Roberto Minervini is a director who breaks the rules, a late starter, not an Italian on the run but on the go. Originally from Marche, a small Italian region, he graduated in economics and started working as a business consultant. After losing his job because of the tragedy of the 11th September 2001, he decided to use the money for the compensation destined to the victims to attend a Master in Media Studies at the New School in Manhattan. And from there it all began.
Minervini located to Texas, where he set his trilogy that represents a new and multifaceted compromise between documentary and fiction. His debut took place in 2011, with THE PASSAGE, a full-length film that was premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. THE PASSAGE is a story about a literal and metaphorical journey of a cancer sick woman who despite knowing that she will die soon, still sticks to the last hope for finding a cure. The road-trip goes hand-in-hand with the symbiosis with the Texan territory that expands with the pace of the film, becoming gradually more sweet and relaxed. After the first week of filming Minervini threw away the film script, a preparatory step for the evolution of his freedom. Roberto decided to embrace the uncertainties that loom over the daily lives and decided to film people he met on the streets instead.
The following year, LOW TIDE was born, a story of a different kind of suffering than his first film: the loneliness of a boy in search of attention from the alcoholic mother, with whom he lives together but in a parallel life.
The third film in this trilogy, STOP THE POUNDING HEART, went international and was screened from Toronto to Milan. It was screened at a special screening at Cannes Film Festival, won David di Donatello award for Best Documentary feature film and was awarded by Gianfranco Rosi, the Golden Lion award at Venice in 2013.
STOP THE POUNDING HEART is a story without initial plot outline. Originally the idea was to concentrate the film on a rodeo cowboy that later was left only as a background story of the film. The new main character was Sara, a Texan homeschooled teenager, sister of many brothers and tireless worker, who was struggling with his first crush, Colby, a peer cowboy who lives close to her place. Minervini approaches the protagonist with gentleness and discretion and he manages to get the disturbances and a gaze sometimes melancholic, sometimes curious of a girl who is becoming a woman and who is relating with the little world that surrounds her.
In a sense, his films are “self-screenplayed” because they start from an intuition supported by the desire to bear the risks of uncertainty of the film that includes also the “dead time”. For Roberto Minervini filmmaking is challenge and research, in-depth analysis and feelings, totally independent from the production methods of making films, from which he separated proudly.
ÉCU appreciates the work that Minervini is doing and agrees with the theory of film research that establishes and experiments with new genres and styles. So indie filmmakers don’t be afraid to make your films the way you want – be creative, be innovative and then send submit your films to ÉCU – we would love to see them.
Chiara Asia Carnevale