Interview: David Cinnella, Producer of Indie Western to be shot in Basilicata
From the makers of While Web Series comes another ambitious
project. This time, the young filmmakers are following in the footsteps of
their iconic predecessor Sergio Leone.
According to producer David Cinnella, “Tek” is a Cyberpunk
Western with sci-fi influences. Like “While”, the series will be shot entirely
in Basilicata. The creators of “Tek” are prolific writers and filmmakers
currently producing a wealth of material from news reports to magazine articles
to a web series. Among their projects, which showcase the creativity and
talent of artists and filmmakers not only from Basilicata but from all over the
world, are the online magazine “Voce Spettacolo” and the production company,
Born in the town of Policoro to an American mother and
Italian father, David Cinnella was raised in Matera. His diverse cultural
background led him to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he studied
filmmaking. He currently resides in Los Angeles. I asked him about this project
and where his team plans to distribute the series once it’s finished.
What made you
decide to make a Western?
I was once reading a script that happened to be a
Western, and I was trying to visualize it in a way that I knew would be
interesting and appealing to me. I, however, am not a particularly big Western
fan, per se, but there were instances in which I did find the genre appealing.
So, I thought to myself what were the ones that particularly held my interest,
and that’s when it hit me. Exceptions aside, Westerns interest me the most when
there’s an added sci-fi element to it. Even if just a small one. So, I pictured
what I was reading as a more Cyberpunk Western -- which is what “TEK” actually
is --, and the more I read, the more I couldn’t focus, because suddenly the
images were becoming too beautiful in my head. I had also worked the summer of
that same year on the web-series “While”, where we had great fun, and then I
started to pick certain props, actors, locations, etc. that I knew could be
filmable and available to us. Suddenly, the pieces started falling together. I
can respectfully and honestly say that the story I had come up with was
entirely different from what I was reading, so it wasn’t a copycat of it, but
the way I was picturing it in my head was so visually interesting, for me, that
I couldn’t read anything anymore, and that night, without possibly considering
sleep, I decided to write it all down in one go. And so, after many revisions,
the script is now complete, and after a meeting with the people of the “While”
webseries, we decided that it was a worth-while project to pursue this year.
Will it be a film
or series- and shown on the web, television or movie theater?
At the moment, it’s only a short 30-minute film. However,
during the many revisions of the script, I dabbled with the idea of expanding
it to something longer, and with the help of a few friends, we actually did
come up with an interesting way to expand it for more. So, should “TEK” ever
become a success, we have enough material to make it a feature length film. As
far as where it’ll be released, it will be online on YouTube, and then sent to
various film festivals. And should anyone be interested in picking this up for
a feature, we’d be only more than happy if it gets either a theatrical release,
or a streaming release like on Netflix or other platforms.
What can you tell me about the
I won’t say too much because it could reveal key
elements of the story, so I’ll keep it short: In a dystopian, post-apocalyptic
future where society has regressed to a pseudo-Western time, and technology has
become a rarity, a single and lone gunslinger by the name of TEK roams the
lands, searching for the people responsible for the death of his wife and
Where are you in
the production process?
We are currently in pre-production. In June we will
start the casting session in Southern Italy, and are aiming to shoot
the film itself around the beginning of the second half of July, and if all
goes well, it should take the rest of the month – possibly a few days into
August – to complete filming. Then, we will enter in post-production.
Have you shot
So far, we have shot both a teaser and featurette, which
we have posted on our Indiegogo campaign and through cold weather
and sickness, we were able to do it all in a single day.
Explain to me what
makes Basilicata this land of cinema.. with so many film productions happening
in the region lately.
There’s a number of reasons as to why the region of
Basilicata is so filmable. It has a history as ancient as human society itself;
the beaches are wide and clean; the hills are soft and peaceful; there are
great cinematographic mountains and rich, green forests; and best of all, the
buildings reflect that history by being several thousand years old, hence why
they make so many historical films there, especially in Matera – awarded the
European Capital of Culture for 2019 – where they shot a number of great films,
among which are “King David” (1985) starring Richard Gere, and Mel Gibson’s
“The Passion of Christ” (2004), and where they just finished shooting “Wonder
Woman” (2017), starring Gal Gadot.
We'll keep you posted on the progress of "Tek". In the meantime, watch the teaser trailer on vimeo.