Lady Ronin Costa – RVL Italy
(For the Italian version, please click on this link)
Good evening, and welcome.
Vampyres beyond borders, it’s our International information branch, it’s our way of keeping in touch with our friends outside the United States, it’s our way of showing our readers that the modern Vampyre culture extends far beyond where they are and a way of letting our readers know, when you talk about the modern culture, you’re not alone, insulated or insular.
I suppose the idea came to me from having spent periods of my life in both the U.K. and Australia, I tend to think global. I believe that RVL requires us to think global and I think that in recognising that we are all part of something bigger gives us a sense of our place and strength.
Where did the name come from? Why, television of course… *laughs*
Well, moving on… This evening we are joined by our dear friends from the Lega Italiana Real Vampires Associazione Nazionale. Many of you may recall, from our previous touch base with the Lega, that they were in the throes of organising a project to produce a television feature on real living Vampires, we thought we’d catch up with the latest news on this and find out what’s going on for Halloween there.
Without further ado it is with great pleasure that we bring you an interview with President Davide Santandrea and Vice-President Lady Maria Amico of LIRV, Italy.
RVL: Good evening, we are very pleased, and honoured, to be able to welcome you back to RVL, how are you today?
DS: Aside from being a little tired for the lots of work that I am doing right now, everything is good. The pleasure to talk again with you it’s really reciprocated, brother.
MA: very good and I’m very happy to work with RVL!
RVL: If you would, Presidente Davide, Lady Maria, can we begin with a little of the background for the idea of the television show, when did it come about?
MA: The idea was born by Davide Santandrea and it was a great idea! Nobody had ever thought about it. The project is great and I fully support it!
DS: The birth of the cinematographic saga and the TV series on Real Vampires was born from the idea of talking about Real Vampires and no more about the usual movie/legendary vampires. We strongly wanted a TV series and movies for the movie theaters based on the objective reality of Real Vampires, so not connected to fantasy. Therefore I wrote three books that are the three chapters of the cinematographic saga on Real Vampires. “IL DIARIO DELLA BESTIA” (The Beast’s Diary) that will be made into a TV series here in Italy and that for other countries will be aired most certainly on Netflix and Sky. The first book and first season talks about one of my experiences of when I lived in New York in the year 2000, when I had to move there for work with an Italian TV show, and there I met a clan that in the TV series will be called DARK BLOOD (it’s not the real name, we changed it to protect the privacy of the community), where I had the chance to know the leader Steve Barnes that also became my partner for the next five years.
The TV series is very particular: every episode is cut in half, the first half talks about the Horus of the present (my name as a Real Vampire) in the city of Meldola in Italy where I live and my relationship with the town from the moment I declared myself as a vampire. The other half talks about the story I lived with the clan Darkblood and its leader Steve Barnes that, as I said, became my partner/lover for five years. The second chapter, therefore the second book I wrote that is called HORUS VAMPIRE SAGA and is transformed in three cinematographic international movies. Much of the story is connected to me, the reason why I chose the name Horus after came back to Italy from my experience in the States, my relationship with Egyptology and Ancient Egypt, and especially talks about how it was born the Italian vampire community with the birth of LIRV that is widely illustrated inside the three movies. In Horus Movies, I got to the point of talking about all the Italian vicissitudes that LIRV had to go through and even about some Italian Real Vampire families that exist here in Italy and that I have met in real life. The funny thing was to even recreate my death in the last movie of Horus Vampire Saga because I didn’t want to be in the third chapter of the saga, where I preferred there would be new characters. I thought that the presence of Horus on all three chapter could be too much and I was afraid to tire the public a little. The third chapter is called VALLERON SAGA and it tells the story of a young couple of real vampires that their love story is hampered by their families, real vampires also, in war and rivals of one another from many years that see the love between the two youngsters like a dishonor and an insult. A sort of Romeo and Juliet in real vampire style with a sprinkle of thriller. Valleron però, differently from the first two sagas that are more like drama-horror, is a beautiful love story. In Valleron Saga we recreated everything connected to reality. Clan Valleron is situated in a ranch – horse stable 7 kilometers near Meldola in Italy, and everything that is true about the ranch we put it in the movie in a way that now numerous fans come and visit the cinematographic set and they find exactly the locations correspondent to reality of the places, the families and the towns where the movie takes place. I must say that even though I’m not an actor, I play my own character’s part in two of the Sagas (beast’s diary and Horus Vampire Saga) and the funny part is that after this coming out as an international vampire, they stop me in the streets to ask me information about real vampires, they send me tens of hundreds emails, put letters of appreciation in my mail box, they know me practically everywhere, they ask me my autograph, pictures, they invite me to parties and I’m constantly filmed in tv interviews.
I believe I gave a big shake to the whole country on recognizing diversity. I have to say that they have been all respectful and welcoming towards me and this made me realize I took the right step declaring myself as a vampire. And then there are the great praises. The famous movie director Dario Argento, after reading the scripts of the real vampires saga commented saying with these exact words “it’s a shame I did not write this project…” this to tell you how this cinematographic project is really taking space and having a lot of success even before being officially filmed. Imagine what will happen when we will begin filming it.
RVL: We were most interested to have learned of the idea when we conducted the “Chatting with Vampires – Beyond Borders” interview in June this year, why did you feel the need for such a television project?
DS: The necessity of this TV-cinematographic project (that you will be able to see in the states too thanks to the international cinematographic distributions that we will use), as I already said above, arrived from the necessity to talk about our reality, the one of real vampires, and to say stop to all the cinematographic fantasies on vampires. No more showing vampires as bloody monsters that we are not, it’s time to show that real vampires as real people, that respect the laws, that we help people, that we cooperate with law enforcement like the police to find the real criminals. I see it a little as our return game and redemption of our true image. In the tv series and also in the movies, real vampires will treat many different problems and themes; the acknowledgment of diversity (and by diversity we mean race, cultures, sexual orientation, subcultures, etc..), the problem of bullying and violence in schools between youngsters, the problem with the terrifying experiments of genetic mutation of human DNA that are really happening in China, mixing human and animal DNA to create hybrids or super humans violating mother nature, and also with the problem of microchip implanted under the skin of the public just like you do with your animals for mass control that in Italy is seen as an enormous violation of the privacy. These are only some of the social problems that the real vampires present in our TV series and our movies will go through with the law enforcement. Our image as real vampires is one of people, BUT DIFFERENT for their characteristics, that are not bloody monsters but they have in their heart the wellbeing of the community in which they live. They become a focal point for a whole town, talking and living beside common people, ready to intervene and help in case of need. We took away all the vampiric stereotypes found in movies and legends. No bites, no phantasmagoric transformations into vampires, no coffins, no crosses and stakes. No vampires that shines under the sunlight, or that fly to supersonic speeds. Only real vampires that answer to our reality and nature.
MA: [Yes] The desire of the project is to make it clear to all who are Real Vampires and thus to understand the difference between film vampires and real vampires.
RVL: …and what have been the major challenges in preparing for the filming of the project?
DS: Seems incredible, but all the challenges we had we are winning them all even before officially filming the TV series and the movies. The biggest challenge for us though, was to involve a town of 10 thousand people (very small) called “MELDOLA”. We were afraid that they wouldn’t understand our project and that my coming out would bring negative discussion in a town this small. Our mayor received me in a meeting in our town hall where in front of cameras and news reporter showed himself greeting hand in hand a real vampire. That was in fact me. I believe it was the first time in Italy that a town mayor officially receives a real vampire. Therefore everyone in Meldola, now knows that in town there’s the national headquarters of LIRV, and that in the woods just out of town or by the river it’s a meeting point for us real vampires. When the people saw the reaction of the mayor, that was one of incredible welcoming towards me and LIRV and towards the production of the movies, they opened up too, at first with much curiosity towards us, and after they began actively helping us in our cinematographic project. The funniest thing happened when we began our first casting for the extras for the movies and we saw arriving entire families of Meldola that asked to take part of the project. This has been my greatest victory. Making possible to get closer the reality of real vampires to a small Italian town like Meldola. With this experience we are ready, as Lirv, to have the same results in other Italian towns.
MA: In my opinion, the biggest challenge was to find the lenders.
RVL: What do you see the major benefit of this project as being?
MA: The benefit is just to understand our reality and to prevent people from being afraid of us. TV series also deals with the issue of discrimination against gays and bullying. themes that are very heartfelt.
DS: The benefits of the TV-cinematographic project goes into two distinctive realities: the real vampires and the town of Meldola that we are trying to help doing all this. Let’s start with the real vampires; I believe that with this cinematographic project on our reality we are giving a good help to ourselves. Especially for those of us that still struggle to get out of the grave and declare themselves for what they simply are. I see what we do and the victories that we are achieving. I’m sure that when a vampire will look at the behind scenes of our movies and tv series, of how we have been able to involve the people, a whole town thanks also to our coming out, that they will get out of this stronger. All this work we went through should make us ponder that it’s not all that bad the fact of going out in the open and declare ourselves for what we truly are. And our project, and the reaction of an entire mountain town showed us, it’s the proof of this. There will always be who discriminates and that will hate us, but the important is that the majority of the people understand us and accept us.
What I live as a declared real vampire is indescribable: not having to hide anything, not being afraid of whom could discover my true nature, my quiet and relaxed living without any problem. Sure someone doesn’t accept me as a real vampire is still there but today I can say that it’s his problem, not mine anymore. Today I’m proud of the path I walked and of what I am as a person that is a real vampire, that is gay, but also many other things.
The second benefit is the one that goes to a town like Meldola, we decided to film everything here, not only because is my town, where I live and I find myself well, but also especially for its people. I felt I had to do something for this town. When I first came to live here, it was a place that was literally dying. The young were leaving because it couldn’t offer them anything. With the economic crisis many stores were closed. Something was needed to give a big shake to this town and bring here the lights of fame and attention on an international level. From when we decided to film the tv series and the movies on real vampires, the town is slowly coming back to life. The stores are creating new gadgets and products that for the first time are connected to real vampires really existing and not on the fantasy cinematographic vampires. There’s a tourist guide through the town for “Meldola city of the vampires” with a guide for tourists in the set where the tv series and movies will be filmed. The funny thing is that when the pizzeria situated in front of my house, that now everyone in Meldola calls the Vampire’s house, invented the “vampizza” and you have to see how many go to that pizzeria now! And what to say about when I go to the bread store, where I go buy bread every morning, that created the PAMPIRO THE BREAD OF THE VAMPIRE! These things really make me smile, but knowing how this town was suffering, I can say it’s well welcomed everything that can bring rebirth to a town to make it live again thanks to a tv series and movies. The thing that makes me more emotional is when I meet the people in the streets that stop me to thank me for what I’m doing for Meldola. They are not afraid of me and they appreciate me very much, they understand what I’m doing for the town and they help me. And what to say about the letters little kids and youngsters leave me in my mailbox? Thanking letters and of encouragement. Like the pizza maker in front of my house says, “in front of your house there’s a lot of people coming and going, of families and kids” you see for me this is absolutely rewarding makes me say to myself “good Davide, you are on the right path, keep going like this.” I inserted in the movie many places of this town because the fans will come to Meldola to see the places of the set and this could help this town.
RVL: …and how is the progress on the project going at this time?
MA: We are preparing the teaser [and] casting for actors and extras. We will start turning in February. From then on there will be an explosion of advertising because the TV series’ are very beautiful and well done
DS: The cinematographic and television project will see us engaged in the filming every year till 2021. Everything was born when I sent my three books that I wrote on real vampires to the BLUE SCREEN FILM and to the director Max Ferro. My initial idea was one to make a web series, but immediately both the director and the production said that the material that I wrote deserved to be used for a tv series and 7 cinematographic movies. It’s clear that I was left very surprised from what they told me; I had never worked for movies and neither I had studied to become an actor, but I had been shot inside this cinematographic world that for me it’s becoming a big life lesson. Therefore I told myself, “If I’m in this world, let’s see how to help real vampires starting from making the world change idea on vampires and to make finally real vampires talk!” I had been therefore hired as a producer and scene director and seeing that many of my stories are regarding my life as a real vampire I have also become one of the leading actors of the first two sagas.
In June 2017 we realized the first casting for the tv series of THE BEAST’S DIARY that has seen a participation of over 1200 actors in the first selection. At the casting that was taking part in Turin in the FILM COMMISSION where 400 actors participated and 81 of them have been approved. The approved extras are around 600. At the end of July we filmed the first teaser of the Beast’s Diary in Turin that has seen the presence of many of the approved actors. In the meantime the founding had arrived not only for the TV series but for the movies also, so all the project have been approved without elusion. The 16-17th of September we begun the casting for extras here in Meldola that has seen many participants, also whole families. Going further with the project on the 2nd and 3rd of October we have another casting for actors that will take place in Rimini. Then again in Meldola the 5th and 6th of October for the two teasers of the movies Horus vampire saga and Valleron saga. The 7th of Meldola we have the first official meeting between actors of the three sagas and the fans and people of the town. The incredible thing is that between the fans there’s the voice even outside our country and many foreigners will come too. Our next step is the one of building the cinematographic set in town, studying the cinematographic effect, preparing the costumes, and researching the history of Italian real vampires till the smallest detail.
From January 2018 we will begin filming officially. We start with the first 12 episodes of the TV series, the first season, to then immediately pass at the Television. After that we will begin filming the first movie of Horus Vampire Saga and the first movie of Valleron Saga., in a way that the first episodes of the TV series will come out at the same time that the movies will be in theaters in Italy and outside of it. All this will go on till 2021, filming every year 12 episodes, and one movie for each of the two saga.
RVL: Can you tell us, who are your partners, or fellow developers, in this project?
DS: Many are the Partners, Contributors, and Developers of the project. The productions are two: the BLUE SCREEN FILM and the LONG BLACK VEIL PRODUCTION. The interesting part is that the Long Black Veil Production, was born in LIRV after officially registering the name, after the famous rights of the song called like, this that gave name to the codex, expired. When we came to know that the rights were about to expire we ran as LIRV to register the new rights for it. Now we can really say that the name LONG BLACK VEIL really is in the hands of the international vampire community, because even though LIRV registered the name, we will give the use of the name to whoever in the community will have the pleasure to use it, because we think it’s property of the community as a whole. Between the various rights of registration there was also the right to use it in the productive sector of entertainment and movies. So I had a meeting with my council of LIRV and we took the decision to open a cinematographic production label of LIRV, the Long Black Veil Production. We told ourselves, who better than real vampires can make things about real vampires? So we hired the director Giuseppe lo Conti that will work together with Max Ferro the director of Blue Screen Film, and we hired the whole technical personal of video makers. The photography director is the famous Italian Demetrio Caracciolo. After that we passed at the research of an executive producer and we found a fantastic sponsor that founds the entire project for the tv series and the movies. Putting herself a big part of her pocket money. The precious contribution of this sponsor got united with the fundraising through crowdfunding that is still ongoing and that is giving optimal results with the help of our fans. In exchange for their contribution we give them a gadget of the tv series or of the movies. There’s also the town of Meldola that gave us the public spaces where we will be filming our scenes like the Rocca, or downtown and some downtown streets. Not less important are the private activities, stores, that cooperate with the production and that will get a lot of publicity and visibility through the tv series and the movies. For example the Ranch LE VIGNE of Castelnuovo, a fraction of Meldola, that has a beautiful stable for horses, and that will let us have the whole Ranch to film many scenes dedicated to a real vampire family “Clan Valleron”, and will also give us the horses that our actors that will interpret the Valleron Family will use for the scenes on horses. Right in this ranch we worked to make the reality come into the movie. The ranch organizes every month Country evenings with a large participation of young people. Therefore we put everything that goes around this ranch in the movies of Valleron beginning from their fantastic country parties. Sn the fans will come to visit the set in Meldola they will find the ranch with its reality exactly like in the movies. The funny part is that the owner, dear friend Daniele, decided to substitute the name “le vigne” into “clan Valleron” like it will be in the movies. And how can I forget about the important role our very good costumes designer Simona Mazzotti: this dearest friend is now realizing marvelous costumes for the two sagas of the movies with methodic care. And also our make-up artists, the production of special cinematographic effects, and not less important the distributions that will bring our movies outside of Italy. Including the States. The distributors are three that proposed themselves and we are considering their offers, which one of them can be the most convenient.
Anyway wait for us, the movies and the TV series will arrive in your theaters too!
RVL: When do you see the final product going to air?
DS: As I already said, the complete project will be finished in 2021, but already by the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 it will be possible to see in Italy and many other countries the first movie of Horus Vampire Saga that will be called “THE GENESIS” and the first movie of Valleron Saga that will be called “THE RIVAL’S ORIGINS” and also the first season of the TV series “THE BEAST’S DIARY”.
RVL: What, personally, do you hope to achieve out of the project?
DS: Sincerely, it’s enough for me having helped a town like Meldola and having helped making the reality of real vampires known. This is the reason that pushed me doing this project. Then it’s clear that I will have an economic comeback like everyone else that is working in the cinematographic-television project, none excluded.
MA: With this project we will open [the] minds of many obtuse, and [they] will understand that they must not fear us. We will also have the opportunity to grow our association and I hope many donors will come closer to us.
RVL: Do you anticipate that the television project will spike interest from the public in our culture?
MA: Of course Yes I’m sure!
DS: I think that both the movies and the tv series could interest a lot many real vampires, because it’s not the usual movie about the usual mythological vampires, but stories connected to Real Vampires. ¾ of the stories told in our project are things happened in real life. Many stories tell about my past, they’re real stories about real life. And with the TV series we talk about real and actual social themes. I believe that Real vampires, Italians and foreigners, can somehow also relate with the problems that we will face in the TV series and in the movies. That’s why I believe that it could be of interest, not only to the common public but also to the real vampires themselves.
RVL: If we may change focus a little now, we understand that LIRV is planning a major Halloween event this year, what sort of party will it be?
DS: For the Halloween event I will let Maria talk that she is our vice president and she is following herself this project. In LIRV, seeing that these projects are really important, we had to divide the task between us. Personally I follow all the development of the cinematographic project, while Maria follows the development of the events in program of LIRV. This is our way of working, to give space to everyone.
MA: Lirv will make a great Halloween party with other new friends. in Genoa this year this city will always be full of games and fun and our Long Black Veil ball !!! Then we will send you the photos of the event!
RVL: Is it an “invitation only” event or are tickets to be available to the public? And, do you expect a major turn out for the event?
DS: It will be invite only, anyway Maria can explain better.
MA: Only with invite, we [have] more people…
RVL: Is Halloween a major focus of the year in Italy in general?
MA: In the last few years Halloween is a very well-liked party here in Italy as well. Especially for fun and different parties every year. We always have a lot of fun!
DS: Yes, it is, very much, especially in the Goth and many other various subcultures scenes, it’s taking up space in Italy too.
RVL: So, without giving anything away, what can the people who attend expect from your Halloween event?
MA: Our Long Black veil ball our dance in themed costumes, with always different shows and games that capture participants from the beginning to the end!
DS: Many news and a lot of fun, this for sure.
RVL: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers at this time about either the television project or your Halloween event?
MA: There will be pleasant, scary, and unforgettable surprises !!!
DS: More than what I already shared with you, there’s only to wait to see the TV series and judge by yourselves *winks*
RVL: It has been a great pleasure to catch up with you, we wish you every success with the television project and we would like to keep in touch and help with promotion as the time draws near. We also wish you every success for your Halloween event, we hope it is a spectacular night for all involved.
MA: Thanx very much!
DS: It has been a great pleasure for us to share with RVL and its readers our news, we thank you also for the chance that you gave us to make us known also abroad and for the help that you keep offering us in our projects. We will surely share with you the pictures of our Halloween night so to make you participants even though you will not be able to come personally. And I wish in the future to be able to meet you in person, maybe as guest in one of our events.
It is, dear reader, always a pleasure to catch up with our friends overseas, to be able to support, and inform about, active projects in the global modern culture. There is much that can be done, no matter what country, state, county, municipality or city you may be in to support and enhance our culture and, without doubt, LIRV stands as a beacon of creativity in giving a strength to the presence of modern living Vampires everywhere.
Copyright: RVL and LIRV, 2017
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