Award-winning Writer and Director Diego Vicentini discusses his new film “Simón”

Diego Vicentini is a Venezuelan born, Los Angeles based film director, writer, editor, and actor. After graduating Boston College with degrees in both Philosophy and Finance, he decided to take a swift left turn and dive headfirst into the film industry.

He is currently finishing a Masters in Filmmaking in LA, where he hopes to infuse the film craft with his background in philosophy. His projects have ranged from comedy to drama to experimental cinema.

During this time, Diego has made several award-winning short films, both as writer/director and as an actor. He has also gained attention through his ongoing series of one-minute videos on his social media.

London Prestige Interview with Director, Writer, Editor and Actor Diego Vicentini

London Prestige: How long have you been making films and videos?

Diego Vicentini: I began flirting with filmmaking during my undergraduate years in Boston College, but it wasn’t until I graduated in 2016 that I decided to pursue film. From then on, I have tried to make a one-minute video for social media every week as a way to always keep myself writing, directing, acting, and editing constantly. I have also made several short films, which hopefully have gotten better and better as I continue to learn the craft. So the answer is two years.

London Prestige: What is your recent film “Simón” about?

Diego Vicentini: I recently finished shooting “Simón”, which is a short film about a Venezuelan freedom fighter that was persecuted by his government and has to seek political asylum in the United States. The story follows him and his American girlfriend as he struggles to send medicine back to his home country. A real person and true events inspired the film; Venezuela right now is suffering from a deeply concerning humanitarian crisis. 

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LA Underground Film Forum

London Prestige: How did you go about casting for the film? 

Diego Vicentini: I knew I wanted my protagonist to be an actual Venezuelan, and so I tapped into the Venezuelan community in LA. I was at a Venezuelan political protest in Hollywood one day and I met a producer who suggested a Venezuelan actor to me; I sent her the script, which she forwarded to him, and that is how I cast Christian McGaffney. After that, script fell into the right hands, and suddenly I had three other amazing Venezuelan talents – Steven Wilcox, Rubén Guevara, and Jorge Borrelli, – interested in being a part of the film. As for the American girlfriend, I scoured through hundreds of submissions and reels until one of those struck me. Her audition confirmed my suspicions that she was the one for the part. 

London Prestige: What do you hope people will take away from the film “Simón”? 

Diego Vicentini: I hope the international audience will gain better insight into the situation that Venezuela and its people are going through now, raising awareness for the humanitarian crisis that includes a shortage of medicine, food, and basic staple goods. For Venezuelans, my desire is that it can spark the light of hope in them by showing them how much the youth of the country is willing to do for the freedom of the country. 

London Prestige: What do you hope to achieve by making the film? 

Diego Vicentini: The top priority is to have a social impact with the film. The Venezuelan population is suffering and I hope this film can inspire at last one person to help. As a writer/director, I hope to have achieved a film that tugs at both the logos and pathos of an audience. Tears and thought. 

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London Prestige: When is the next screening and tell us about any competitions/festival submission.  

Diego Vicentini: The film is undergoing the wonderfully lengthy process of post-production as of now. The intention is to have a private screening in Miami, Florida before the end of the year. The film is also intended to partake in the top festivals around the globe. Hopefully.

London Prestige: Tell us a bit about the other films you’ve made.

Diego Vicentini: My first short film was “Leaves with Grass” which I made while still in college. It was a comedy about transcendentalism. I also wrote/directed and performed in “Hey Dad”, for which I received  “Best Actor in Student Film” award. Last summer I shot an experimental short film “Inside”, which sought to visually manifest the internalized subjective experience of depression. 

London Prestige: What makes beautiful art in your opinion? 

Diego Vicentini: The poetic amalgamation of aesthetics with intellect; beauty with intention! Beauty in of itself is not enough, it must be threaded with an idea that the artist has tethered from the ethereal planes of inspiration, and thus creating a piece of artwork that will stir up your limbic system and make you feel something. Personally, I also like when it makes you think as well. 

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London Prestige: Which other documentaries/films that you’ve seen have made an impact on you, personally? 

Diego Vicentini: The film that brought me into this industry was Woody Allen’s “Match Point”. As I watched the film I began to see how it was all a parallel to Dostoevsky’s masterpiece novel “Crime and Punishment”, but Woody provided his own ending to the story; a much more existentially cynical ending, one which I happened to agree with. Watching that movie brought the world of philosophy into the world of film for me, and from then on I began to understand the depth of the art form that was cinema. I was hooked. 

London Prestige: How has your style evolved? 

Diego Vicentini: I am still exploring my style, but insofar as comedy goes, I have learned the most from director Edgar Wright. Quick-wit, deadpan behavior, camera movement and perfectly timed sound effects; he is brilliant. For dramas, I always seem to veer towards psychological thrillers; I enjoy creating psychological surrealism brought upon by the phenomenological perspective of the character – Black Swan or Birdman. Those have the style I have much to learn from. 

London Prestige: What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful? 

Diego Vicentini: Relentless creating; you always have to be working your craft, getting better, and getting it out there. You also need to have people skills. As simple as that may seem, film is a collaborative medium, and you need a team to be able to make something. If you cannot work with others, it will be practically impossible to succeed. It also helps if your father owns a big studio or something of the like. 

London Prestige: What other hobbies do you have?  

Diego Vicentini: I played soccer in college and continue to play every week. I’m also a musician and I sometimes play guitar at local bars. I also make one-minute videos for my Instagram every week. 

London Prestige: What are you thinking about doing next? 

Diego Vicentini: For now my focus is finishing up post-production of “Simón”, but after that I intend to shoot my first feature. 

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LA Underground Film Forum
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MBFF Award
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1 Comment

  1. It is great that a young director is bringing to the screen the negative,
    uncreative
    , criminal reality that the youth in Venezuela has to fight against every day in a country controled by criminals and genocides. It seems to be a time in the history of humanity that once again the focus is upon the new generations. Just look at the antigun movement being led by high school students in the US. Thank you Diego for keeping the international eyes and focus on Venezuela.

    Like

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