Skip to main content

Filmmaker Spotlight: Director Michele Torbidoni of " La Cosa In Cima Alle Scale"

In celebration of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles screenings at Sunset Gower Studios this month, we're conducting a series of Q&A Features and this week we're bringing you our featured Filmmaker Spotlight:

Name/Position: Michele Torbidoni (Director)
Film: La Cosa In Cima Alle Scale [The Thing At The Top Of The Stairs]

Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it.

“La Cosa In Cima Alle Scale” (The Thing At The Top Of The Stairs) is a short movie that refers to some ’80’s mainstream cinema. The kind of movies made popular by Zemeckis, Dante, Donner, Hooper of “Poltergeist”. Movies I grew up with.

My goal was to find an answer to the question: “Is it possible to make movies that feel and look like ‘real genre cinema’ (opposed to ‘indie/intimistic/blurry shorts’) in Italy and out of traditional production network?” We tried very (very) hard to build up an effective production out of nothing while testing ourselves against several tasks: from shooting some very extras-heavy scenes (the restaurant one involved 300 extras), to involve a child actor in one of the key roles, from composing a brand new score that could match the pace of the movie editing, to using complex CGI effect fully integrated in our environments (and make them believable!). It was a though work but we had A LOT of fun while shooting.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?

The whole crew and talent group, of course. Yes, it’s an easy answer, but without the “love” that everyone put in this work, I firmly think we could not achieve the kind of results [that we did].

How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?

To me it’s a huge honor. Really! It’s important to have this occasion to show our work to “real world” people. I think when you make ‘genre’ movies, you have to put them in a full world competition. What does the world think about your short? Is it good enough?

What inspires you?

Tough question. Maybe it’s easier defining what does not inspire me. I’m not inspired by our day-by-day life. I think I’m not able to (or smart enough to) portray characters living in our world. I want to escape. I’d like to invent situations, or even worlds, that drag away the viewer in a parallel dimension. Just for a couple of hours.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. I think I pressed “play” more than 200 times. I watched it in every format, from a 70mm, 6-tracks magnetic audio projection, to badly worn VHS tape, to Blu-Ray, to Betamax. Every picture made by His Majesty Stanley Kubrick (in particular “Barry Lyndon” and “Paths of Glory”), “Poltergeist” and “The Goonies”. I think also that it should be clear to anybody that Paul Thomas Anderson is a non-human demi-god. His “There Will Be Blood” is an astonishing work on light, pace, subtracted-acting and cinemascope framing. In particular the sequence of the burning oil pit it’s something I won’t forget easily.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?

To be bold. Making good movies should be based on this rather illogical statement: “You’ll succeed and the movie will be great.” It’s really hard, because you have to fight with your left side of the brain that pushes yelling, “You’re not good enough.” The movies you watch on the silver screen scream [and taunt], “You’ll not ever reach us.” You have to keep pushing the boundaries, the limits. And after long efforts, you could discover that, yes, you really are not good enough but there’s a chance you are really good at making movies. Real ones, the kind of movies that flow people into theatres. Yeah I said it, it’s illogical, but it’s the only way. My two cents, of course.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

Aside from the mega-big-names, I’ll be very happy to have a chat with Gavin Rothery (the guy who made VFX for Duncan Jones Moon). It would be great to ask to Robert Zemeckis: “How do you solve the second-act incipit problem? How do you maintain the story into motion after the end of first act?” It would be awesome just to sit on a chair and watch David Fincher work for hours.

What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?

Honestly? Getting money. At the very end, this is the single thing you can’t obtain by hard work. No matter how hard you work, no matter how good your script is, when you are no-one, you have to know how to sell yourself and your project. You have to convince people (or, better, many people) that you won’t screw everything up. You’ll hold from pre to post and make something profitable.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?

Rewrite. The script is the very beginning of anything. There are a gazillion [reasons] to not shoot the movie. You [can’t] fail on the starting block. It has to be pitch-perfect. So just when you think you are done, when you write the word “END,” for the fifth time, then ... take a deep breath, wait a month, and rewrite it.

What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?

Try it, for real. Watch movies, a lot of [them]. Then, start writing something, find people that could help you and step into the real world and shoot. Do it, and do it again. I think this is one [technique] that kind of works and allows you to learn by doing.

Where can we expect to see you next?

I’m completing the script for a sci-fi movie. It will be quite a huge thing, and the first (real) Italian sci-fi production of the late twenty or so years. I’m very excited.

Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.

If you want to be informed on the short, jump here: , or you can follow the @micheletorbi Twitter stream.

Anything else you'd like to add?

A lot of things but then I’ll fall in boring-zone. So, I can close this fun interview with this: “Hey, producers out there! I’ve got the next cool, well written, (almost) fully planned crowd-gathering sci-fi movie of the year. I know you can’t wait to finance it. So, here I am, let’s have a chat!”

For more information, visit:

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.
Questions, comments or suggestions?

Popular posts from this blog

2017 EXXXOTICA Expo Dates and Locations Announced

Riding high off its most successful event to date in Edison, New Jersey, the EXXXOTICA Expo presented by MyFreeCams is already looking forward to 2017 with a trio of events planned around the country. In addition to its longstanding shows in Chicago and New Jersey, the show’s producers are pinning a new city on its map — Denver, Colorado for EXXXOTICA Mile High.

EXXXOTICA’s debut in the Rocky Mountains has been in the works for years, and event organizers couldn’t be more excited to bring the show to Denver. The 2017 show schedule kicks off in grand style with EXXXOTICA Mile High, March 31 through April 2, 2017. The show will be taking place as a full hotel takeover at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
With nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibition and breakout space, EXXXOTICA Mile High will not only feature hundreds of exhibitors and the top stars in adult, as well as seminars and performers, but the hotel will be transformed into the hottest hotel in the country wi…

BEAUTIFUL RIGHTS Gives Women’s Rights Some Real Lip Service

Beautiful Rights is here to give women’s rights some real lip service. This new, cause-driven makeup initiative, founded by renowned makeup artist and product developer, Kristen Therese Leonard, was created to ensure that women’s rights continue to be given their share of voice in our country’s future.

As we enter into 2017, real concerns regarding women’s rights are upon us. Beautiful Rights was created to remind every woman to speak up, and that the responsibility lies within each of us to protect the rights we’ve fought so hard to acquire.

Beautiful Rights will promote women’s rights by donating 20% of all sales (not profits) to organizations that support our causes, such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Emily’s List, Lambda Legal and Legal Momentum. The 20% contribution is set as a reminder of the fact that women in the U.S. still get paid 20% less than men for doing the same work.

Not only will Beautiful Rights fuel great initiatives, it will also provide women with top-of-line…

Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale Releases March 9, 2017

Aniplex of America Inc. announced today that the nationwide release of the highly anticipated feature film Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will take place on March 9, 2017. Details on theater locations and tickets for the nationwide release will be announced at a later date on the official homepage ( Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will be distributed by ELEVEN ARTS in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
About Sword Art Online: The animated TV series Sword Art Online is based on author Reki Kawahara’s light novel in which the protagonist Kirito fights to survive in the mysterious next-gen VRMMORPG called “Sword Art Online.”
Since the first volume of the novel was published in April 2009, the series has proved extremely popular, with cumulative sales exceeding 12.5 million units in Japan and 19 million worldwide, spawning two TV anime adaptations, video games, comic books, and merchandise.
Story of Sword Art Online the Movie -O…