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Meet Federico Conforti

Today we’d like to introduce you to Federico Conforti.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I always had a passion for cinema. My father often brought me to the movies, or we rented VHS tapes to watch at home. In Livorno, my home city in Tuscany, we were lucky to have some of the nicest local cinemas, but unfortunately over the years they’ve been replaced by parking lots or stores.

Movie theaters always had a magnetic pull for me. I was a big fan of music, theater, and art; the cinema united all those things and I fell in love with it.

I acted in community theater for many years and decided to study Cinema, Music and Theater at college. Meanwhile I got practical experience by making videos and short films with friends. I still had no idea that editing would become my future and my primary passion. At the beginning, I just wanted to work in film.

After a brief interlude working as a teaching assistant for the New York Film Academy at Cinecittà, I took Avid Media Composer classes, and thanks to a series of coincidences, I found a job as an assistant editor and general gofer at Magui Studio, a post-production studio run by Andrea Maguolo – post-production genius, teacher, and friend. He taught me the basics of color correction and post-production in addition to the job of assistant editor.

After years of being a gofer and gaining practical editing experience, I started working more and more as an editor – thanks to the faith placed in me by Andrea and the directors I collaborated with – until I finally decided to leave the studio and go freelance.

The economic situation in Italy was, and still is, very difficult. In the film industry people tend to work a lot and earn very little.

I’d always admired American cinema and felt more and more need to distance myself from the Italian system that was weighing me down. Three years ago, I moved to Los Angeles and I’m very happy with that decision.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Absolutely not, the road is always uphill – very little money and lots of sacrifices. Passion keeps you going, even in the difficult times.

You also need to have a respect for the work of the director and learn to build relationships with various colleagues and deal with the stressful situations you might find yourself in.

In America, I had a hard time understanding the market at first. A lot of producers/directors look for specific types of editors for projects, for example, “I need a comedy editor, or a horror editor, or an action editor”. My thinking is, you don’t need a specific type because the best work comes from people who are used to thinking outside the box, so all you need is a good storyteller.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m an editor, not an auteur. The director is the auteur, and part of my job is trying to reconcile the material they’ve shot with what they want to communicate, with their vision, and also bringing my own perspective to the process.

I’ve worked on feature films, short films, documentaries, music videos, and commercials. I love working on stories, especially on features.

Films I’ve edited have won awards at festivals all over the world. The one I’m most proud of is “They Call Me Jeeg”, for which I won the David di Donatello (Italian Oscar) along with my mentor, Andrea Maguolo.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’d like to improve my skills as editor and storyteller. There is not a straight way. I think you can learn from everyone and everywhere. My goal is always working on something that I’d love to watch.

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