January 31 was the release date for “Il primo removing unwanted elements…
Re” in which Matteo Rovere, the script- This was also the case for “Il Primo Re”, specifies writer, director and producer, narrates Grisi. For example, “in order to digitally extend the founding of Rome through the story of Remus (Alessandro Borghi) and Romulus (Alessio Lapice), two brothers who challenge the will of the gods in an ancient, almost tribal world in order to create one of the biggest empires in history.
Filmed in proto-Latin (it will be subtitled), the movie has set in motion a magnificent production machine worthy of the legend it is representing, with an € 8 million budget and a spectacular use of special effects handled by EDI Effetti Digitali Italiani, integrated with special make-up effects and prosthetics curated by Andrea Leanza.
“In addition to being a remarkable director, Matteo has demonstrated his ability to admirably carry out the role of producer, creating a movie designed for the international market with a very high production value and great attention to detail. At last we have a movie that presents our history also using elements that in many ways recall fantasy settings and, above all, with a rough style that suits the period in question, featuring blood, dramatic killings, fights, violence, in which it is possible to feel the influence of products like “300” or “Vikings”.
Francesco Grisi, founding partner of EDI Effetti Digitali Italiani, is very enthusiastic about the work that took seventeen months to complete, with over 170 shots processed and another 110 supervised for the Belgian post production company Digital District.
“It is a movie with a decidedly international feel due to the dynamic directing that makes wide use of the hand held filming technique; certainly a very striking choice and much more complex compared to shooting an establishing shot in the location and then taking up the action in the studio with rather ‘anchored’ sets, basically limiting oneself to narrow shots of the actors. Instead in this case we filmed everything outdoors, with complex scenes that demanded a considerable physical effort from the actors”.
This is an Italian movie in which EDI’s work is in the front line and visible to everyone, i.e. where the visual effects, like the practical ones and the prosthetics are finally evident and clearly present, as Grisi explains: “Usually people who approach our craft do so because they are attracted by the more spectacular aspects: the monsters, the robots and all those effects that enrich science fiction or horror movies, basically movies where the contribution of the visual effects is very recognizable. However this market is not very present in Italy seeing as our film industry is based more on comedies or arthouse films where the visual effects are invisible, if they are done well, because they are connected with service aspects, such as extending a set or removing unwanted elements…
This was also the case for “Il Primo Re”, specifies Grisi. For example, “in order to digitally extend the village of Alba where we added huts as well as 500 digital extras.”
However, in addition to this: “we finally got our hands on a very striking project, with a lot of pre- production in which the digital side had to proceed in step with the practical as well as the prosthetic effects, thus in close contact with the various departments.
For the fight scenes we had a lot of discussions with Andrea Leanza, the make-up art- ist who created crushed limbs, wounds and even a mangled half torso of a person hanging from a tree by its arms.
We worked together with the costume department in order to hide the mechanisms used to make blood come out or be sprayed around and to simulate the reaction of clothing when the warriors were pierced all the way through by spears.
The collaboration with the photography department was also very important since we digitally created flames that, by generating light, had to have a certain type of dynamic lighting”.
And even beyond that since, Grisi continues, “the challenge put forward by Matteo Rovere was very ambitious and envisaged, in addition to the fights, a highly intense moment when it was impossible to cross the Tiber because of flooding, a crucial and very complex scene given that the waters are calm at that point. Thirty years ago we would have worked on miniature models, but for scenes involving water the differences in scale are rather evident. Today, thanks to particle techniques in which we have cutting-edge experience, we were able to cre- ate the flooding of the river directly inside a computer. We recreated the water in 3D, which is not an easy thing to do, because unlike solid objects, water is shapeless, so you have to model whatever contains it. Starting with the footage of the bend in the river, we reconstructed the riverbed and, using physical simulation software, we generated the particles of water we used to fill it.
The production operations were guided by Matteo Rovere with his GrØelandia (of which he is the manager along with Andrea Paris), in col- laboration with Roman Citizen Entertainment(Luca Elmi is the associate producer) and in co- production with Rai Cinema and the Belgian Gapbusters.
Grisi concludes by revealing, with regard to Belgium: “At the moment we are supervising the work of a Belgian company. It is a very competitive country, like Canada, thanks to aggressive tax-credit policies supporting this sector that our politicians should also sustain in a more decisive and systematic way. This is a sphere with strong growth potential and incentivizing it would undoubtedly contribute to strengthening the Italian theatrical sector as a whole.”