16/05/2009: Meet our Guests: Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva

The in France based filmmaker Sebastiano d’Ayala Valva made the moving and stunning documentary Transvestites also Cry. The director will be present at the screening of his film on Friday May 22 at 10pm. Let’s see what Sebastiano has to say….

What is the most fun part about making a film?
In documentary film making, there are certain moments which are magical. During filming, when I seize an extraordinary moment with my camera, something unexpected and very meaningful, it sends shivers down my spine. Or during editing, when I discover something in the footage that I hadn't noticed previously, which adds something new to the film. I like it when things take shape also beyond my control.

Are you a filmmaker with a message?
I wouldn't say I have message as such, not yet anyway. At this stage of my life, film making serves the purpose of developing my sensitivity and my relationship with the world. It pushes me to understand myself and others better. My approach is very humble because I feel I'm mainly taking for now, rather than giving. I am learning through film, rather than teaching or expressing a message. I then just share my experience with the audience. Maybe as I mature, this will change.

Could you tell us how Mujeron and Romina are doing these days, after taking part in the film?
Romina is still leading the same life as in the film but I see her a lot less than Mujeron, as I am much closer to the latter. Mujeron now lives in Marseille and has a flat. He is now legal in France but still works in prostitution in order to help his family.

Could you tell us about your next project, especially how and why you decided to work on it?
I have two documentary films coming out this year. I just completed "The House of the Father", a documentary film about my father, an Italian architect. I shot it over two years and it's about my quest to understand my father, a very complex and passionate character, through his work as an architect. I'm also about to complete "Angel", the sequel of "Transvestites Also Cry", where I follow Mujeron to Ecuador when he returned there for the first time since he arrived to Europe. The film is about his relationship to his family and how it is affected by his sexuality and his role as the main provider of the household. I wanted to understand better the true nature of the very ambiguous relationship between the migrant sex worker and the family he supports.

Sebastiano d’Ayala Valva was born in London in 1978 to an Italian father and an English mother. He currently lives in Paris where he graduated at the prestigious Institut d’Etudes Politiques in 2003. He then took part to the production of short movies and feature documentaries, including Serge July’s documentary « Once Upon a Time … Last Tango in Paris ». In January 2007, he finishes his first documentary as a director, the award-winning « Transvestites Also Cry », broadcast on French televison (Planète,Odyssée). In 2009, he completes "The House of the Father", a documentary about his father, an Italian architect. The project has been selected at the Berlinale Talent Campus 2008, Documentary in Europe 2008 and Premio Solinas 2008. His next documentary, "Angel", is due to come out in September 2009 and will be broadcast in France (Odysséee, Pink TV). Sebastiano is also working on his first feature film.

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