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Monday, May 23, 2016

#ICFF16 Interview: Actor Stefano Grillo on his role in Checco Zalone's "Quo Vado?"

Born in the historic seaside city of Crotone, Calabria, actor Stefano Grillo is about to reach North American shores.

"Quo Vado?" is Checco Zalone's box office record-breaking film and it's in the lineup of this year's edition of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival in Canada. Grillo plays the part of Don Michele Vannucci, the pastor in a fictitious village in Calabria, called Castrovizzo. Don Michele Vannucci is a priest who fights against organized crime and because of this, ends up being transferred elsewhere.

The focus of "Quo vado?" is on Checco Zalone (Luca Medici aka Checco Zalone). Born into a life of relative comfort and privilege among his peers in his small town in southern Italy, he is one of the lucky few to have a posto fisso, or guaranteed job as a public servant. When a new reformist government vows to cut down on bureaucracy, Checco is forced to accept ever-worsening public-sector postings in order to maintain his guaranteed pay, benefits, and lifetime employment. While on assignment at Italy’s Arctic research station, Checco meets Valeria and falls in love with her. Checco cannot help but be enchanted by her Norwegian progressive, merit-based society. Ultimately Checco must choose between his secure yet parasitic place in Italy or a new and uncertain life with Valeria. The film opened on January 1, 2016 in over 1200 theatres across Italy. In the first eight days alone, the film earned €47 million in box office takings, beating "Star Wars".

I asked Stefano Grillo about his experience working on one of the most popular films in Italy's history and why the subject will be understood beyond the borders of his country. Our interview was done in Italian, so both versions are included.
Tell me about your experience making this film and working with Checco Zalone ..
My experience was fabulous. On the set, I met great professionals and at the same time beautiful people. Working with Luca (Checco Zalone) was magnificent. He is a great artist, very attentive to every detail.
I am especially grateful for Massimiliano Moretti's casting. I owe my part in "Quo vado?" to him. He was the first to give me a chance and audition me. After working on the film together, we have become very good friends He is a great professional, and the Italian film scene is so much in need of people like him.
Raccontami la tua esperienza nel fare questo film e lavorare con Checco Zalone..
La mia esperienza è stata favolosa,sul set ho trovato grandi professionisti ed allo stesso tempo bellissime persone. Lavorare con Luca (Checco Zalone) è stato magnifico, è un grande artista molto attento ad ogni dettaglio.
Volevo ringraziare particolarmente il casting Massimiliano Moretti, se faccio parte del cast di "Quo vado"  lo devo anche a lui. È stato il primo a provinarmi. Dopo l'esperienza "Quo vado"  siamo diventati molto amici, è un grandissimo professionista  e in Italia, specie nel panorama cinematografico italiano c'è tanto bisogno di persone simili. 
In your opinion, why has "Quo Vado?" been so successful in Italy?
Because Zalone and Gennaro Nunziante (the director) manage through sharp humor to describe the positive and negative aspects of our country.
Secondo te.. Perché "Quo Vado?" ha avuto tanto successo in Italia?
Quo vado è molto amato dagli italiani perché zalone e Gennaro Nunziante (regista) riescono attraverso una comicità pungente a descrivere per filo e per segno gli aspetti positivi e negativi del nostro paese.

Can you give me an example of these negative and positive aspects?
One of the negatives is the attachment to the state jobs as if they were the only reason for living. This is just because today in Italy, young people do not have steady jobs and therefore having a stable job of any kind means to be privileged. The positive aspects are the ease with which people can adapt and the devotion to family. Love in the movie wins over everything and everyone.

Puoi raccontami questi aspetti positivi e negativi?
Gli aspetti negativi sono ad esempio l'attaccamento ai posti di lavoro statali come se fossero l'unica ragione di vita, questo proprio perché oggi in Italia i giovani non hanno un lavoro stabile e di conseguenza avere un lavoro stabile di qualsiasi tipo adesso in Italia significa essere privilegiati. Gli aspetti positivi sono l'adattamento, l'attaccamento alla famiglia, l'amore che nel film vince su tutto e tutti.

Do you think the message of the film will be understood by audiences outside of Italy?
The message of the film will be captured perfectly outside Italy because it has a universal message! Love fails to question everything, even the comforts to which we are accustomed from childhood.
Credi che il messaggio del film sarà capito dal pubblico fuori dall'Italia?
Il messaggio del film verrà captato perfettamente al di fuori dell'Italia perché è un messaggio universale! L'amore riesce a mettere in discussione tutto, anche le comodità alle quali siamo abituati sin da bambini.

You can see Stefano Grillo in "Quo Vado?" on the following dates:

Screening times and locations:
June 9 @ 7:00pm TIFF - Toronto
June 10 @ 9:00pm Colossus - Vaughan
June 10 @ 9:15pm Colossus - Vaughan
June 11 @ 4:00pm Film House - Niagara
June 12 @ 7:00pm Museum of fine Arts - Montreal
June 13 @ 7:00pm Cinematheque Quebecois - Montreal
June 14 @ 7:00pm Cinema Guzzo - Montreal
June 14 @ 7:00pm Cinema Cartier - Quebec City

Click here to watch the trailer and to buy tickets.

You can see Checco Zalone in person:

June 9th, 2016
7:00pm Screening "Quo Vado?"
Opening Party
June 10th, 2016
Colossus Theatre
9:00pm Screening "Quo Vado?"
Buy Tickets

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