Guillaume Campanacci: From Model to Moviemaker

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Guillaume Campanacci went from modeling and acting to directing his first feature film, "Devils in Disguise." The 11-day shoot had just a $4,500 budget.
Guillaume Campanacci went from modeling and acting to directing his first feature film, ‘Devils in Disguise.’ The 11-day shoot had just a $4,500 budget. (Supplied photo)

Everyone has an idea for a movie at some point of their lives, but what makes Guillaume Campanacci different from the majority was that he has actually wrote, directed and shot his film. Now Campanacci is turning to a fund-sourcing campaign through to raise the final capital for the post-production and promotional costs for his first feature film, “Devils in Disguise.”

In my recent interview with Campanacci for TheBlot Magazine, I learned a little more about this multi-talented individual and what got him to chapter of his career.

Guillaume Campanacci (supplied photo)

Tom Roarty: You went from being a model to an actor to having a self-contained production company. How was the transition between each of these stages, and what are some of the pitfalls you have faced along the way?

Guillaume Campanacci: And before that I studied engineering, but when I got my master’s, I didn’t want to start a career; I wanted to travel the world. I had this opportunity to become a model, and thanks to it, I lived in Athens, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hamburg, Miami, New York. But at one point I didn’t feel fulfilled by photo shoots and parties, so I began studying acting and screenwriting. I now live in L.A., where I just directed my first feature film, “Devils in Disguise.”

The process for coming up with a story is always a fascinating one. How did the idea for “Devils in Disguise” come to be?

I wrote many specs before, but they were too big for me to produce. So I wrote this one specifically knowing that I would direct and produce it: few characters, few locations, limited resources.

Having traveled the world as a model, what was the attraction to setting the film in California?

The light is just perfect. With my limited budget, most of the shots are in natural light, and California did an amazing job with its light … for free. That and the perfect beaches.

Some would say that the hardest part of making a movie is putting all the pieces together, getting the equipment, assembling the cast, scouting locations, but you did this with a budget of $4,500 and shot the entire project in 11 days. How was that even possible?

I wrote the project knowing that I wouldn’t get a cent more, so I knew I wouldn’t go over budget. And when problems occurred, I just tried to find solutions for free.

You mention in your bio that you grew up in Cannes, France. How do you think that influenced your movie career?

I think it was always a part of me, and my dream is still to climb the red stairs with my movie!

You have worked with some pretty big names in the entertainment business like Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity,” “The Tree of Life”) and David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “Seven”). What lessons have you taken from them to adapt into your work?

From watching David Fincher I learned professionalism. I learned to not be afraid of taking another take, even if I couldn’t apply that on “Devils in Disguise.” He is truly a perfectionist.

From Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki I learned that you can have an Academy Award and still be nice to the whole cast and crew. And it is beautiful to see a director being his own DP and camera operator.

did poster
(supplied photo)

As far as your actors are concerned, with Magen Mattox hailing from Oklahoma, Montanna Leigh Gillis from California and Tad Brown from Florida, how did they all come together for you? Did you know them before you started shooting? Did they audition? What did you see in each of them that made your characters come alive?

I wrote the role of Leila for somebody else but then decided it didn’t make sense, and I wanted to take another direction with it. I met Magen Mattox and knew she was perfect for the role of Leila. I didn’t even ask her to audition, I just knew. We then made several actresses audition, but I couldn’t find the perfect Sandy. Magen thought a friend of hers, Montanna Leigh, would be a perfect fit. She sent me a tape, and she was perfect. The dynamic they had, being friends, is exceptional. Tad Brown is one of my best friends, and I wrote the role with him in mind, he didn’t have a choice.

Do you see yourself focusing on one aspect of the moving-making process going forward, or is having complete control of your projects the driving force of your creativity?

I see myself acting in other people’s projects; I like the feeling to totally trust a director and just concentrating on acting and write and direct my own projects at the same time. I’m planning on directing a movie in Asia, and I’m writing another one with two writing partners about a trio of friends, a beautiful story that will probably be shot in Eastern Europe.

Who would you would give anything to work with, and in what capacity and why?

Let me bend the rule and pick two. Shane Carruth, director of “Primer” and “Upstream Color,” because he was an engineer, he does everything himself, a real renaissance man. Gaspar Noe, director of “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void,” because of the darkness and truthfulness of his movies. Oh, and Jean-Luc Godard and Quentin Tarantino, because they are Godard and Tarantino.

To help Guillaume Campanacci see the completion of his dream and learn more about “Devils in Disguise,” check out the movie’s IndieGoGo page here

Tom Roarty is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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