Movie Marker Magazine went behind closed doors with producer Mike Montagna to chat about his recent movie ‘Inside Me-You’, the gripping story of Maria, a 17-year-old aggressive boxer who faces a choice: forgiveness or revenge when she finds out that her father was released early from prison, where he was jailed for murder.
Welcome to Movie Marker Mike! Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you! I am Michele, but I go by Mike, and I am an award-winning producer and director, originating from Pavia, a city in close proximity to Milan, in Italy.
What got you into producing and filmmaking as a whole?
So many different things, but if I was asked why the desire and the ambition of making movies and transforming cinema into my job, one of the many answers I’d give has a double value, since it’s both selfish and selfless: it’s death.
There’s nothing in the world that frightens me more than the fear of dying. It isn’t the moment of death itself but the idea of ending up somewhere else, without knowing what awaits there.
Looking at this selfishly, my desire is to leave a mark of my passing on this Earth, in order to keep the memory of me alive. Artists are eternal beings that keep on living through their works, beyond this they also help others coexist with their torments and fears.
So, it’s selfless for me to say that as movies helped me survive, I believe that there would be no greater satisfaction than knowing that someone, watching one of my films, felt even an ounce of comfort, entertainment, passion, or shared sorrow. Cinema saved my life and I want to repay my debt.
The synopsis for the film ‘Inside Me-You’ is gripping. Tell us about your role within the movie.
Hey guys! Predominantly I am known as a Producer, but for this particular project I took on the role of Line Producer. Slightly different, but still the backbone of the movie. As a line producer I’m orchestrating every aspect of the project to ensure its smooth execution within budgetary constraints. My responsibilities spanned from meticulously crafting and managing the budget to creating and maintaining a comprehensive production schedule. I helped the director and the producer to hire key personnel, manage resources and mitigate risks, letting the director keep her own vision, while adhering to logistical and financial parameters.
In addition to the logistical aspects, my role as a line producer demanded a keen eye for detail and the ability to anticipate and address potential challenges before, they arise.
I’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that the production stays on track, constantly balancing creative aspirations with practical considerations. Collaborating closely with directors, producers, and department heads, I’ve strived to foster a cohesive and productive working environment where everyone’s talents could shine.
It has been a demanding yet deeply rewarding role, one that requires not only expertise in production logistics but also a passion for storytelling and a commitment to excellence in every aspect of the filmmaking process. Maintaining a safe and healthy filming environment has been mandatory for me: the crew and cast helped a lot in this, because each of them was respectful and kind with everyone.
Can you spill some tea from behind the scenes on the movie?
Actually yes! The house where we shot has been used as a location for a bunch of horror films and TV shows, among which the award-winning American Horror Story. It was very spooky, so why not bring some crew members into the attic and make some creepy noises!
During the boxing gym scenes, we used athletes as background actors, and they didn’t lose time during the breaks, to add in some training. I’d sit in craft services and watch them taking advantage of the time to train.
How did you get involved in the movie?
First time the writer, director, and executive producer of ‘Inside Me-You’, Arina Rozova, not only an amazing artist but also a wonderful human being, talked to me about this project, it still was in its embryonic form. The script wasn’t even close to its final draft, but from the first time I read it, I gave Arina all my availability to help her to bring his film and his vision to life.
The story was so clear, and I could find the power of Arina’s storytelling in each line. The characters and their emotions were so deep and real. I wanted to be part of this.
I find immense satisfaction in the creative collaboration inherent in the filmmaking process. Working closely with directors, writers, and actors, I contribute my expertise to bring diverse stories to life. Each project offers a unique challenge, from managing tight schedules and budgets to problem-solving unexpected obstacles, keeping me constantly engaged and fulfilled. I was more than happy to take this challenge for ‘Inside Me-You.’
Where did you film?
We filmed in and around Los Angeles. The three main locations are the boxing gym, the house, and the street. It was all very local, and we had a local crew on board too.
Are we able to see the movie?
Not yet! The film is currently enjoying its film festival run, scooping up awards along the way, so it’s not available to be openly watched online.
What’s coming up next for you?
I am going to be working on a project called ‘Sunrise Boulevard’ I’ll tell you more about that next time!
How can people keep up with you online?
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