Eitan Pitigliani: from Like a Butterfly, starring the legend Ed Asner, to his upcoming film about the story of a young dancer

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[in picture – directed and produced by Eitan Pitigliani]

Nick is a young actor who’s desperately looking for success; to obtain it he progressively builds up a wall around himself to separate and protect him from the world. One day Nick accidentally meets an old Hollywood star thanks to whom he understands that that world lives inside him and that, first and foremost, it is fundamental to look inside yourself: only by being aware of your past can you pave the way for the future.

Like a Butterfly is a short and intense film (27 minutes long) directed and produced by Eitan Pitigliani (winner of the Golden Spike Award) Falcon Productions and Enrico Mastracchi Manes in collaboration with Rai Cinema.

The Movie features an amazing cast: the American Legend Ed Asner, winner of 5 Golden Globes and 7 Emmy Awards, plays the role of an old Hollywood star whose career is on its last legs and Will Rothhaar plays the young Nick, the main character, Cindy Pickett, Rita Raider, Brad Greenquist and Micheal G. London. The film features the Music of Paolo Vivaldi and the Cinematography of Daniel Katz.

The Director is now working on new projects as “Out of Control” – the story of a young dancer – that he will film during the summer, and another feature film about soccer.

 Where did the idea of “Like a Butterfly” come from? What message were you trying to get across to the audience?

Well, this is a tough one. Actually in my research I always try to stick to what I believe is the reason why I became a director, which is the need to capture the essence of life ­ and of what life could be ­ and then put it on screen, through a special medium: the film. What is great about films is that you make them together with other people, in my case with wonderful and special individuals that helped me take the idea I first had to the final stage. The story of the film came from a series of personal experiences that I have had over time, that I then jotted down in words together with the screenwriter Alessandro Regaldo. There were so many things that inspired me while I was writing the story.

Then, thanks to the wonderful people that worked on it and supported me in this endeavor, I was able to finally get it off the ground. I am so happy of the way the film turned out, especially because of the message that I wanted to convey to the audience, which is that even in the darkest and most difficult moment of your life you can find a way to look inside your soul and ‘create value’. This subject means a lot to me, since I see that young people today have an extremely hard time finding themselves ­ and believe me, I am aware of a lot of people who are simply OUT OF CONTROL – by the way this is the title of my next project, that I will film this summer, about the story of a young dancer who is completely lost. Many of them don’t know who they are, nor what they want to be, and just follow the role models that today’s society and media promote.

This way in most of the cases they live a virtual life that keeps them from discovering who they really are. But one day, when they finally wake up and realize it….Well, that’s really tough! And that is why I believe that only someone who has been around the block and has a special wisdom can really help them find their way in life. This is what Ed Asner represents in the film and I am so happy of what Ed said a few days ago after watching it for the first time. He was so thrilled that he decided to record a special message, in which he spoke very highly about the picture and expressed special thanks to Rai Cinema for its support. He also had wonderful and unexpected words about me that made me feel so flattered and at the same tremendously honored to receive such praise. It was a life changing moment for me. And it made me realize that, exactly as it is in the film, there is always hope for the youngsters today to meet amazingly inspiring people, like Ed, who have accomplished so much in their life and therefore can save them from getting lost.

 What was it like working with the star Ed Asner, with Will Rothhaar and all the other Actors?

Why did you chose these particular actors? When I first started picturing the story in my mind, I had a couple of inspirations, than thanks to Enrico Mastracchi Manes (the person that made this film become a reality), Daniela Zanchini, Martin Guigui and Dahlia Waingort (the executive producers), I had the chance to meet Mr Asner and surprisingly get to know that he was interested in the idea of the movie.

I then worked on the adaption of the script and sent it to him. One day I got a call and to my biggest surprise I found out that his was a YES. He was willing to star in the film, and I was ecstatic about it. I have to say that from that moment on it all became a dream.

Ed had confidence in me and it was such a pleasure to have a legend like him take my directions with such ease and trust. Then, of course, hearing Ed’s profound and grandfatherly voice giving life to the words from the script that me and Alessandro wrote was for me simply jaw­dropping. Regarding the young protagonist Will Rothhaar… it was really hard to find an actor that could be such a perfect complement to Ed, and when I did, thanks to Brad Greenquist, the magic of the film started. Will is such a talented actor, a star, and working with him was wonderful. Then I had the cherry on the cake, Cindy Pickett, a stunning actress that I fell in love with right away, who represented perfectly the original idea I had for the female character ­ the amazing Wendy – that, in a way, is the one that drives the story. But to know what I am talking about, you gotta watch the film.


Ed Asner [the American Legend Ed Asner, winner of 5 Golden Globes and 7 Emmy Awards]’s interview Rai Cinema and about Eitan pitigliani –

Ed Asner's on the film, Eitan Pitigliani and special thanks to Rai Cinema from EITAN PITIGLIANI on Vimeo.


Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a passion, but that it would be your life and your living?

And why did you decide to focus on Short Films? I always liked movies, since I was a little kid. And over the years I realized that all I wanted was to be a director. I think it was when I was around 13 or 14, but it must have been in my mind from the moment I was born, I guess.

It is not easy to understand who you are, what is your place in the world and what is the message that you want to get across. I directed the first short film ‘only’ when I was 19 though, and then I went to study abroad, in London and New York. I feel like, besides being born in Rome, which I love so much, I kind of have two different souls: one lies in Los Angeles, the other is in London. Regarding what you asked about the decision to focus on Short Films, actually it is not really a choice. Even if I do love short films, in my opinion they are a natural and necessary stepping stone to a full length feature, that for a variety of (right) reasons must be done only when you are 100% aware of yourself, your style of directing and what you want to tell the audience. Only then you can think of shooting a feature film and hopefully making a living as a director.

 You are now working on your first Feature film. What led you to make the great leap?

Yes, I am actually working on two projects right now, and it is all thanks to my team and my wonderful manager Cinzia De Curtis, a unique person that believed in me right from the beginning and that is always on my side. The first project is the story of a young dancer, a feature film of which I will make the short version this summer. It’ s actually just around the corner and I am so excited at the sole idea, since it’s a very touching story that means a lot to me.

The second is a feature film about soccer, taken from my personal point of view, which is a spiritual story, essentially a drama but with a hint of comedy in it. Both films deal with problems that the young people of today have to face in everyday life, especially in the modern society that demands a lot from them and doesn’t give much back. I’m so excited to make these two movies, starting with the short this summer. It’s going to be amazing.

 What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?

In my opinion a film is a collaborative process that becomes great only when all the people involved in the making are allowed to express themselves at best. They are all essential in order to make a film that will resonate and touch people’s heartstrings. First of all, the actors. Having the right protagonists for your film is just a blessing and when you find them, you already have half of the film in front of your eyes.

I have to say that I have always been very fortunate to have superb actors like Andrés Gil – the protagonist of my previous short film, You will find me ­ and now Ed Asner, Will Rothhaar, Cindy Pickett, Brad Greenquist, Rita Raider and Michael London. Besides them, the first thing I concentrate on is the music, because it sets the mood of the film. It is very important to have a great composer that you trust and that trusts you.

I am, once again, really fortunate because I have found a soulmate in Paolo Vivaldi, one of the best Italian film composers, that was just nominated at the David Di Donatello this year. Paolo is a terrific artist who always captures my vision ­ which is not always an easy task. He is able to read my mind instantly, and then the music that he makes… it’s pure magic. The other essential component for me is the cinematography, and in the last project I had the pleasure to work with Daniel Katz, a brilliant director of photography thanks to whom the film looks just great. He did such a fantastic job. However there are too many people and souls involved in the making of a film that it is just impossible to think of it as one­person job.

It is more about team work and this is the beauty and the strength of being a director: having all these wonderful people and professionals that give their heart and soul to the story you wrote, or perhaps just envisaged, that then, thanks to the magic of the collaborative process, can finally become a real film. The movie will be broadcast on RaiCinemaChannel from May 26th and had been showcased at the 21st edition of the Palm Beach International Film Festival. It will also be at the Ferrara International Film Festival in June, as the only English film in competition; quite an achievement leading to more upcoming festivals.

the trailer

LIKE A BUTTERFLY a film by Eitan Pitigliani from EITAN PITIGLIANI on Vimeo.