I recently watch the short film called First Bite. It’s mind-blowing; a fantastic production that packs in quite the punch and is technically brilliant. Do check it out below. I recently interviewed with director, Vincenzo Nappi, to know about how it all came together. Show the team some love folks.
Vincenzo’s Other Work – https://vimeo.com/vincenzonappi
First Bite (2020): Interview with Vincenzo Nappi
This Is Barry: Hah! Wow, Vincenzo, that short film had quite the stinger. It feels like there is more meat to this. Do you have any plans to expand this to a full-length feature film?
Vincenzo: Thanks! I haven’t thought about a feature for this one too much, but I do have an alien abduction horror/comedy short coming up that I’m penning a feature for! I do like to end my shorts at their highest points to make it feel like there’s more beyond the short itself. It’s something I’ve done for nearly every film I’ve made!
This Is Barry: How did it all come together? The idea, your cast & crew, the execution.
Vincenzo: Well, initially I had a body horror script about a girl who slowly turned into a crab but it got a little out there and didn’t quite work as a script haha. So, I ended up reworking the parts of it that I liked and got First Bite out of it! I’m also obsessed with the film Green Room and metal music so I wanted to make something in honour of them both!
As far as my crew goes it was mostly filled with friends who are also filmmakers, as well as some new faces I hadn’t worked with before who were friends with said friends!
With Catherine Saindon who plays Alex, I had seen her in a local film at its Fantasia screening and knew she’d be great for the role! So, when I found out that my casting director Marco Carreiro was friends with her I nudged him in that direction haha. And then with Hana Kashaf who plays Olivia I had seen some of her theatre work in the past and thought that her performances were really good!
As far as execution goes we managed to get access to a bathroom in a very bougie restaurant that my art director Emma Kredl had to make look like a dirty venue bathroom despite it being spotless at the start! Then we shot for around 11 hours split between two days. I animate my films before production so that we know exactly what we need and can be in and out of the location in the least amount of time possible.
This Is Barry: I’m guessing you wanted to leave the audience wondering what the origin of Patient-0 was. Is the backstory fully drawn out in your mind? Would you like to share some titbits about it?
Yeah! The second draft of the film actually had her backstory in it as a flashback sequence but I decided to cut it out to save the pacing and because it didn’t feel necessary. Essentially the scene that I cut was a fast-paced montage where we see Alex making out with one of the band members in their car and then the band member biting her and setting off the events of the film.
This Is Barry: The detailing is incredible. Was it quite the struggle to get the blood just right? I mean there are so many mainstream films that still work the blood to look like paint 🙂
I was lucky enough to have Maria-Rachelle D’amour on set who is an amazing practical effects artist! She did all the makeup, bite wounds and two types of fake blood. One that was easy to wash off for the blood pooling on the floor (thank god it did wash off) and then an edible version for Catherine to be able to consume that had a nice chunky texture to it. Truly an amazing person to have on set!
This Is Barry: I love the lighting; it set the mood so well, so grim. What kind of gear did you use to film this.
Thank you! As far as lighting goes we didn’t have anything too fancy equipment-wise, we mainly used these LED lights that we could strategically place within the confined space of the bathroom. We also had lights with gels on them blasting blue light into the room to give it that anti-drug use light kind of vibe that you see in some sketchier bathrooms. We shot this film over a year ago so I’m a bit hazy on the specific types that we used haha. But for the camera, we shot on a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k with the Sigma 18-34mm lens so that I could really have the maneuverability I needed in such a tight space.
This Is Barry: Catherine Saindon was fantastic. Alex’s fear and confusion, followed by sheer satisfaction, came across brilliantly. How was it working with her?
Yeah, Catherine’s great! Honestly, for the amount of super sticky fake blood she had to eat and have caked on her, mixed with the fact that she was looking into a public toilet for the entire first day we shot, she is such a trooper. I don’t think most people would agree to do that and I’m super thankful that she did!
This Is Barry: Where can we follow your work?
You can find First Bite and some of my older films on my Vimeo page at https://vimeo.com/vincenzonappi. It’ll also be on Troma’s streaming service, Troma Now, along with my film Is Your Daughter Home?. I’m also always posting about new projects I’m working on before and during production on my Instagram @canuxvince.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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