Ciao cari lettori! A long time not see!! But the waiting was worth. PARLIAMO GIALLO is back with an interview to GERARD DIEFENTHAL director of DARKSIDE WITCHES an Italian movie that set in the year 1589 shows six innocent women accused of witchery by the Inquisition in the small Ligurian mountain. This interview was made by the people of the Spanish site La Abadía de Berzano who were so nice to share with us as the director answered them in English.
1 You have previously worked in the area of special effects, but DARKSIDE WITCHES is your debut as a director. Why did you decide to direct this movie?
Yes, Darkside Witches marks my debut as a director. Actually, I come from visual effects. I was particularly impressed by a book called LE STREGHE DI TRIORA, and from there I got a script that I wanted to direct because I felt that I could only interpret the script as I had imagined.
2 Why did you choose to direct this script in particular?
I wanted to give a view of ‘ religion ‘ as deception and the theme of witchcraft treatise in Darkside I allowed.
3 As other recent films, THE MOTHER OF TEARS, THE LORDS OF SALEM or THE WITCH among others, your movie is an approach to witchcraft. With DARKSIDE WITCHES, are you trying to create something new in this theme? What do you think about the rise of “satanic movies”?
DARKSIDE WITCHES do not copy, do not imitate. It follows its own brand that will end with the other 2 chapters, short coming. So yes, I think I bring something original, stylistic level rather than content. The satanic movie is a genre they like and that will not disappear, at least as long as there is DARKSIDE! ahahahah
4 The film was funded in a completely independently way. What was the budget and how you got it?
DARKSIDE was funded by me personally. It cost about 2 million euro. In the U.S.A. it would have cost much more. It was a small investment I’ve wanted to do it in Italy, a beautiful country in which I live for several years now.
5 Since the beginning of the project until its release about three years have passed. What were the difficulties you faced during production that caused this delay?
Very long processing was mainly due to post-production, because of numerous visual effects, it has not been an easy process. We also had to work hard to recover several loss-making sequences due to photography.
Unfortunately in Italy they are not used to work with the blue-screen and this turned in many problems. We also had to wait for Simonetti, music complete another process that lasted much
6 Despite your status as an independent filmaker, you had the collaboration of two veteran actresses: Barbara Bouchet and the late Anna Orso. How did they get on this project?
They are two great actresses. Real professionals who have raised the level of my film. I can only say one thing: Barbara Bouchet is DARKSIDE WITCHES. Barbara was very good in working with the blue-screen and was the professional I expected.
7 Barbara Bouchet and Anna Orso are not the only two renowned artists in DARKSIDE WITCHES: the legendary Claudio Simonetti, a familiar figure in horror genre, made the soundtrack. What was it working with him like?
As I mentioned before, the music procces took a lot of time. Claudio had difficulties in working on scenes missing visual effects, so we had to wait for the end of post-production to get the music.
Also, I had initially proposed Claudio to make the music in his usual style, great for a argentiano movie but not for mine. So, we had to wait again. But the waiting lead us to a wonderful surprise.
8 The presence of these personalities on the movie, and its story, focused on the revenge of six witches burned alive centuries ago, is very similar to Mario Bava’s LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO. Your intention with “Darkside witches” was to do a tribute of the fantastic italian cinema in general and of the gothic horror, in particular?
As I said before, I didn’t want to imitate anything with DARKSIDE. I certainly like the works of the past and I consider Mario Bava an absolute genius. I really like the Italian genre cinema, especially I love Lucio Fulci and the first Argento. Certainly, in my movie there are some references to old genre films, but I think I spaced much anyway.
9 In contrast to the classicism of its story, the film has a very unique look due to the use of CGI, also used for the creation of the sets. Your decision of using these special effects was based on economical factors or it was purely for creative and artistic reasons?
All this it is due to the fact that I come from Visual effects, so I wanted to give much space to my size. But this was also a real stylistic choice, precisely because DARKSIDE began as a production that moves away from the usual choices.
The extensive use of Visual effects then is a true choice, well thought out and carefully studied.
10 How difficult was the work of the actors with the blue screen?
It would be better if they were actors to respond. I can however say that working with blue-screen is not easy. You have to have great mental flexibility and work of the imagination.
11 You have written and directed the film and also you played one of the leading roles. Where do you feel most comfortable?
They are very different roles which require different commitments. I believe, however, that the phase in which I can work with more tranquility is in post-production, joining big names in international cinema.
12 In DARKSIDE WITCHES there are several referrences to the killings of innocents perpetrated by the Catholic Church and the background of the women repression suffered for centuries. Did you try to criticise this fact in any way?
Certainly! DARKSIDE is a film that aims to denounce the respectability, Catholic morality, religion and faith. This is the greatest deception that has been made to mankind! Not surprisingly, DARKSIDE has had many problems with censorship and was accused of blasphemy!
13 DARKSIDE WITCHES is a very graphic film due to violence and sex: there is a scene in particular which is very close to what we can find on a hardcore movie…
Yes, that’s what the audience likes! DARKSIDE doesn’t save sex, perversion and witchcraft. It’s a movie driven in many ways, and this was strongly backed by me! In particular, Simona Cappia starred dost think a scene much boost and was talented in executing it.
14 So far, the film has been released in countries like the United States or Germany.
What was the audience reaction in those countries?
Very positive. Especially in the U.S.A. the movie went great, enough to convince distributor to produce the sequel. It went very well in South America, Sweden, Japan and many others.
15 And in Italy?
Tough question! Italy is a country that can be considered very bigoted and recently opened to certain stylistic choices. I wanted to shoot the film in Italy as it is a beautiful country and I love it, but the Italian audience is always very critical and is not used to such productions as DARKSIDE. However, it soon will arrive in theatres! We’ll see …
16 It’s true that you are working now on a sequel of DARKSIDE WITCHES?
Yes, we are already working on chapter two scripts before moving to the third, the final one. DARKSIDE has just begun!