Melania’s Divorce has a delicate social and political message behind it. What would happen if the former first lady Melania divorced Trump and she could give herself permission to express her voice on what works or doesn’t work in her life? She would become a heroine for us all; an inspiration for millions of women across the globe! Would she still be the most bullied person in the world or the most loved and respected woman in world? It is our pleasure to interview the director of this short political satire project, Romina Caruana.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
I still remember when I was chosen to play a role of a Sicilian Mafia Woman. The Miniseries ‘Brancaccio’ by Gianfranco Albano, in 2001. Until that time, I had only worked on the stage, so when I got my first role from such a great direct as Gianfranco, I felt deliriously blessed and happy. ‘Brancaccio’ is a suburb in Palerme and the series tells the true story of Don Pino Puglisi, a priest with the mission to help people, with a strong commitment civil, deployed on the front line against the Mafia, and killed by it on his 56th birthday. It wasn’t that easy to me to play such an extreme diabolic role stained with the blood of innocents. This is what I love most about my work. You have to be able of play with the duality of the human nature. Today you are the victim, tomorrow you might be the killer.
What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on and why?
I do believe true stories have a profound and magic way to showing the hiding aspects of events. This is the reason why movies based on true stories are my favorite ones. Furthermore I love romance movies, Thriller, and movies which explore themes such as transcendence, nature, and spiritual.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker?
One of the most challenging aspect is that often, especially in the beginning, you have to do everything by yourself that means you have to know every single detail of cinema departments. You have to work hard to put every piece together. Another challenging but exciting aspect is to find financing for the indies.
How challenging is it to fund indie films?
It’s not easy at all. Sometimes it takes years before covering the entire budget of the movie. Each film has its own path, sometimes if the story has a social theme, you could find private investors which invest on it because of the theme. Other times, you get money from the government or from Film Commissions; this is a very common way to keep in consideration, especially in Italy.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?
I adore Terrence Malick who explores topics such as conflicts between reason and instinct, transcendence and nature. ‘The Tree of Life’ is a mix of all of them and I really love Malick’s way to use philosophical and spiritual overtones, as well the use of meditative voice-overs from characters. I love Pedro Almodovar, a Spanish filmmaker, who generally works always with the same actors and create characters with complex introspective narratives, melodrama and irreverent humor. He deal with themes such as desire, passion, family and identity. Last but not least is Karim Aïnouz. He directed ‘Invisible Life’, an adaptation of the novel A Vida Invisivel de Eurídice Gusmão written by Martha Batalha, depicting the life of two sisters. The film takes place in the Rio de Janeiro of the 1950s. In 2019, I had the honor to be invited to the premiere of the ‘Invisible Life’ at Cannes Film Festival and still remember the fifteen minutes of Standing Ovation, the audience was very moved.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
As an actress, I have a couple of TV series that my manager is dealing with for me. One in Los Angeles and the other one in Europe. Furthermore, because my short film ‘Melania’s Divorce’ is having a remarkable success at the Film Festivals all over the world and encouraged by the suggestion to make a film of it, I wrote a synopsis for a TV series and now I am open to propose it to production companies. I am available to discuss with producers and say them why am I the right person to make a movie on Melania’s life. Also, my second book is going to be published next September and I am very excited about it. The title is ‘Cucu’s Lovers’ and tells about relationships and the new psychosis in today’s couples.
What was the inspiration behind your latest film project?
Since Trump’s presidency, I have been intrigued by the enigmatic figure of Melania Trump. I was curious about what she could do for her people from her new powerful position. So I began to imagine how the American First Lady would have been if she had become the voice of abused women, or if she had taken people with disabilities, to heart or if she had faced world hunger. Just to list some of the main problems facing the modern world. During the drafting and preparation of the character, who organically flowed through improvisations in the acting school in Los Angeles, I realized that my urgency to play this mysterious character had aspects similar to my personal experience . The more I studied Melania, the more I found so much affinity and compassion for this woman that humanly and perhaps out of shyness, she remains in the shadow of a bulky husband. Maybe her husband's narcissism reminded me of my father, maybe her inability to impose herself reminded me of my mother, maybe her son reminded me of my autistic brother. ‘Melania’s Divorce’ is a short film on what would happen if the former first lady Melania divorced her narcissistic husband and looked after and dedicated some of time and asset to children, homeless and disabled? If only she could give herself permission to express her voice on what works or doesn’t work in her life and in her marriage, she would become a heroine for us all; an inspiration for millions of women across the globe! Would she still be the most bullied person in the world or the most loved and respected? ‘Melania’s Divorce’ is my call to the core essence of her empowered feminine spirit. It has been an inspiration work for me and for many women since I’m receiving many letters and touching reviews about it. I’m very grateful for what it’s going on around this short film.
Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your work have on the world?
I have always been fascinating by films and couldn’t imagine any other work for me than this. I’m interested on making films which have strong humanitarian elements, values and above all with a deep sense of justice and truth, especially for those still mistreated categories: women, children and minor ethnicities.