Never cross a nonna.
Interview with Writer/Director D.J. Higgins
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
The film was made as a product of grant from the Russo Brothers, NIAF and The National Sons and Daughters of Italy. It is based on my dual language/learn Italian book, Un giorno a Staten Island con la nonna e Santino.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Have you ever met a seventy year old Italian grandmother who has a best friend with a mohawk and a nose ring?
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film touches upon the importance of family in the Italian American tradition. The entire film is in Italian with English subtitles. It also examines how generations are changing and how ‘finding’ love is viewed as a 'new' puzzle. There are no references to the mafia and the film displays Italians as loving people who put family, morals and good food before anything.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script came to life with our wonderful cast! Each character brought so much energy and passion to an epic and ZANY Sunday dinner!
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Lots of laughs and reflection. Julie Robinson, my partner and executive producer, is my toughest critic and biggest supporter. She loved the film and always tells me how it is. Once she gives me the ok… I know that we are in good shape. Paul Borghese (our other EP) also loves the project and as a prominent member of the Italian American community his stamp of approval was welcomed with open arms. Karynne Summars, our set designer, did a fantastic job getting this film to look gorgeous! Theresa Hottel also deserves a boat load of credit as she always works magic in the edit and Sam O'Sullivan designed a super original soundtrack!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback has been fantastic. People love the film and the concept… especially because the script is super CLEAN and fit for all ages. In today’s cinematic world, cheap gimmicks dominate stale scripts. This film is fit for everyone… ages 3-103.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I want this film to become the pilot of a 10 episode series (which I already have written). Basically, it would be a fantastic way to teach people Italian as they can rewind the episodes and study how the language is spoken while getting a couple laughs in the process.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We need somebody to come on board and fund a 10 episode series. I made the first episode (at 21 minutes) for under 10k. My last film, Pasquale’s Magic Veal, won 15 awards… so the proof(s) of concept are in my projects!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I am a filmmaker and also an Italian professor. I would like to share the culture (as my grandmother has done with me) with as many people as possible. My dream is to spread the Italian language through this potential series.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Who doesn’t want to sit at the table with an Italian grandmother and her punk rocker grandson… and laugh, eat and drink some vino?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for the support!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
A story called Smack is our last project. It battles the drug epidemic head on. Please check out Pasquale's Magic Veal and Meet Mario on Amazon Prime!
Interview: November 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Never cross a nonna.
Length: 21 minutes.
Director: D.J. Higgins
Producer: Julie Robinson and Paul Borghese
Writer: D.J. Higgins
About the writer, director and producer:
D.J. Higgins (Writer/Director) has 4 master's degrees (Italian Literature, Italian Film, Spanish Generalist Studies and a Master's in Film and Television). He teaches Italian and Spanish and has an unquenchable appetite for filmmaking. His last film, Pasquale's Magic Veal, is a 15 time award winning project. He always credits Julie Robinson with being the super glue that holds his projects together.
Julie Robinson (Producer): Julie is a "make it happen" type of producer. She always finds the best locations and connects the best people with the best scripts. Her claim to fame is of course... finding and casting the best and brightest talent in NYC. She is much more than just a producer... she is a very talented writer and filmmaker as well.
Paul Borghese: A veteran actor who has a true love for filmmaking. On or behind the camera this legend enhances any project that he his a part of. Paul always brings the 'heat' and is an intense and loving part of many successful films.
Key cast: Giuseppe Santochirico, Angela Rago, Samantha Scaffidi, Artie Pasquale, Dan Grimaldi, Paul Borghese, Cristina Fontanelli, Tony Darrow, Christoper Mcallister, Tom Rizzuto, Dom Deceasare
Looking for: producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists