September 10, 2021

Michele Civetta on Directing The Gateway, Starring Shea Whigham, Olivia Munn, and Bruce Dern

Michele Civetta is a writer, producer, Emmy nominated director, and founder of the production company Quintessence Films. Michele’s feature film, Agony, starring Asia Argento, was released in 2020. His most recent film is The Gateway, starring Shea Whigham, Olivia Munn, Bruce DernFrank Grillo, Mark Boone Junior, and Taryn Manning. The Gateway is a gritty crime-thriller about a social worker who gets in over his head when he tries to save one of his clients from her maniacal, drug-dealing husband, who was just released from prison.

What you will learn:

  • Michele breaks down what The Gateway is about and tells the story of how the script came to him and how he shaped it into final form. [0:00-6:30]
  • What the casting process was like for The Gateway and how they were able to bring in big names even for smaller roles, such as Bruce Dern, Frank Grillo and Taryn Manning. [6:30-10:00]
  • How Michele found his way into photography, shooting music videos, commercial work, and then directing. What inspired him to pursue a career in visual arts. How film school and the opportunities that film school provided led to directing feature films. Where Michele sees his career going next. [15:21-21:41]
  • Why he chose to shoot The Gateway in Virginia as opposed to St. Louis (where the film is set) and the necessity of being flexible about a film’s shooting location. How the pandemic affected post-production and the film’s launch date, and how Michele plans to navigate COVID restrictions in the future, starting with how he writes scripts to what types of stories he may tell. [21:41-28:16]
  • How Olivia Munn became attached to The Gateway and the amazing performance and generosity she brought to the film. Advice Michele has for young people aspiring to make it in the film industry. [28:16-35:50]


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