Directed by Roberto Loiacono

“APOCALYPSE” - Best Horror Short Film
Directed by Roberto Loiacono

What made you decide to make this film?

The driving force that kicked off APOCALYPSE was the request from my dear friend Mario Cellini (the lead actor). We had worked together years earlier, in 2000, on the feature film ZONA 3. I then had to stop for personal reasons, but he never lost the desire to work with me again, thus overcoming the period that forced me to leave the cinema, I listened to his request and wrote a screenplay for him, which could enhance his acting and his empathic way of acting for the audience.

How long was the shoot and what were the main challenges on the set?

Unfortunately the processing of APOCALYPSE was marred by the arrival of the COVID pandemic. Due to the lockdown also decided here in Italy, we had to interrupt filming twice. So the work lasted for almost two years. Also keep in mind that we only worked on weekends, because almost all of the cast and crew members have other jobs.

Despite this, working on APOCALYPSE did not present any particular difficulties or challenges, apart from one: what I call the scene of memories. A moment in the film in which the protagonist remembers his family and the viewer sees the man's memories materialize on the screen in front of the protagonist. The realization of the scene required some special techniques on the set, but the real challenge was for Mario Cellini, the protagonist, who had to make a highly dramatic moment believable. He succeeded so perfectly that some members of the technical cast were moved during his performance.

How did you find the cast and the crew of the film?

As previously mentioned, I have known Mario Cellini for a long time and thanks to him I was also able to meet and work with Lucio Barbati, a stage actor who willingly lent himself to the cinema. For the female roles I have to thank Mario once again who among his acquaintances had a schoolmate, Maria Occhiogrosso, who did theater and who said she was willing to work with us on the medium length. She then introduced me to two of her colleagues Cristina Palermo and Chiara Porcu, also theater actresses, who turned out to be perfect for their respective roles. The little protagonist Ludovica D'Antona is the daughter of a colleague of Mario's. In the screenplay I had written the part for a male, but after seeing Ludovica's great expressive power and ability, I convinced myself to transform the character into a female one.

As for the technical crew, with whom I got on very well and with whom I continue to collaborate, some have worked with me in ZONA 3: the set and costume designer Simona Galluccio, the sound engineer Davide Bergia. We met others during the pre-production of APOCALYPSE: the production secretary Luca Rasetti who looked for and found the three make-up artists recruited thanks to the Kryolan make-up school: Vanessa Lalla, Tilde Gallo and Edoardo Vozzella. The edition secretary and script supervisor Rosanna Tringali deserves a special case, who is Mario Cellini's partner and who has never worked in the film industry. She turned out to be a fundamental element for the workmanship, careful and precise… she didn't miss a thing.

The latest arrivals of the actors were Marco Sarro and Davide Capostagno. Both known by Mario on the various sets he frequented. Marco, thanks to his anime and manga dubbing experiences, had the necessary strength to infuse his character, a "crazy" not so crazy... While Davide, thanks to his long experience as a theater actor, has pervaded the interpretation of professionalism.

With such troops we are ready for any production!

Tell us more about the creation of this film?

The conception of APOCALYPSE went through several stages. As mentioned before, pushed by my friend Mario, I decided to go back to cinema. With him I wanted to make a short film that, for me, would put an end to the zombie movie genre so that I no longer had to deal with it. This is because we had done ZONA 3 together and because Zombies have become, over the years, an overused gimmick in cinema.

Writing the first draft, I realized that it didn't work. The focus of the story is a human being who has suffered losses that drove him insane. Zombies would have been too much of a distraction, I couldn't have shown the inner turmoil of the protagonist especially in a short film. So I decided to turn it into a horror-tinged drama, but without putting too much emphasis on the macabre part. A few moments of fear and a lot of feeling.

Are you happy with the final result or would you change something?

I am very happy with the final result. I wouldn't change anything. Besides having fun on the set, I feel great satisfaction every time I see it.

Marco Sarro on set
Cristina Palermo on set
Mario Cellini on set
Mario Cellini on set
Maria Occhiogrosso on set
Chiara Porcu & Mario Cellini on set
The Production Team
Mario Cellini

What are your filmmaking goals? 

I want to be able to make a film with a big budget that can be released in theaters and that the general public can judge. And I want to do it with the collaborators I found in APOCALYPSE. In order to do this, we set ourselves goals that we are slowly achieving.

Furthermore, for me making films means always being attentive, ready to learn with humility on every occasion, both positive and negative.

What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

I have two projects on the horizon that are taking shape.

The first is a feature-length horror film with a rural setting, strongly rooted in the traditions of my region. It is written by a comic book writer Andrea Cavaletto, also known for having worked on the Dylan Dog books, together with Christian Sartirana, another novelist and screenwriter. We are finding the necessary budget to start working.

The second, which will actually be the first to be made, is a new medium-length film entitled SHOOTING. A pulp in which the stories of five protagonists intertwine, expertly guided by a mysterious figure who "writes" the plot of their lives.

There are other projects on the horizon, but we haven't defined them yet, so I prefer not to talk about them.

Roberto Loiacono