Diego Vicentini is a Venezuelan born, Los Angeles based film director, writer, and actor. After graduating Boston College with degrees in both Philosophy and Finance, he decided to take a swift left turn and dive headfirst into the film industry.
He is currently finishing a Masters in Filmmaking in LA, where he hopes to infuse the film craft with his background in philosophy. His projects have ranged from comedy to drama to experimental cinema.
During this time, Diego has made several award-winning short films, both as writer/director and as an actor. He has also gained attention through his ongoing series of one-minute videos on his social media
Hollywood Insider Interview with Award-Winning Director Diego Vicentini
Hollywood World: What was the most significant decision in shooting your current film “Simon”?
Diego Vicentini: Casting. I always knew I wanted Simón, the protagonist, to be interpreted by an actual Venezuelan actor because I was looking for authenticity in telling this story. Eventually I found Christian McGaffney who perfectly embodied the character.
Hollywood World: What part of the script/story best stood out for you and why?
Diego Vicentini: I wrote this story to raise international awareness about the humanitarian crisis going on in Venezuela right now. In a way, this story about a freedom fighter is my own way as a filmmaker of fighting the tyranny in my home country.
Hollywood World: Without giving it away, tell us a little bit more about the characters and the lead actors.
Diego Vicentini: Simón (Christian McGaffney) is a young Venezuelan freedom fighter who seeks political asylum in the US after being persecuted by the Venezuelan government. Overseas, he continues to keep the fight going alongside his American girlfriend Melissa (Kelley Mack), but the worsening situation back home threatens to tear them apart as Simón thinks of going back to help the fight.
Hollywood World: How do you bring this story to life while staying true to your vision as director?
Diego Vicentini: By focusing on the characters more so than anything else, more than camera work or fancy locations or anything else. With a low budget, I needed to make sure if we got anything, it was the right performances.
Hollywood World: What excites you about this project?
Diego Vicentini: How close to heart it is. As a Venezuelan, I’m excited to see a Venezuelan character on screen in an Anglo-world, and how much many other Venezuelans will connect to the story. I’m also hoping American audiences will gain insight into the dire situation that is going on in such a neighboring country.
Hollywood World: What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Diego Vicentini: For this film (Simón), my biggest influences/references were Blue Valentine and Blue is the Warmest Color. I though both these films captured their characters in a remarkably raw form, through both performances and the camera work. They both seemed so effortlessly organic and incredibly intimate – this is something I wanted to try to achieve in my film to give the impression that these characters and situations are real, since they were based on true events and real people.
Hollywood World: What do you do to enhance the collaborative process when working with actors, screenwriters, producers and others creative members?
Diego Vicentini: I listen. Though you have a lot of “power” as writer/director to make decisions, I found it key to delegate and listen to suggestions and ideas from the DP, the Production Designer, Producers, the actors themselves. It’s a team and everyone has something to contribute.
Hollywood World: What experiences have you learned from in life? How did that change you and your creative process and the way you go about making films?
Diego Vicentini: For this film (Simón), I was able to use my own experience as a Venezuelan who had to flee from the oppression and violence of a tyrannical government. Living in the United States while my home country continues to deteriorate has made me feel impotent, and that feeling was the fuel for making this film.
Hollywood World: How do you see your role as a filmmaker?
Diego Vicentini: I see the role of Director as a socially accepted God complex. We get to create entire realities and shape them whatever way we see fit. Hopefully to tell a meaningful story, though.
Hollywood World: Do filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? What message do you want to convey with your films?
Diego Vicentini: Whether the filmmakers want to have that responsibility or not, the moving images that they create are intended to be seen, usually be as large an audience as possible, and there is truth to the anti-mimesis stance; life very much imitates art. The choices we make for what we put on the screen reveal the way we interpret the world, and in turn, they affect the way the world is interpreted. Therefore, we should make sure these films bring value to humanity.
I’d like to convey a message of optimism to the Venezuelan community, as well as any other people that are oppressed, that there are individuals out there who will never stop fighting for what is right.
Hollywood World: What other hobbies do you have?
Diego Vicentini: Playing music is a big one. Also playing soccer. As much as possible.
Hollywood World: What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today?
Diego Vicentini: Spending my college career studying philosophy I think did the trick. That’s four years of deep inner reflection and drinking.
Hollywood World: What’s next?
Diego Vicentini: This summer I’ll be in San Diego where I’ll be acting in a feature film as the male lead. I’m also in the process of writing my own feature.