Daniele Esposito is the director of A Little Bullet. The main character of this project, a little-flawed projectile, stole our hearts from the first time we read it. This project got an award in CIIF Market and then, it got an Special Mention in 5th Pitchbox.
We want to know you better. Why did you choose this job? Where did you study? Where did you start your career?
Actually, this is an easy question: I started watching movies when I was 5 years old and for me, it was already all my life. My father actually thought I would become an actor, but in my dreams, I have always wanted to be who think and write the stories. When I was 10 my parents gave me my first camera and then everything was clear.
I am a young Italian director and my training experience is partly based on my academic achievements, namely an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in cinema and a VFX master, and on my work in several film productions, including short and full-length films, documentaries, video clips and commercials. During my studies, I mostly focused on the contemporary series format that was the subject of my postgraduate dissertation entitled “Fragments of Narration-Forms in the Contemporary Audiovisual Storytelling”.
Tell us about your work. What have you done? Could we watch some of your more important works?
My works have been presented in several festivals, winning a number of awards such as the honourable mention of the jury chaired by Gillo Pontecorvo at the PA forum festival 2004 for the short film Un Regalo Senza Parole. I was also awarded the best short film at the Horror Movie Festival Roma 2011 for the short movie Roulette Russa.
In 2015 I made the short film The Wheel, as well as the web series Super Italian Family, produced thanks to the contribution of Regione Lazio Italia, competing at Roma Fiction Fest 2015, Fabrique Awards 2017, Rio Web Fest 2018 and won the Best Comedy at Roma Web Fest 2017.
My short film Days Of Temporary Madness won 3 prizes and received 4 nominations at 48-hour film project Roma 2016.
Since I was a kid, I have always been keen on Japanese anime, especially Miyazaki’s works, as well as Disney’s classics (Fantasia above all). Indeed, A Little Bullet has been influenced by Pixar’s masterpieces, particularly Toy Story that has clearly been hinted at in my short film, that it will be my first animation work and I am very excited about that.
Right now I am working on another short movie called The Promise, that is almost done.
Let’s talk about A Little Bullet. How it all began? What is it about?
A Little Bullet is told from the point of view of Bullet, a flawed little projectile. At the beginning of the short film, Bullet has just been produced and she doesn’t know her nature and the reason why she is in the world. She gets to an apartment after having met some weapons, including a grenade and a Kalashnikov. She finds out her purpose in life and understands she is in a terrorist’s hideout. Little Bullet makes up her mind to rebel against her destiny and thwarts the upcoming terrorist attack on her own. Will she make it?
My purpose in writing A Little Bullet was to link some themes that are usually very hard to tackle with a carefree narration, as storytelling for kids, maybe. Obviously, war and terrorism are the chief themes on the basis of Bullet’s story. Little Bullet is a naive creature. She may not know anything about the world and its inner workings, but she knows what is right and what is wrong and killing is not part of her nature. She firmly decides to use her free will by denying her nature, that is to say, being shot and kill someone. It is a metaphor for human nature which is often influenced by the political system where violence against our own species is considered “natural”.
I still remember when I woke up at 3 a.m. because I dreamed of A Little Bullet. That night I stayed up for three hours browsing about weapons smuggling around the world and the way they easily reach every part of the globe, also with unthinkable means. I found out that most of the weapons in Europe are from the film industry: they are old arms that were modified to become props, but once they fall in the wrong hands, they become proper weapons again. After browsing for hours, I finally understood what the film had to be about. Not only it was the story of a bullet dealing with her conscience but also the story of those weapons, rejected by society and forced to shoot again to kill.
How long have you been working on this project?
Since that night I have been working on this project every day. So now it is more than two years. In Italy, a small team of seven people, led by the character designer Simon Quemener, is working on a short teaser, and it is almost done.
What do you need to develop A Little Bullet right now?
Actually, this question is quite easy, the project needs financiers and make a deal with some co-production outside Italy. In my country, we don’t make a lot of animated feature films so having co-production deal will be great for the future of this project.
What is the best value of A Little Bullet?
A Little Bullet is a coming of age movie because it speaks of the long process Bullet makes to accept herself and the surrounding world. Bullet is carefree and an enthusiast of life, just like a child. But in the course of her story, she will mature and her decision to say no will mark the transition from childhood to adulthood.
If the subject can be considered as innovative for an animated film A Little Bullet, it’s more a classic movie about drawings and characters design. However, the direction, the formal appearance of the framing and the use of the sound will have a more innovative approach and research. Particularly, the scenes of battles in war and bombings are a great obstacle to overcome through experimentation.
A Little Bullet tells the making of a small bullet, Bullet, how she will be aware of her being a weapon and her rebellion against the system. The movie speaks of terrorism, war, free will and friendship, but it does not treat all of these issues with rhetoric. Following the direction that traced the Pixar Studio in its works, A Little Bullet set a difficult goal: reaching the widest possible audience and cope with all those themes with irony, trying to leave a message of hope in the end, without moralizing.
Is it your first animation film? How do you face it?
Yes, it is. I made an animation short movie ten years ago but a feature film is very different. You can face it like A Little Bullet doesn’t care a keep going. Anyway, I like new challenges. I believe if you have an open mind and want to learn new things, studying, you can face any challenge.
Did you try to show your project before submitting it to Filmarket Hub? What was your experience?
Before Filmarket Hub A Little Bullet has already won some prize here in Italy (Premio Amarcort 2016 – Menzione Speciale Pitch in The Day Roma Creative Contest 2017) and it was noted abroad (the script of A Little Bullet has been selected for the second round of consideration for the 2018 January Screenwriters Lab of Sundance Film Festival 2018 and was selected for pitch session of Maison des Scenaristes in Cannes Film Festival 2017).
You received the CIIF Market Ticket to Cannes Award in the Canary Market. How was the experience in the Canary Islands?
AMAZING EXPERIENCE! Santa Cruz is a beautiful place. Canary Market is very well organized. I would like to say thanks to Mónica Aramburu Picasso, Guillermo Ríos and all the staff for the great hospitality and, of course, for the prize. I recommend to everyone to apply for the next years.
And what about Cannes? What can you tell us about your visit to Marché du Film?
Actually, we decided together to use the prize for the Animation Production Day in Stuttgart, that is more suitable for my project. It was another good experience and good networking. Thanks to CIIF and Filmarket Hub to help me to go there.
I have been to Cannes last year and Cannes Film Festival is an amazing place. I had a great time there and it was very useful to test my project. In 3 days I made a lot of contacts. When I was younger I did not give much importance to making contacts and promoting myself. Now I think it’s sometimes almost more important to have a good idea.
So, tell us about Animation Production Day in Stuttgart! How was to be there?
Animation Production Day was a very interesting place where I have met a lot of German studios. I think it would be useful to find a co-producer that would like to get involved in A Little Bullet.
Why did you apply to 5th Pitchbox?
The idea is always to make oneself and your project known. Spanish market looks more open than Italian market and so I thought it could be useful apply.
What could you tell about your experience in Filmarket Hub?
Some years ago I was surfing online and I bumped into your website. I thought, for the first time, that it was an amazing idea and it is very useful.
Do you think these kind of events are useful to you?
These events are very useful. The film industry is quite closed and these events help new authors to get acquainted and make themselves known. Well done!
This is like a quiz for you, some quick questions to know you a little more:
Tell us your three favourite screenwriters: Vince Gilligan, Coen Brothers and Pete Docter.
Three favourite screenwriting books: Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (1979), by Syd Field; How to Make a Good Script Great, by Linda Seger and The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, by C. Vogler
Three favourite directors: Kubrick, Bunuel and Zemeckis.
Three favourite films: Wall-e, Clockwork Orange and Back to the future.