Issue #111

Loris Lai

Il Passionale

Loris received a Philosophy and Letters degree at the Roman University, Roma Tre. He then studied experimental filmmaking in Los Angeles at UCLA and received his MFA in Directing at The American Film Institute in Los Angeles. His latest music video “Green Eyed Monster” was inspired by the love scene in Michelangelo Antonioniʼs psychedelic cult favorite “Zabriskie Point”. Amongst his many other music videos, Love is Requited by Academy Award nominee Elisa, was conceived with Academy Award winner Milena Canonero. The song won the Nastro DʼArgento for songwriter Elisa, and the video won the 10th edition of the Rome Videoclip Il Cinema Incontra La Musica. Loris recently directed a charming animated short movie for Tokidoki featuring fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. Loris is currently developing his first feature film, “Roll”.

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

My whole life I have been searching for a different way to express myself, to communicate without words, or rather, without using myself as the conduit of these words. In the beginning, that was music for me. Then it became moving images. Now that I have found the right tool, Iʼm fighting, actually fighting, to be able to use this tool and finally speak. In a single word I am a: director. My past work has been limited to commercials and music videos but I am now working on my first feature film. For fun I like to do sports that involve risk. I get a real adrenaline rush from them which makes me feel very alive and clear of mind. On the other end of the spectrum I like to run away from the city. When I can, I enjoy getting completely lost in the wilderness. There is something extremely attractive about a place where the only sounds are the wind and wild animals in the distance.

What made you leave Italy and choose LA?

The main reason I left my home in Rome was that I had to face a reality. My family doesnʼt have anything to do with the movies or show business and so I didnʼt have any contacts within that world other than the ones I found and created for myself. My decision to leave came to me right after I graduated from university in Rome. I looked at myself in the mirror and I decided that if I was going to drown in a pond of shallow water anyway, I would much rather do it in the ocean. So I packed my stuff and I moved to LA. That was many years ago, now. I studied first at UCLA and then at AFI to get my Masters degree and start “fighting/working” here in LA as a director.

Please share your best memory in the City.

My best memory is when I first arrived in LA, which is basically a “non-city”. It occurred to me how powerful nature is and that, even in a country like the USA nature is still way more powerful than man. One of my favorite personal memories was this one time, I was at a dinner party and after the meal I was sitting with a really nice older man speaking about nothing in particular. I said to him “Iʼm going to get another glass of wine would you like one too?” the older man said “yes please” and so I went. On the way to the kitchen I got blocked by my friend who told me that she noticed that I have being talking to John and I said “yes, heʼs very nice person.” At that point she looked at me as if I was crazy or something and she said “do you know who he is?” I said “Yeah, heʼs John…” “Yes,” she said, “John… Landis!!”.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

Like I said, the nature aspect of LA is its most popular feature. You know, the ocean, the hills, etc. and tourists are really into the Hollywood stars on Hollywood Bvld and thatʼs fine but, there is also another aspect of LA that isn’t popular or touristy. Its grittier and real and gives you the true sense of a city, at least, what I imagine a city is. Also shooting inside the LA river (a river without water) gives you an immediate visual sense of what Californians have to deal with: LA being an artificial city, built in the middle of the desert, currently going through a drought. The outfit its simply me.

Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

I found this project very culturally interesting. Italy is going through a big recession and people are suffering more and more everyday. The times of the economic boom in the 70′ and the 80′ in Italy seem very distant. Now, once again, people are leaving our country to go and find their fortune somewhere else in the world. A lot of bright minds find many more possibilities for work in other country’s which not only offer larger salaries but structures in which they can improve and grow in their given professions. So Italiany gives a voice to some of these Italians who, either by choice or necessity, left their home country to make their way, in this case, in the USA. Each and every one of us has a different story, background and profession. To be able to connect and learn from one another’s experiences is a powerful tool for self improvement. Thanks Alexo!

How would you describe being an ambassador of the italian style/culture abroad?

I would never picture my self as a an ambassador of style and culture. What I can say is that I always try to be as honest as I can with my ideas and work. I believe that, no matter what, my cultural background is reflected in everything I will ever create in my life. I grew up in Rome but my family from my dad’s side is American and so I was able to absorb both cultures growing up. I also think that films are a tool that allow you to communicate with everyone everywhere in the world. So having a wider prospective and being able to shift between diverse cultures helps you to tell stories that more people can understand.

  • DTLA, CA


  • Time

    150 mins

  • Shots


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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US