Interview: Pinocchio's Director Enzo d’Alo
15.10.2012 - Enzo d'Alo, director of the
acclaimed new animated Italian-language version of
Pinocchio, took some time for an interview with us after
his film was showcased at ADFF.
How are you finding your stay in Abu Dhabi so
This is my first time in Abu Dhabi. When I do a film, it generally
takes anything between one and four years, so when I made my last
film maybe Abu Dhabi was just starting their festival, but it is
incredible! There are a lot of people and it's a new city for me -
I have yet to explore and experience its 3000 year-old culture.
How has the response to Pinocchio been so
The response at Venice (where we opened the festival) was
phenomenal. The director of Venice Days - Giorgio Gosseti, who's
also here as a [New Horizons Competition] jury member, really liked
the film and we had a full house at the screening. Similarly, at
Busan I had a packed-out theatre with children as young as age 5
watching a film in Italian with Korean subtitles and that was very
motivating and inspirational. The Busan Daily even featured a
two-page spread featuring Pinocchio in one of their
editions, and that was very satisfying to witness.
This film is not just for kids, it is for everyone. In my opinion,
there is a kid in everyone and it is very relatable and applicable
to anyone's life. Children love the colours and drama, but the
adults can surely watch the film, reflect on it and leave with a
Why Pinocchio? Do you have a personal
attachment to the story.
Pinocchio is a book that is [read widely around the world]. It is
written by an Italian, Carlo Collodi, and our country is very
familiar with the story, so it was only fair that I would make a
film about it. The story is written in such a way so as to allow
different directors or even the audience to interpret it in their
own way. I decided to use the point of view of Gepetto, who is a
carpenter and decides to build his son. I used this because it
metaphorically represents how each father would like to carve his
own child with his hands and see a reflection of himself in it.
Can you explain the visual style?
My style was hugely inspired by Lorenzo Mattoti, a famed Italian
illustrator. I wanted to move away from the usual tried-and-tested
method of illustration for Pinocchio and his style really suited
what I had in my mind for this project. We decided to use a digital
system without paper using specialised software. I'm proud to
say that I am the first director to use this system in Europe!
What are your inspirations for this film?
My main inspiration for this film was Tuscany, because Collodi was
originally from Tuscany, and it seemed right to move my
pre-production team there so that they could feel the film. It
seems strange to me that all the previous versions of
Pinocchio didn't quite capture the magic of Tuscany
In your opinion, what makes animation different from
Animation is a world apart from live action. In terms of
execution, it can mean a whole lot of pre-planning and structure,
but it translates fantastically onto film, and that is the beauty
of it. Also, I think animation in itself is a language that can
give out a complex message in a simple manner. It can touch the
lives of both children and adults alike.
Do you base your characters on yourself and people
What I do is when I work with my characters I try to imagine what
I would do in the situation that they are in. So basically all the
characters, even the villains, have a part of me in them. Their
reactions would be just like how I would react and to me this gives
a touch of realism to the character.
What is your take on the story itself?
As I child, I was very fond of Pinocchio as was every
other child in Italy, but when I grew up I read it again as an
adult and read between the lines. The original story ends on a
tragic note but when I decided to make this film I wanted to
emphasize Pinocchio's personality - his charm, wit and his ability
to do whatever he likes. For example, with the kite that becomes
Pinocchio's outfit through the film, I added that as a metaphor for
freedom. At the end of the film, when Pinocchio begins to become
human, he still carries on his charm and personality and continues
to be the son of Geppetto. And again, I'd like to add that each one
of us has a little bit of Geppetto in us and a little bit of
What were the problems you had to face during the making
Initially, our team took a while to adapt to the software as it
was developed specifically for us but didn't exist before. Add to
that, the constant need to update to latest versions and the use of
a graphic tablet as opposed to traditional pen and paper. But as we
got accustomed to the software, the process became more simple and
So what's in the pipeline for you?
I'm working on a TV series called Pipi, Pupu &
Rosemary,and I have a few productions in the pipeline, but
obviously I will have to consider financing them in the best and
most efficient way. For most directors in Europe, the problem isn't
making a film but funding it. Previously, my films like Lucky
and Zorba gained international success and I'm hoping to make
some more films like that in the future.
What would you say to budding animators in this
Stay rooted to your culture and only add to what already exists.
You are a country of over a 1000 years of history and this should
be a great basis for any work that you may want to do. To tell you
the truth, I am really looking forward to watching some great work
by students here!
And finally, how would you describe Pinocchio
in 3 words?
It's simple: "Searching for freedom"!