Thursday, August 11, 2022

Our Side

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After a new immigration law makes her visa invalid, Adillah, a caregiver from Ghana, must decide whether to save herself or the elderly Sicilian man in her care.

Interview with Emily Dillard (ED) and Nicola Rinciari (NR):

Name and what you did in the film?

ED: Emily Dillard – Producer.

NR: Nicola Rinciari, co-writer and director of “Our Side”.

What inspired you, or attracted you, to work on this film?

ED: “Our Side” was born as a reaction to an immigration law passed in Italy in 2019 that impeded the renewal of asylum seekers’ visas.

NR: “Our Side” is inspired by the real story of a friend of mine from Ghana, who found himself in a situation similar to Adillah’s, the protagonist of the short. The story is set in Palermo, Italy, but I found Adillah’s journey relevant and emblematic at an international level and, therefore, capable of resonating with people of different nations.

What do you like most about the story?

ED: The co-writer and I had a friend who was affected by this law, and we wanted to tell his story in a way that wouldn’t expose him but could bring attention to these struggles.

NR: I felt that this story brought attention not only to the concept of immigration, but also of integration. We live together with profound divisions, and we continue to perceive each other as part of different “sides.”

How did you get involved in filmmaking?

ED: The director of “Our Side” Nico Rinciari was my start in film. After getting to know each other freshman year at the Savannah College of Art and Design, I became the producer for his short film ‘Pages of Destiny.’ After that short, I fell in love with the world of film and TV.

NR: When I was little, I had a VHS of the ‘Lion King’. I watched the Behind the Scenes after the movie and I remained mesmerized about the craft. In that moment, I realized that I wanted to tell visual stories in my life. As I grew older, my interest in animation branched out into live-action and independent filmmaking as different means that could bring attention to unheard stories and perspectives.

Tell us about your process? Where do you start?

ED: Nico Rinciari and I work as a creative team, and we constantly search for ideas we think should be transformed into film. We read many newspaper articles, books, and graphic novels that we think could be adapted and are always on the lookout for a meaningful story. When we find something that we feel passionate about I evaluate the budget range for the project and brainstorm different strategies to finance the piece. As the financing plan is in place, I begin to assemble a crew of passionate and talented collaborators who share a common sensibility towards the subject matter.

NR: Observing reality and being curious about what is happening around me and in the rest of the world is a great starting point in my process as a filmmaker. Stories and important themes surround us and are waiting to be found and narrated. In my work, I aim to show the audience a piece of our reality from a different perspective. I start with an issue, a topic, a feeling, and transform it into a story that connects with the viewer both on an intellectual and an emotional level. After the initial inspiration, I develop the idea into a story and begin the filmmaking process.

Tell us some difficulties during the process or a unique story that happened?

ED: It was a challenge for me, as a producer, to arrange travel and accommodation plans for three weeks in Italy on a micro-budget. We rented apartments for the crew to stay at during the shooting and it was fun to see them adapt to the new environment and culinary traditions!

NR: The hardest part of production was the day we shot the traffic sequence. For the scene when Adillah remains stuck in a line of cars, we shut down four roadways and had 25 extras in moving vehicles all registered by license number with the local police. We planned out every move before we got to set, but it started raining and we had to reshoot several shots because of the weather mismatch. Our AD, Evelyn Stith was amazing at getting us back on track.

Tell us how important independent filmmaking is to you?

ED: Independent films uplift stories that give the limelight to untold perspectives. I value shows that push the boundaries of filmmaking, by taking experimental approaches and bringing to the attention topics that might not surface in the same way in blockbuster hits.

NR: Independent Filmmaking is an incredible platform for artists to express their unique voice and push the boundaries of filmmaking and storytelling. Independent filmmakers provide a unique point a view and often bring stories to the screen that otherwise would not reach an audience. For me it has been a crucial creative outlet, where I strive to show the audience pieces of our reality from different perspectives.

What are you currently working on or plan to work on in the future?

ED: I’m currently an Asst. Production Manager at Warner Bros Animation working on several 2D TV Series such as Looney Tunes, Teen Titans, and more. I’m also developing a feature/miniseries adapted from a book I optioned with my partner Nico Rinciari (the director of “Our Side”).

NR: I currently work as a previsualization artist in Los Angeles planning sequences for a variety of shows. With my producing partner, Emily Dillard, we continue developing stories that can speak to our modern society. We are currently writing a feature/ miniseries adaption from a book we have optioned.

What are some filmmakers, directors, writers that inspire you?

ED: I had a chance to work with Robert Zemeckis on his upcoming Pinocchio adaptation and he inspired me as a great filmmaker and leader. He was attentive to every detail on set and is fiercely loyal to his crew, many of which have been working with him for 20+ years.

NR: For this specific project, I took a lot of inspiration from Barry Jenkins. I was very fortunate because M.K. Smith, Adillah in the short, had worked with Barry as a supporting character on his Amazon series, The Underground Railroad, and understood his kind of cinematic approach.

Any advice to filmmakers just starting out?

ED: I would say that the more you learn about the whole process, from pre-production to post-production, the more you’re able to use filmmaking tools to tell your stories in a unique way.

NR: I would encourage filmmakers that are starting out to find a story that they really care for and a team that feels the same way about it. Everything else will come from there. Organizational and technical difficulties can be solved when there is a shared passion. Suddenly, everything becomes possible.

Social Media

Instagram: @ecrdillard

Facebook: Emily Dillard

IMDB: www.imdb.me/ecrdillard

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