Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21
After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.
Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.
Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!
When did you first learn about Young Guns?
The first time I heard about Young Guns was through social media, from fellow director Angelo Cerisara (YG20), and I was intrigued by the idea of a competition that would create a community of different creative disciplines and not just focus on filmmaking, but also create a space to meet new people from different fields.
How did you end up in the creative industry anyways?
When I was a teenager I went to an art school in Italy, which I loved, but I couldn't find a way to express myself through painting, sculpture or photography. Watching films was a hobby. At that time I was still confused because I was very interested in many different fields, especially mathematics and physics. I felt a lot of pressure about what to do after school. University? Study abroad? Or just start working somewhere? So I took some time off and traveled around Europe with close friends, selling homemade pizzas at techno and goa festivals and living on the road. During those years, I experienced a lot, both beautiful and terrible things, until I realised that all I wanted was a video camera and to capture life.
"I took some time off and traveled around Europe with close friends, selling homemade pizzas at techno and goa festivals and living on the road. During those years, I experienced a lot, both beautiful and terrible things, until I realised that all I wanted was a video camera and to capture life."
Congrats on the win! Did you enter this year because you are turning 30 and it is now or never?
Yes, it was now or never. It is always so hard for me to have a perception of my own work, so when I got invited to submit I decided to take the chance and see how it goes, one shot.
You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?
I didn't really have a strategy. I would say, it was quite spontaneous for me. I put together personal projects and commercials that were closer to my taste and vision, and told a bit about me and where I wanted to go.
What was your reaction when you discovered that you won?
I was in a very embarrassing situation where I had to focus on the phone to distract myself and not laugh, so I opened the email and found out!
In what ways does your hometown inspire your creativity as an artist?
I am generally more interested in the shadows of human emotions that tend to lean towards darkness: contradictions, taboos, dreadfulness. My hometown and experiences there are a huge source of inspiration for my stories and personal projects. When I think about a story or a project, my hometown always has something to do with it. Growing up there, I was repelled by those dynamics, landscapes, culture, and experiences. I'm increasingly going back, taking that pain and making something out of it, which is also a way of understanding myself and where I am in the world. Of course, watching many films and reading a lot is key for me to see how others have dealt with personal matters and found and shaped them for their audience. I am lucky to have trusted book and film "pushers," and friends who know what interests me deeply.
Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!
Dreaming big, I am now developing my first feature film in Italy. That is always a long and complex process, and unpredictable at times, so I hope it keeps going and becomes a reality. I still would love to focus on narrative and bring to the screen stories I care about with people who share the same passion. And this for me also extends to commercials and music videos. It is not about a big name or a big brand for me, but finding a space for a narrative approach that could match my emo soul.
This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?
It's difficult to make predictions, I've always done things a little at a time, thinking month by month. Honestly, in ten years I see myself doing the same things and living the same life I am now. Hopefully, it will be bigger and better, with more focus on my personal projects and balanced with my personal life. And I hope to continue to enjoy myself more than I struggle, because that is what makes it all worth it.
Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!