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Vincenzo Cosentino, Director/Writer of Handy: 2014 Heartland Film Festival Interview - Heartland Film

Vincenzo Cosentino, Director/Writer of Handy: 2014 Heartland Film Festival Interview


Vincenzo Cosentino is an award winning filmmaker (director/writer, editor), who began his filmmaking career in 2007. His short films have been recognized with official selections and awards, including top prize in the “Flip Video Contest” at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 for his short film The Flip Trip. After 13 (self-produced) short films he also produced and directed his first feature film named Handy (2013), based on the same story of his most well known awarded short film Being Handy (2009).

A Personal Video Message from Vincenzo

HFF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

VC: Handy film is about a bad writer who was writing with his left hand instead of his right hand for 30 years. After decades of bad stories and being ignored, the right hand–named Handy–decides to detach from the body and escape from the actual body in order to become the best writer ever.

Handy will meet several human characters that will teach how to behave in the human world, the most important character is certainly Frank the Black (performed by the legendary Franco Nero) who will teach Handy how to properly write and live.

Handy began as a short film (Being Handy) that I self-produced in 2008 with the money I won at the Cannes Film Festival.

The short film performed amazingly well in festivals so I decided to go for a suicide mission and self-produced the feature film with absolutely no funds.

HFF: What was your role in the production?

VC: No one believed in my crazy idea at first so I couldn’t find any investors, but I believed so much in my idea that I sacrificed myself in order to make this movie happen. I can say that I made the entire movie by myself over four years of work (night and day)–again, with no budget at all. 

I had to learn a bunch of new software, especially for visual effects. It took me forever to make this movie on a laptop. I have several roles in my movie because I could not afford to pay anybody to help me out. I mean, visual effects are not cheap and I was quoted between $60-80 per hour.

That is why I am the writer, director, editor, visual effects artist, set designer and so on, except the music that was made by an amazing friend named Sveinung Nygaard and another great friend (Gianfranco) who helped me refining the audio in post after I personally recorded it “sound by sound” like a crazy man for five months.

HFF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

VC: I have never been to this festival before but everytime I was screening my movie in USA someone was telling me “Hey Vincenzo, your movie is great and seems to be perfect for the Heartland Film Festival, try!” I am not represented by a distributor or an agent, so it’s a great joy for me every time a big festival takes my movie because it is like they’re selecting me as a person too.

HFF: This year’s tagline is “Shift Your Perspective” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

VC: They will never forget my movie. Handy is the only movie about humans interacting with standalone hands and it is not just a funny movie but it has a STRONG meaning behind it. It talks about how we actually use our hands for the bad things instead of noble things.

It is extremely original. I mean, how many movies have you watched with just humans? 99 percent. How many movies have you watched with standalone hands? Zero percent. 


HFF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

VC: The will of telling original stories and being closer to people. Nowdays movies are too focused on visual effects with no stories, and that’s why I am also very happy to meet Mr. Paolo Zucca (director of The Referee). He is italian like me and he is a filmmaker that knows how important are stories nowdays and I think I can learn from people like him and the other outstanding filmmakers that will attend the festival.

HFF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now but you weren’t told when you started your career?

VC: How important is having the right connections. You can have a great movie but if you don’t know the right people it won’t go far.

I know it seems a standard thing to know, but I was not so aware of it when I started my movie and I am pretty amazed that it went so far without a distribution or an agent behind it.

HFF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

VC: My favorite movies are Seven (David Fincher) and Big Fish (Tim Burton).  

Worst movie? I don’t want to be rude towards other filmmakers, behind every movie there is a lot of work and sometimes as a filmmaker you can’t decide everything on set. So I might say that a movie is crap and by saying this I might offend the director but truly the fault could have been of the cinematographer or the producer or the editor, and we will never know that.  

Only the people that were there at that time working on the actual film could say who was the real fault on why the movie came out like crap.

HFF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

VC: My movie premiered in Austin, then it went to Cleveland, Newport, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Orlando and St.Louis.

What I love is to interact with people during the Q&A, I love trying to answer to their questions because when I was not a filmmaker I had so many questions and no one to ask them to, so now it is my turn to make people happy answering to their questions. That is why I am happy to do 17 hours of international flying every time in order to attend.

HFF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

VC: Ok, I would love that someone would actually ask me how to properly spell my name because in USA very few people can actually spell it correctly (laughs).

Ciao to everyone, see you at the cinema :)

See Handy at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

  • Saturday, Oct. 18 – 6:00 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21 – 12:15 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Wednesday, Oct. 22 – 12:00 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Saturday, Oct. 25 – 5:00 pm at Wheeler Arts Community

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