FAMILY Best Scene Reading – THE ITALIAN VACATION, by Claudia Marinelli

Racing the boundaries of infinity in space.

Cast List:

Narrator: Val Cole
Giordano: Gary Graham
Rachel: Kelci Stephenson

Get to know the writer:

 1. What is your screenplay about?

If your family believes in your dreams won’t you get a better chance in fulfilling them? This is what the screenplay is about: family dynamics.
Rachel makes her living as a baker at her father’s Italian bakery in Brooklyn, but strives to be a sculptor against her father’s wishes. When she’s asked to go to Italy to take care of her sick great uncle, who was her first mentor, she seizes the opportunity, in hopes it’s also a chance to pursue her dream , and prove to her father that she’s an artist.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, family, multicultural dramedy.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

The story is fun and highly entertaining, geared towards wide audiences of all ages and of different cultures. Busy Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, the beautiful Italian countryside, fascinating Rome, and the charming lakes near Rome are the frame to the story. The main characters and some of the supporting characters are Italian- Americans, they speak good Italian and mix the two languages. The mixing of the two languages will give a special “flavor” to the movie. The “clash” of two different cultures, that just apparently seem similar, will make the audience smile and eventually laugh.

The story though carries an important positive message, that will move audiences regardless of their backgrounds.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Funny, touching.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

I love and watch over and over again many movies, but I have a special love for “Mediterraneo” (the Italian movie that won an Oscar in 1992) and “Moonstruck”.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Quite a while! Finally I would say it took me almost three years to finish it.

7. How many stories have you written?

I wrote two novels (“950, 49th Street Brooklyn New York” and “La Corsa e l’Infinito”) both published in Italy, and many short stories. Since I turned to screenwriting in 2011, I wrote six short screenplays (two have been produced in Italy “Un Amato Funerale” and “The Rosary”) and two long features, “Chasing White Infinity” is the first one, “The Italian Vacation” (comedy) the second one. I also had my first stage play, “A Little Monster’s Journal” published in the US in 2004. At the present moment I’m writing a new screenplay (in Italian this time).

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

I love many songs but my favorite is an Italian song titled “Il cielo in una stanza” (The sky in a room) from Italian singer and author Gino Paoli.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

In my first draft my main character, Rachel, was too passive. So I made many changes, but then, passed the midpoint , when I had to enter act three I got “stuck”, although the detailed beat sheet was well done. I wasn’t happy with the solution of my story, whatever I wrote seemed “fake”. In the meantime I took a direction course, and I wrote, produced and directed my short “Il Rosario”. This was a very good experience, that made me “grow” as a screenwriter and… magically, when I went back to “The Italian Vacation” I found the right “solution” for a wonderful ending.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about stage plays, and movies. As a teenager living in France, and Italy I read tons of novels and stage plays, it was impossible by then to read screenplays. All the years spent reading were necessary for me to become a writer.

I am passionate about the Art of movies, and I am fascinated about the “magic” of the wide screen: how images can tell feelings, mood, and stories.
I also love to travel, to meet different cultures, and visit our beautiful world.

Cooking is also another of my passions (for… I am Italian) and I had a lot of fun writing about my main character, Rachel, baking and decorating her beautiful wedding cakes. In all my stories, food has a “special” place.

I’m also passionate about my three grown-up children, that I love dearly, they have been also a great source of inspiration.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?

At the moment the screenplay is semi-finalist at “New York Metropolitan Screenwriting Festival”, and I was so pleased to know that it was chosen among the many screenplays the festival received. I’m currently waiting for the finals in June.

The FilmFreeway platform is very easy to understand and, once I uploaded the material, entering the festivals was super easy. The experience was very positive.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings
on the initial feedback you received?

With my first screenplay I contacted tons of producers, sending tons of query letters. I ended up by being asked to send the synopsis to 15 producers, two of them asked me to send the first twenty pages of my screenplay. It ended there.

With “The Italian Vacation” I decided to follow the festival “route” and see where the experience would take me for further decisions about the screenplay.
When I received the notification that “The Italian Vacation” passed the semi-finals I was super happy! I write in three languages. I’m blessed (and very lucky) to be able to speak, read, and write in Italian, French and English at the same level, but acquiring those skills was not painless. It’s a lot of work, constant and daily work! And… I still sometimes wonder, when I face my writings, if I wrote it right. I always have to remember that in my brain the languages contaminate each other, although it’s very “normal” for bilingual and trilingual people, it’s an “embarrassing” problem if you’re a writer and the contamination shows up in a screenplay… Rereads after a certain period of time, to let the screenplay rest, are a must! This is very annoying if time is short.

The notification that I was semi-finalist reassured and encouraged me. I am much more confident now that I can improve in the future.


Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox


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