Exclusive Interview and Behind the Scenes Photos: Producer Nicolas Onetti Talks FRANCESCA



Nicolas Onetti takes us behind the scenes of FRANCESCA.

Argentinian filmmakers Luciano and Nicolas Onetti, the men behind the award winning, first-person experimental neo-giallo SONNO PROFONDO, are on the cusp of releasing their latest Italian thriller throwback FRANCESCA, which will be released in North American via Unearthed Films later this year.

Here’s the synopsis:

It’s been 15 years since the disappearance of little Francesca, daughter of the renowned storyteller, poet and dramatist Vittorio Visconti, and the community is stalked by a psychopath bent on cleaning the city of “impure and damned souls”. Moretti and Succo, questioned by the ineffectiveness of the police force, are the detectives in charge of elucidating the mystery surrounding these “Dantesque” crimes. Francesca seems to have returned, but she is not the same girl who everyone knew…

Directed by Luciano (who also composed the score) and produced by Nicolas, FRANCESCA is a serious study in style (as you can see from the trailer at the bottom of the page), not a send-up. Not a pastiche. A real film that uses the mood and trappings of the sub-genre to make something new and exciting.

SHOCK had the pleasure of speaking with Nicolas about the duo’s latest lurid shocker and what makes the Onetti machine move…

SHOCK: Your previous work was low budget and high concept; you proved you could cheat a low budget. Was FRANCESCA a more expensive picture to make?

ONETTI: Yes, FRANCESCA was a more expensive picture than SONNO PROFONDO. We wanted to recreate the gialli’s golden era as faithfully as we could so a big part of our budget was dedicated to objects, locations and costumes.  We spent a lot of time in antique shops. But every effort has its compensation. We won the “Best Production Design” award at the Tabloid Witch Awards in the United States. So we are very happy with it!

SHOCK: The look is marvelous…it looks like it was shot on film. Was it?

ONETTI: Thank you very much. It wasn´t shot on film. Luciano worked very hard to find the right film look. It took him more than six months. The idea was to get a correct color grading, so the film appears to be a remaster of a 1970’s movie, while conserving high definition and the CinemaScope aspect ratio.

SHOCK: In Umberto Lenzi’s EYEBALL, the killer wears red gloves, just like in your film. Was EYEBALL an influence?

ONETTI: Yes, the killer in EYEBALL uses red gloves but it wasn´t an influence for FRANCESCA. We used black and brown leather gloves in SONNO PROFONDO so we wanted to use a different color in FRANCESCA. And the red color is very important to FRANCESCA´s killer. In truth, Sergio Martino was a great influence to us. Martino watched FRANCESCA and he really liked it. It was an honor for us. He is not only a great director, he is also a great person. Martino and Dario Argento are our biggest influences in the giallo subgenre. We are also big fans of Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick and Brian De Palma. 

SHOCK: Can you talk about your brother’s score? It’s marvelous. It echoes the past but feels modern…

ONETTI: Luciano did a great job with the music of the film. UNEARTHED FILMS will release a special edition of FRANCESCA with the music soundtrack on a separate CD.

SHOCK: What do you think about movies like THE EDITOR, that make fun of classic Italian thrillers?

ONETTI: We don´t like THE EDITOR and other films that make fun of giallo. We don´t want one of the best horror subgenres to be remembered as funny films. That´s why we take it seriously.

SHOCK: You’re Argentinian. FRANCESCA is in Italian. Do you speak fluent Italian?

ONETTI: We are from Argentina and have Italian nationality but we don’t speak fluent Italian. Silvina Grippaldi, one of FRANCESCA´s actresses, helped us with the Italian dubbing and translations.

SHOCK: What are you working on at the moment?

ONETTI: We are working in our third film, the third part of our giallo trilogy. We won the first Argentinian horror contest organized by INCAA (the National Institute of Cinema) so we are also working in another project. But it´s not a giallo film. We have a lot of faith in this project. We are sure that it will be the best survival horror film of the last 10 years. 

For more on FRANCESCA, visit the Onetti’s official Facebook page.