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The prodigious, natural talent of Basilicata-born visual artist Walter Molfese

At just 26 years old and with no formal education in filmmaking, Walter Molfese is getting worldwide recognition for his stunning portraits of the land he loves. From the abandoned town of Craco to the seaside pearl of the Tyrrhenian known as Maratea to the volcano-nestled lakes of Mount Vulture to the mountainous, rolling terrain of Pollino, Molfese’s work is the visual testimony as to why the pure, vast landscape of Basilicata is emerging not only as Italy’s land of cinema but as a newly discovered tourist destination for adventure-seeking travelers.

Aside from his independent works, Molfese is also involved with a national video project called, "Italia Senza Tempo" (Timeless Italy). Its mission is to show the hidden side of the peninsula and the Mediterranean nature that makes it unique. “Italia Senza Tempo” consists of places considered jewels of the world heritage and protected accordingly. They are places where time seems to come to a standstill and where the hand of man is nonexistent. They’re enchanting, magical places where the rhythms of nature are marked by the rising and setting sun and by the stars. Molfese works on “Italia Senza Tempo” with filmmaker Angelo Chiacchio and together, they have created beautiful portraits of places like Pollino, Monte Vulture and Maratea. Molfese’s solo projects include a breathtaking time-lapse video on Craco and short news vignettes for his Artigiani Quotidiani series.  

I spoke with Walter Molfese about these videos- how he creates them and where he finds his inspiration. Our interview was done in Italian, so both versions are included. 

How did you begin making these videos?
I started making videos a few years ago, and coming from a photography background made it easy. I took the approach to video using the technique of time-lapse. With each video I made, I was more drawn to the moving image and then it became my favorite form of visual art. 
Come hai cominciato a fare questi video?
Ho cominciato a fare video qualche anno fa e provenendo dalla fotografia è stato semplice avvicinarmi ad un video realizzato con la tecnica del timelapse. Dopodiché il video ha cominciato ad attirarmi sempre di più e quindi è diventata la mia arte visiva preferita. 

What is your process of making these videos? Do you scout locations before starting or do you choose the locations while you are there working?
Before making a video, I always try to imagine the scene that I'm going to shoot and all roadblocks that I may encounter as well as the benefits of shooting in that particular location. After a brief inspection, I try to take inspiration from what lies in front of me. I try to understand and capture what moves me the most. 

Come fai le riprese? Qual è il tuo processo? Cerchi le posizioni prima di iniziare? O scegli le posizioni mentre stai sul posto di lavoro?
Prima di realizzare un video cerco di immaginare sempre la scena che andrò a riprendere e tutte le problematiche e i punti di forza che essa avrà. Dopo un breve sopralluogo cerco di farmi ispirare dal luogo o dalla persona che ho di fronte, cercando di riuscire a riprendere ciò che mi attira di più. 

How many hours of video do you shoot?
It depends on the project itself. One hour of video is usually enough if I’m shooting a single site like Craco or making a portrait of artisan newspapers. However, for the “Senza Tempo” series where it was full-immersion in a park, I shot for 5-6 days. 

Quante ore di video devi girare?
Le ore di video dipendono da cosa e in che modo sto realizzando il video stesso: può bastare un’ora di video quando realizzo un video dedicato per esempio ad un luogo come Craco o un ritratto di Artigiani Quotidiani, mentre servono 5-6 giorni di riprese e una full immersion nel parco selezionato se realizzo video per Italia Senza Tempo. 

Molfese at Serra di Crispo in Parco Nazionale del Pollino
What inspires you to make a film? For example, why Craco and Pollino?
I chose Craco and Pollino because they are part of my land, Basilicata, that I love deeply. I was born near the Pollino National Park, so it was a very easy choice for me. I made the video of Craco because I have always been fascinated by abandoned places, buildings and areas. So, Craco is really the best place you could wish for. The inspiration came from what I saw firsthand when I visited the town, and then what I wanted to show my viewers. 

Qual è la tua ispirazione per fare un video? Per esempio.. perché hai scelto Craco e Pollino?
Craco e Pollino li ho scelti perché fanno parte della mia terra che amo profondamente, la Basilicata. Io sono nato nel Parco del Pollino quindi è stato molto semplice per me scegliere di riprenderlo. Craco invece perché sono sempre stato affascinato dai luoghi, edifici, o zone abbandonate e Craco è il miglior posto che si possa desiderare per questo. L’ispirazione nasce da ciò che mi piacerebbe vedere in primis a me di quel posto, e poi quello che mi piacerebbe mostrare alle persone che poi guarderanno i miei video. 

How do you choose the music?
I listen to music a lot during the day, especially instrumental music (mostly electronic or classical). The music has to be impactful. For me, the video is composed of 70% music and 30% images. A video is successful only if the pairing of music and images compliment each other. 

Come scegli la musica?
Ascolto molta musica al giorno, soprattutto musica solo strumentale (elettronica o classica che sia). La musica deve essere di forte impatto. Per me il video è composto il 70% dalla musica e 30% dalle immagini: un video vince solo se l’accoppiata musica e immagini è vincente. 

Molfese on location at Torrente Peschiera
What do you have planned for the future?
In the future, I hope to move forward and have the ability to work on projects that I enjoy. I hope that I will continue to have the desire to discover, develop and improve myself more and more. I will definitely make more videos for “Italy Senza Tempo” and I will try to speak of the lesser-known areas of Italy with some other abandoned towns. I would like to speak more specifically to my region of Basilicata and I hope that I will have enough curiosity to uncover something new.  
Quali sono i tuoi progetti per il futuro?
Nel futuro spero di portare avanti tutti i progetti che mi piacciono e che ancora mi fanno avere la voglia di scoprire, realizzare e migliorarmi sempre di più. Sicuramente andrò avanti a realizzare video per Italia Senza Tempo, cercherò di raccontare le zone meno conosciute della nostra Italia con qualche altro paese abbandonato, vorrei raccontare in un video un po’ particolare la mia Basilicata e spero di avere la curiosità di raccontare qualcosa di nuovo. 

Visit Walter Molfese’s website to see all of his work and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Click here to follow "Italia Senza Tempo" on YouTube and here to see them on Vimeo..


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