SxSW 2020 Interview – HEART TO HEART producer Chiara Ventura

“HEART TO HEART is a short comedy pilot about Liddy, played by Fern Deacon, a young girl who is in hospital being treated for heart failure. While there, she develops a crush on her nurse Kim (Siena Kelly), but is scared to make the first move…except her sick heart (voiced by David Tennant!) has something to say about that…quite literally!” Producer Chiara Ventura on HEART TO HEART which screens in the Episodic section of SxSW 2020 Film. 

Editor’s Note: While SxSW was officially cancelled on March 6th, 2020, the below interview was one of many that already took place prior to the festival. To respect the creators, all already performed interviews are presented in their unedited entirety below. All of the below works WILL make their way out into the world in one way or another, and we will update this article with updated information when we have it. — JW

You are back! Tell me about your previous experience here at the festival and what you showed.

Yes! Last year I was there with feature documentary ROMANTIC COMEDY, which I also produced!

What is it about Austin, either the festival or the town itself, that excites you the most?

The festival and the city are both extremely cool, fun and interesting, and I look forward to coming back.

How did you first hear about the SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

Last year’s experience! Before then I was aware of SXSW’s great reputation.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

Writer IR Bell-Webb came to producers Manon Ardisson and Chiara Ventura with the idea and we started developing it as  a series. After SKY commissioned the pilot, director Lilah Vandenburgh joined the team. In December 2018 we filmed 2 episodes. We had a small crew of very talented and extremely diverse individuals (majority women and BAME) and this positively influenced the set, making it a great working environment even though we were under extreme pressure due to time constraints. Our cast was also brilliant, a mixture of up and coming and established talent, who were all very excited by and passionate about the fresh premise of the scripts. After the shoot, as we were looking for the perfect voice for the protagonist’s twisted, sex-obsessed yet highly encouraging dying heart, we got in touch with the agents of David Tennant of DOCTOR WHO fame and wrote him a personal letter, which got him on board.

Who are some of your main creative inspirations?

Shows like My Mad Fat Diary, SKAM and Big Mouth!

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?

We filmed with an Alexa mini. The main practical challenge was finding the right location seen as the film is entirely shot in a hospital ward and we didn’t have the resources to build it from scratch and couldn’t use a working hospital. We found a pre-built hospital set in a filming studio in London and our art department worked very hard to personalise it and make it unique for our shoot by building a wall and changing the colour scheme completely. We were extremely happy with the final result and its distinctive look. 

After SxSW, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

It’s going to have its UK premiere at BFI FLARE and after that who knows and we’re still looking for partners who might want to finance the rest of the series as we think it’s a fun, original idea and there is definitely an audience for it

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker/creator, what would you suggest to get their start?

Watch as much as you can and make friends with people who share your passion! 

And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

RUN by Thea Gajic. A simple story told beautifully, mixing urban culture and poetry.

For more information on this film and to follow its progress into the festival world, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film!

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