Ginevra Elkann on Making Her Assured First Feature ‘If Only’ Which Opens Locarno

Variety | 8/6/2019 | Nick Vivarelli
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A London Film School graduate, who worked as an assistant to Bernardo Bertolucci and Anthony Minghella, Ginevra Elkann is known on the indie circuit as a producer of standout titles such as Swahili-language drama “White Shadow,” and also “Chlorine,” “Short Skin” and Babak Jalali’s “Land.” She’s now made her directorial debut with “Magari” (“If Only”), a sentimental comedy about the disconnect felt by kids with divorced parents, produced by Wildside. The film was significantly chosen by Locarno’s new artistic director Lili Hinstin to make her own debut. Elkann spoke to Variety about the elements that come together in “If Only,” the central one being the children. From the outset “it was clear that they were the key,” she notes.

Let’s start with the story. It’s not directly autobiographical. But as is often the case with first works, I think you worked with what you know. Am I right?

Life - Basis - Parents - Feeling - Film

Like you say, I think it stems from my life. On the basis that my parents were divorced when I was very young. So this feeling that resonates throughout the film is a feeling that really belonged to me as a child. That was something I was interested in talking about. Then, together with Chiara Barzini [her co-writer], we talked about it. So we built the story based on other families, other stories. But this ‘Magari’ (If Only) feeling, which I feel is really what takes you along, was mine as a child. This idea of putting your family back together. I think that’s what I wanted to say, and we built the story around that.

Can you talk to me about your writing process with Chiara Barzini?

Lot - Characters - Story - Lot - Conversations

We talked a lot initially and we built our characters, and we built the story. But it was really a lot of conversations in the beginning. Just...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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