Friday, 29 September 2017

Interview with Francesca Zappitelli

"Ballerina I'm Not" is the underground, underdog story of the prolific journey that women take to follow their dreams and find their way in a male dominated fight industry. The film hails from writer, director and producer  - and wrestling icon! - Francesca Zappitelli.

Congrats on the film! Do you remember how you pitched the film to your investors and cast initially? What was it that got them to want to be involved?
Thank you! Passion and positivity were the key components to enroll everybody. I wasn’t the only one that wanted to tell this story.

What kind of guidance and direction did you give those appearing on-camera?
I’d give my talent an opportunity to run through a take or two without direction, to get them warmed up. I also utilized Clint Eastwood’s method of saying, “Alright go ahead” or “When you’re ready,” to put them at ease in the next take instead of the flashy “Action” counterpart.

Was there anyone you would’ve wanted to have involved but couldn’t get?
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson of course. He is my favorite male wrestler and to see how he has crossed over into TV and Film is truly inspirational. I’m curious on his opinion on female wrestling from when he began to now.

The film, I imagine, covers some deep topics. How did you decide on just how far to push it?
Ballerina I’m Not explores the history of female professional wrestling which has been predominantly male driven. A documentary is social commentary and it would be an injustice not to tell the whole story even if it’s not a pretty one. However, it concludes on a high note shining a light on the accolades that women have achieved in both WWE and the UFC.

How has the reaction to the film been so far? I imagine it’s affected people different ways?
I’ve been pleased with the reactions. Particularly, the demographic of people that are not wrestling or fight fans they still found it riveting.

Have many male wrestlers seen it? Any feedback there?
Yes, a few have seen it and there has been mixed reaction. However, I’m pleased with the amount of male wrestlers that champion for their female counter parts and do not participate in locker room banter or misogynistic views.

What’s coming up for you?
You can watch Ballerina I’m Not, on Amazon October 6th as well as a female driven TV pilot entitled SYN in which I was the executive producer of. I’m also writing a short film ‘Guilty?’ based on real events, where good people do bad things. I hope to shoot it early next year.

Ballerina I’m Not is released October 6 on Amazon.