Movie – El Ultímo Adiós
Director – Federica Alice Carlino
Federica Alice Carlino was born on January 23,1991, in Milan, Italy. She showed her love and passion for movies at the age of 3. Her family moved around Europe for work, so she had the opportunity to meet new cultures. She grew up in the Netherlands until she was 6, then moved back to Italy for most of her education, she also studied in London at Richmond Upon Thames College. She studied filmmaking, photography and makeup in Milan and makeup prosthetics in Rome with Dario Argento’s makeup artist, Sergio Stivaletti. She is a New York Film academy BFA graduate in Los Angeles where she currently lives. She has experience in directing, casting, writing and acting.
Hii Federica! Welcome to Scénema! Tell us something about yourself!
I’m an Italian director. I’ve been working in the film industry for 15 years. I directed El Ultímo Adiós last year and it was a little homage to Money Heist, La Casa De Papel, as the series was coming to an end. I can’t wait to tell you more about this short.
How did you come up with the story?
Marika Padovan, approached me, as we worked together for a previous project “The Rise of The Villains” and she was one of the actresses I called for a role at the time. Netflix at this point just released part 1 of the last season of Money Heist and she asked me if I wanted to write and direct an homage to the series. I was a bit sceptical at the beginning, because it requires lookalikes, a lot of costumes, (fake) weapons and incredible locations, and we didn’t have much time because the goal was to release our short at the same time as part 2 would have been released, so we roughly had 2 months. We worked hard, I was working in Abu Dhabi at the time so I started to share casting calls from there in Italy. A lot of people started to apply for the job and this motivated me to write a script for it. I immediately took care of it in every single aspect of pre production, production and postproduction, I directed pre production from Abu Dhabi, and we immediately started to take promotional pictures for social media, you can see them on Instagram (@elultimoadios_short). We found our Professor and I directed him via remote because he was in Rome and I was, as I said, in Abu Dhabi, and he couldn’t come to Milan the next month to shoot with us. I then took the first flight available and flew to Milan to start production.
El Ultímo Adiós is a nod to Money Heist! It is clear that you are deeply influenced by it. Tell us what do you love most about Money Heist?
Sure, we just wanted to produce a homage to the series, it’s not a remake, but just a big thank you to the creators and everyone involved with Money Heist. As of the series, I personally like the whole plan behind it, especially The Professor’s problem solving skills. I wonder if it was all planned from season one.
Every character is like a book preserved in a huge library. They all have backstories and they are driven by different reasons.
Who is your favourite character there? Why?
I have a few, I like Palermo, he is so smart and cultured, but also a bit crazy and his broken heart is what is keeping him alive and motivates him to persevere with the plan. He is funny and his charisma is what makes him so likeable.
The Professor is an absolute genius, his monologues are masterpieces and his fast thinking process leaves me speechless every single time. His backstory slowly unravels in front of our eyes, as we watch him trying to keep all the pieces together.
Manila is a great addition to the cast, because she represents an important community in our society, the LGBTQ community, with Palermo and Helsinki, and she does it gracefully. Her point of view about love and her relationship with Denver, kept me glued to the screen. I hope they will write a spin-off about her story, her transition, her family, her life as Manila and before that, it would be so interesting to explore.
Sierra is a strong woman, she is pregnant, a police inspector that has been betrayed by her coworkers, she has lost her husband, she is alone, she has to prove that she is worthy, that she knows what she is doing and her sarcastic behaviour about life and this specific situation is such a great touch to add. Many people dislike her, but I personally love this woman. If you think about it, she is just doing her job, while the main characters are criminals that the audience is sympathising for. She is the good guy here.
I bet many women can relate to her.
I honestly would write a little paragraph about every single character, so I’ll stop here, I like them all.
Federica, what do you prefer doing in your free time?
I love music, singing and going on adventures, that’s where I get my inspiration for my projects. I also love documentaries, books/audiobooks and podcasts.
What kind of stories do you wish to direct?
I usually direct my own stories and one of my latest projects is “The Monster’s Club”, a story inspired by an event in my life. It’s doing great in festivals and I hope I can turn it into a TV series, because I have so much to say about my characters. I love to direct Sci-fi, dramas and mysteries.
What goals do you have as a director?
First of all, being respected.As a female director it isn’t easy to do. Then being relatable, I want the audience to understand my message but I also want them to take a break from their everyday life and focus on the little adventures I’m bringing them on.
The show, Money Heist is being remade into Korean. What is your view on such remakes? How much do they affect the impression of the original project?
It depends on the remakes, I think it was too early for a remake about Money Heist. It just ended last year, but I still have to watch it. I heard great things. My favourite remake is the IT saga directed by Muschietti, that one was a masterpiece and casting was incredibly well done, those kids are ridiculously talented.
Tell us something about the filmmaking process? How was your experience with the cast and crew?
Producing El Ultímo Adiós wasn’t easy, we had to film during winter in an ancient Villa and we were freezing, also Covid was at his peak so you have to add all Covid precautions to production costs, such as Covid tests, gloves, sanitizers, bigger medical kits, a lot of things. Nobody contacted Covid on set, but it was around Christmas Holidays, so we took a break and some of us went on vacation so my cast came back positive, at least 50% of them couldn’t make it for the last days of set in January. It was challenging for sure but everyone was so excited about this project and I took care of providing them with documents and research papers about their characters, so everyone had an idea of what we wanted to do.
The casting process must have been tough since you had to look for faces with resemblance to the actors from the series. Tell us how you found your cast!
The casting process was very long, it lasted 3 months and we were still casting people during production. The main goal, as you said, was to find people that looked like the original cast. We involved everyone, from different regions of Italy. I adapted the script like a music video, so we didn’t have to ask too much from the talents. We were driven by finding lookalikes more than actors, but for some specific roles, I was actually asking for an acting background because some characters needed to have dramatic moments or maybe I needed them to cry or scream in a specific way. That’s why I chose to have The Professor’s monologue, performed by Maurizio Marchesani, a talented dubber, for the entire short, so we could focus on emotions, facial expressions and storytelling, while The Professor says his last goodbye to his friends. I have to say that I was impressed by some of the talents that never acted before, they honestly gave me incredible performances. Makeup was also a great element for this project as not everyone looked like their character. Vera De Mori studied every single face and applied a heavy contouring masterpiece on the actors, so if they look incredibly good, it is because of her majestic work.
Federica, what does filmmaking mean to you?
It means emotions, it means storytelling, I love to find elements that can catch people’s attention. As I previously said, being relatable is the key. We have different lives but somehow we live the same phases in life: love, hate, grief, betrayal…and when people can gather around these feelings, you can feel a sense of community around you, that is so powerful. Being all together for the same reason is a great feeling. Also my best friend is music, it’s a big character in any project of mine. I spend so much time finding the right track that matches the feeling of my stories, and if edited well, is such a great combination.
It was nice talking to you! Thank you!
Likewise, thank you for having me!