EXCLUSIVE: From Tokyo to the UK : A Conversation with Writer/ Director Lorenzo Fantini
LORENZO FANTINI is a Writer / Director and Artist with 15 years experience of independent creative projects in Tokyo and London. He has worked with many international artists / performers / film makers in a wide variety of Theatre / Fine Art and Film Activities.
Lorenzo is noted for his lilliputian micro writing artworks which he began in 2004 and continued through to 2010 in a series of joint and solo exhibitions in galleries and exhibition spaces in Tokyo.
He co-founded LAFAN Productions Team in 2009 to produce a series of Tokyo based genre films. including, Edonism; a surrealistic sci-fi thriller set in Tokyo, Walking Lost, A short film about lost love, and The Ballad of Harper Lee and Dickie. A supernatural thriller.
On returning to the UK, Lorenzo completed an MA Program in Screenwriting at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Upon graduation in 2014 he founded Screen Rebels, beginning a series of eight sell out showcases over the next year and half at The Proud Archivist in East London.
In 2015 Lorenzo collaborated with London Be Nice Productions with a theatrical adaption of his first Screen Rebels script, the political drama, The Choice, starring John Seaward & directed by Rosie Frecker. In 2016 he wrote the Star Wars fan film, Jedi’s Code, directed by Venezuelan Director, Carlos Boellinger and produced by Tin Cowboys.
In early 2017 along with Kai Henderson, Lorenzo brought Screen Rebels to the West End with a new series of sellout showcases…
Was there a defining moment for you to get into the film industry?
I studied drama and creative writing as an undergrad and my goal has always been to write for performance. Whilst living in Tokyo I was able to collaborate with some brilliant artists and I began to exhibit and perform across a series of theatre and performance art projects. It was through these experiences made contacts in Tokyo’s film community and started freelancing as Script Reader. Soon after I began making my own films and founded a production team. Together we made a series of zero budget films set in Tokyo, taking advantage of the incredible cityscapes and the crazy assed pop culture, our finest hour, a film centred around a a psychotic giant purple fox. It was a tremendously rewarding experience, and lead to my return to the UK to complete an MA in Screenwriting at Goldsmiths.
How did you first get involved with Screen Rebels and what was it about Superheroes that appealed to you?
Screen Rebels was founded straight after the completion of my MA in Screenwriting. I’d been back in the country less than a year and was looking to establish a collaborative community of writers and actors to create a platform and find an audience for our screenplays. There’s no better way than testing your material in front of a live audience, and as the show’s evolved we’ve developed a unique hybrid of Screenplay and performance, that uses the DNA of Film and Theatre.
Superheroes as a genre is my first love, I grew up watching Adam West’s Batman and Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman. As a 70s kid I was imprinted with these pop culture icons and they were my gateway drug to an expensive comicbook habit as a teen. When the idea of doing Superheroes as a showcase was broached, this gave me the perfect excuse to make my own superhero universe.
What can you tell us about your story and what was the inspiration behind it?
I wrote the first screenplay, Last Flight of Apollo, it was inspired by the wonderful cast we’ve been working with on Love Bites and Rebirth. Our frequent collaborator, David Patrick Stucky, inspired the title character as this hybrid of Batman and Superman who’s at the end of a very long career. I’ve always loved The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen – the story is my homage to those seminal works. Apollo’s a hero who’s preoccupied with his legacy and his children, who he feels aren’t living up to his high standards. It involves a deliciously twisted nemesis who’s able to exploit every single one of those flaws. It was hugely ambitious tale to tell in thirty minutes, but so rewarding to see it in execution.
What do you have coming up next with Screen Rebels?
Our next series of showcases are titled The Odysseys and we’ve got three new short screenplays about epic journeys ready to whisk our audiences away from the summer heat of London and out into worlds unknown! Think adventure, suspense, thrills, romance and mystery! As well as a lot of laughs along the way of course too.
Outside of Screen Rebels, what do you have coming up that you can tell us about?
I’m pretty much devoted full time to Screen Rebels at the moment, as I’m involved in all aspects of the organisation. Nevertheless when time and opportunity arises I’ve been involved in some terrific side projects. Last year, I collaborated with Tin Cowboys, on the Star Wars Fan Film, Jedi’s Code. Most recently with Alida Pantone, on her short film, The Guest.
Fandoms are a big part of the industry, what are some of your favourites?
I’m a huge Star Wars nerd, and can never get enough of the movies. Totally in love with what Disney has pulled off since the acquisition, and can’t wait for Rian Johnson’s Episode 8. I’m hopeful we’ll finally get that Obi Wan spin movie with Ewan McGregor to hopefully give his fabulous interpretation the space and story he deserves.
What advice do you have for someone aspiring to embark on a career in the film industry?
Get involved, don’t wait, find other aspiring film makers and get out there and start shooting something, anything, then share it and find your audience. It’s a huge industry, try out all aspects of the process and figure out what you like the best and then work your damnedest to be the very best you can be at.
SCREEN REBELS: THE ODYSSEYS COMES TO THE PHOENIX ARTIST CLUB ON AUGUST 6 + 9