Filippo Feel Cavalca, Film Director, Editor and founder of Feel For Films New York through his words and visual stories.

In occasion of the 1st year anniversary of Feel For Films – a New York-based film production and post-production company – we visited their studio in East Village. Feel For Films is a leading hub when it comes to blending various talents and skills and successfully coordinate the different figures that are involved in the making of a film, giving birth to award-winning contents. Festivals like the Independent Horror Movie Awards, the Genre Celebration Festival, the Pan African Film Festival, the Hollywood Film Competition – just to mention few – have selected and awarded films that the founder and creative director Filippo Feel Cavalca has worked on.

Filippo is now working in New York but started his career as a filmmaker in 2003 in Europe working with one of the most prolific filmmakers and authentic legend of the Commedia all’Italiana – Mario Monicelli – and directing ‘The Path of the Skeptics’, starring Alessandro Haber – a short film about the conflicts between Faith and Philosophy. After a few years, he entered the world of television as a creator of Routes of the Mediterranean, an award-winning documentary which promoted and unveiled traditions and wonderful lands and seaports of the Mediterranean area.

Filippo’s broad range of work spans narrative and documentary storytelling for both film and commercial projects. During our visit, we had the pleasure of speaking with him. He talked to us about his multifaceted career and a few of his latest endeavors, offering us an insight into his creative process.

Q: You started your career in 2003 as a film director and you later approached film editing. You are successful in both roles and you frequently cover them both at the same time – as you did in your most recent short film Seapoem, in the music video Tony Houston Bondage Paranoia or in the track-by-track la Freschezza del Marcio for hip-hop singer Mondomarcio. What are the benefits and drawbacks of serving as your own editor?


A: Yes, I always worked as a director, but since ‘The path of the skeptics’ – in 2005 – I started to take care of the editing. I consider the post-production a magical moment in the creation of a video or a movie, and I developed a tendency to edit in my mind even before filming. This led me to also work as an editor for many directors, interpreting their intentions and supporting their fragilities. When serving both roles, you might lack direct dialogue between the two figures. So it is crucial to maintain a critical eye and to keep the two souls in touch with each other but distinct at the same time.


Q: Most of the films you worked on – handling part of or the whole post-production – have been awarded or currently are in competition at international film festivals. I’m thinking about the short films Consurgo, Consensual, Ambience, the doc-film Blaxploitalian and the web-series Brill Of It All, created by and starring legendary NYC Queen of the Night Dianne Brill.

What is it like seeing them at film festivals?


A: It’s just beautiful. A film festival is an important moment because it immediately makes you realize the value of your work. No matter how much effort you put in it, or how long you have worked on it, the screening will clinically show all the beauties and imperfections of your film. The comparison with other filmmakers is always valuable. During the screening of my works, I do not usually sit in the audience (laughs). It’s a habit that I have taken since my first short film, ‘Falstaff ‘. It amuses me to look for a hidden spot, to not look at the screen, trying to seize the public’s reactions and living the film through their feelings. Every filmmaker is always too critical of his work and some detachment can make those moments more intriguing.


Q: We mentioned Seapoem, your short film that was nominated at Seaport Social Cinema 2016 and is now distributed by the Howard Hughes Corporation. Set on Pier 15 of NYC Seaport District, it is a story that reminds us that – in a world where it is easy to be captured in a routine – we can make our own changes. Tell us about how you cast the actors and developed their characters.


A: For Seapoem I needed two interpreters with specific skills. The role played by Mike (Dote, N/A) was a photography expert; in fact, his character did nothing but shoot with an old camera, a Rolleicord. Therefore I did not choose an actor, but a photographer. Mike had asked me to pose for a shoot a few months before and his clownish manners – a little felliniane – had stuck with me. He played the role beautifully, speaking to the audience just with his expressions! The role of Terresa (Jackson, N/A) was originally to be assigned to a transgender girl, but that did not happen. I wanted the final encounter to have a meaning that was not only personal but also, metaphorically, social. In the end, however, I chose this actress that – like Mike – has a double ethnicity, Asian and American. In a sense, they seem to be the emanation of one another.


Q: Let’s talk about another aspect of you work: film scores composition. When composing, do you follow the mood of films or are you trying to give them a different spin with the score?


A: In the field of the arts, music was for me the first true calling. I never attended film academies and when I started making films, I wrote and directed thinking about the music measure, the pause, the arrangement, then counterpoint and so on. It is not coincidental that my first short film, ‘Fastaff’, was a music comedy. I still blend musical language and visual art, having never put the urge to write music aside. My soundtrack for ‘Consurgo’, a short film directed by Luigi Comandatore, won the Best Music award at the Independent Horror Movies Awards. Since then, I received many other commissions and we decided to establish a Music department inside Feel For Films. I compose myself and we select cutting edge composers to work with. To answer your question, each film has different musical needs. I usually tend to write melodies and themes and then to adapt them to the scenes. I love mixing orchestral and electronic music.


Q: What’s next for you?


A: At the moment, I’m working with Feel For Films for two top brands on the production and post-production of commercials. At the same time, I am writing the episodes of a new TV Variety Show called ‘This is not Italy’. I am working on it with Joseph Fraia from Live In Magazine and the show will be broadcast in the US and released worldwide on the Web. The show will scout and highlight unordinary and outstanding artistic talents throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The format is a mix of surrealistic, avant-minded, humorous and irreverent ingredients. Castings are already open and so is the website, on which creatives can submit their application to join the artistic cast of the show.


Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a filmaker?


A: The engineer like my dad, or the soccer player as in my childhood dreams.

Author: Joseph Ralph Fraia


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