's were my introduction to storytelling. I had a script that I loved (Give Us A Smile) and thought I would give filmmaking a go!
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The film I have seen the most in my life would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I know it is more than one film, but one does not simply watch one LOTR film at a time. I started watching the trilogy when I was 4 and have always loved the spectacle of it all!
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
My experience with this festival has been lovely. Having more of a social media presence for this festival in particular could be useful. I have been sharing festival acceptances on Instagram, I wish I could've tagged the festival!
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 submit to festivals! The gold membership is most certainly worth it as well. I have nothing but great things to say about the platform.
10. What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is most certainly sushi. It is the one food that I truly crave. Sushi is always best when shared with your favorite people (to try as many rolls as possible of course).
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I have some upcoming acting projects that I am very excited about. What I am even more excited about is that I am currently writing a screenplay (another period piece of course) that will feature some of my favorite themes; feminism and humor!