A Challenge in The Haunted Asylum

Three arrogant teens get more than they bargained for when they follow three girls into an abandoned insane asylum.

Interview with Federica Alice Carlino and Angelica Jasmine Colombo

1. What is the story behind your film?
A Challenge in the Haunted Asylum is about three guys mocking three girls in a park. The girls, apparently nerdy and innocent, invite their bullies to follow them in an abandoned asylum, the guys accept the invitation and what happens next is a lesson for them to learn.
2. What should people take away, gain, realize after watching your film?
To be nice, to respect the outsiders, to weigh your own words so people around you won't suffer from that. Also that your actions have consequences. You never know who you're interacting with. Outside looks can mislead your perception of reality and what's really happening inside someone's mind.
I guess all about bullying and how sometimes the appearance of people can deceive. If the girls had looked like witches already, they probably would not have been mocked by bullies. I think, especially in today's world, emphasis is placed on the physical aspect rather than what people have to offer.

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3. Do you think that films can change people for the better or for the worse?
I think for the better. The way people perceive a movie is out of our control. We have different experiences and our memories, our brain gets triggered by so many things that is impossible to prevent them. Personally, seeing my life experiences, I avoid watching movies that might affect me negatively, it's the viewer's responsibility. You should do your research and understand if a movie is good for you or not. I've created a little blog, where I help people with this particular issue, called Safe Viewer Discretion and I make reviews, without spoilers, of movies and shows to give people all the elements to evaluate if it's the case or not. (https://linktr.ee/safeviewerdiscretion) You might say that some movies might inspire real crimes, but we have to also acknowledge that there were mental issues that were residing there from the beginning. It's like thinking that whoever listens to Heavy Metal is a serial killer, it's obviously not the case.

I think that films can influence people both ways. But can also be a safe "place" where people can escape from reality and their daily routine. My opinion is that films should be more inclusive to allow the audience to be able to reflect more and more about the characters' arks and maybe relate to them as well.

4. How was the creation of your project at the time of COVID-19?
This project happened before Covid, but we shot a web series, The Rise of The Villains (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK1gxrkckyU&list=PLYi4sy-xzccPDu2uXGbCYxTqrYXGQrqWS) and a short, El Último Adiós-The Last Goodbye (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_OFrHTvAUg&t=3s) during Covid and it was an additional work to the process, we tested everyone on set, we used precautions, we deleted kissing scenes and everything that had to do with it, our makeup artists used different brushes, palettes and accessories for everyone..it was a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it. Nobody contacted the virus on set, so we did something right, there. For our short we had Christmas break in between our schedule and that's where almost everyone got sick and we had to hire doubles.

Agree, I can give my perspective as an actor, I worked on both sets with Federica and it was excellent, she handled everything perfectly from the security measures on set, to the management of group and love scenes. In fact, nobody contracted the virus on her set. I felt very comfortable, despite the situation, and my performance was not affected at all.

5.What creation style did you use in the production of your project? What cameraman elements did you use?
It was a hand-held camera mixed with a tripod, inside the asylum is very uneven and I preferred to stay stable and safe with my equipment. 50mm was our best friend for almost the whole project. We used natural light for 60% of it.

6. How did you select the actors for your project?
F: This is a fun fact about this project. I used to work for Angelica and her mother at the time. They had a dance academy and I was their filmmaker and photographer, they knew a rapper and he needed a music video for his upcoming single. Angelica and the other two actresses, who play our wonderful witches, Leyla and Alice, were dancers from the academy that Angelica and her mother Gabriella Bonomi, selected among their students. I casted the actors who were talents I met at my film academy in Milan, I thought they were the best fit for the project. Davide Panizza, Mattia De Simone and Roberto Iacobbe, are incredibly talented actors and since the short required different reactions from the talents I thought they would be perfect for these characters. Unfortunately the rapper's label didn't like the creepy vibe of the short, even if we previously agreed on the script that the rapper asked me to write, but I'll avoid talking about tha drama we went through, so I converted it into a short film. It was the best decision I could take since everyone worked hard on it.
A: The choice of the witches was based on a purely expressive factor, as the short was supposed to be a music video.
The ability to express emotions through facial expression was really important. Each of the girls had to be able to develop their character to the fullest by revealing their personality. Being all dancers, it was not difficult to find someone who could do it, in fact when you dance the only means to express emotions, aside from your body, is your face.

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7. Why do you think your film should appeal to distributors?
F: It can be a great input for a TV series plot. Anything can happen before or after this short, the characters are appealing and it can target a young audience and horror/esotherical lovers. Shows like American Horror Story, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Charmed, Fate..they are very popular amongst teenagers and families, even my generation (Millennials) so it would be a proof of concept for a TV series pitch. Socially wise it can enlight matters such as bullying, being an outsider, fitting in and coming of age.

A: I think that the supernatural theme can be very interesting for distributors as it is very fashionable lately, in addition to the short concealing a veiled social message against bullying. Curious could also be the choice of beauty standards that we are used to see. It is also a very characteristic location as it is a former asylum in disuse.

8. At which festival has your film been screened?
F: "Rock and Shock" in Massachusetts, USA, "Magic Silver Screen", "Medusa FilmFestival" and "Berlin Shorts Awards" we are still on festival runs, so who knows what's next, but so far it's going pretty well.

A: I'm so happy and proud of these festivals, because this was my first short and also my first experience as an actress on set.

9. How did your acquaintances react when they first saw the film?
F: They loved it, it was inspired by American Horror Story, season 1,2 and 3 and they definitely got the homage. People who love spooky and abandoned places were very excited, the asylus is real and it has been abandoned for a while now. Its history is sad and horrifying and we were very respectful for this reason.

A: My friends were surprised about my performance, because they always watched me dancing, my family was very excited and proud to see me acting for the first time. I'm very attached to this project because it was the first and unfortunately last project, as an actress, that my paternal grandma was able to watch before she passed away.

10. If you could change something in your film, what would it be?
F: Well, this short is almost 10 years old, I was 23, I hope I got to become a better filmmaker in the meantime. I'd obviously have a bigger crew, a bigger equipment and if I knew beforehand that it would have become a short and not a music video, I would have added dialogues and more scenes.

A: Considering that at the time I was 16 years old and it was my first experience as an actress, nowadays watching the short I often think about some scenes that, with my current experience, I would do differently. I remember that to prepare for the short film I was inspired by many different characters taken from various TV series, today maybe I would try to add my own flavour to my character, giving it my own take.

11. Which movies are your favorites and why?
F: Moulin Rouge, because it mixed my two passions, movies and music, Baz Luhrmann's storytelling skills are definitely one of my favorites. Tragedy is what motivates Christian to move on and embrace life after Satine, it's just too good. E.T., The Goonies, Stand by Me, The NeverEnding Story.. all the 80's coming of age/adventurous films that grew in me, in my soul and developed my artistic view of the world. The Chronicles of Narnia, if you need to feel like a kid again, if you need to find that sparkle in you, it's definitely the perfect movie for it. If you have a kid at home, it can be your own kid, a nephew, your little cousin or sister, watch it with them and look at their excitement. It will be contagious. The Harry Potter saga, The Lord of The Rings saga.. all that fantasy work from the 90's and early 2000s. All these movies left an incredible legacy, even after all these years and that's what I'm aiming for.

A: I particularly love fantasy, horror and historical movies, although they may seem like incompatible genres with each other. If I have to mention specific titles, they would be " The Crow", "Harry Potter ", "Never Ending Story ", " The Exorcist", "Titanic" and " Pride and Prejudice"
but it's just a few. I like these movies because I always had a passion for supernatural and historical events, with a little bit of horror and creepy stories.

12. What topics do you like to address in your stories?
F: Mainly life lessons, not as a teacher, but as someone who lived them and is trying to help others who might go through the same things. I feel like a parent who wants to hold their child's hand and help them go through life. So bullysm, being the outsider, friendships, love, family, grief, traumas, I'm here through it all. We are going to experience this together. I'd love to direct some projects about healing, I do have different scripts related to SA and heavy subjects that are pretty personal and dear to me. I wanna give hope and talk about rebirth after a huge trauma.

A: I would say that the casting I'm most attracted to are those for horror, fantasy and historical projects. But I have to say that I do not disdain even social-themed projects, as I find that they have a very noble purpose.

13. What is your motivation in making films?
F: Being relatable, I want people to say "I totally get it, I lived these emotions" I want them to feel at home and bring their own life experiences into my projects. Another element might be of taste, if you love a specific genre you might like my works. I won't stay in one genre, I love sci-fi, historical movies, biopics, thrillers, and comedy, I can't and won't stay in one lane. The most exciting thing is seeing the audience's involvement in the plot, how much they start to care about your characters. I experienced it, especially with The Monster's Club and The Rise of The Villains. I screened The Monster's Club different times and I could look at the audience's reactions and it gave me serotonin, The Rise of The Villains was also screened different times but it's also very sociable and its presence online is very remarkable as many followers are very active and keep expressing their love for our characters and work. Knowing that what you do is well received is what makes me believe in my stories.

A: I think acting gives me the chance to test myself because the characters I play are not always similar to me, so I have the opportunity to experiment and bring out the emotions and attitudes that are usually far from me. In addition sometimes I find myself living in situations that in normal life I would not live, especially when I play in fantasy projects.

14. Which contemporary filmmakers motivate you the most?
F: Steven Spielberg, Baz Luhrman, Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, James Cameron and the Duffer brothers as they shaped my childhood and my storytelling style, I have my own, of course, but I tend to be very nostalgic, so you'll definitely see their essence in my works. I feel like they are my cool uncles who taught me how to express my emotions through my art. I am enamored of the way they were capable of creating new worlds and realities. Baz Luhrman totally made me fall in love with him again with Elvis, it was a biopic but I could definitely feel Baz Luhrman's hands on it and it was magical.

A: First of all I would say Tim Burton because I have loved his films since I was a little girl and then I find the work of Ryan Murphy interesting and versatile.

15. What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
F: I have a proof of concept short for a mini series, it's called The Monster's Club (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT5qSQrYV0g&t=6s) it's set in 1999, three teenage friends decide to organize a prank to be on TV, but things turn deadly. 20 years later the past comes back to haunt who's left. I also have different features ready to be shot in LA. I'd love to film a documentary in New York, about someone very dear to me, these projects are in talks for now, so since I'm very superstitious (I'm Italian, duh) I won't say more until it's all set and ready to go. I hope I keep working with Netflix as a show reviewer and Q&A panelist but I hope it develops in something more executive. Working on it!
Thank you for having us!

A: In the future I would love to be acting in a TV series produced by a large distribution such as Netflix and it would be really wonderful to have the chance to be part of a cast of an historical movie. Also a dream of mine is to be able to act with some of my favorite actors. Fingers crossed!


Federica Alice Carlino
 is a director, writer and casting director from Milan, Italy. She showed her love and passion for movies very early in life. Her family moved around Europe for work, so she had the opportunity to meet new cultures. She grew up in the Netherlands until she was 6, then moved back to Italy for most of her education, she also studied in London at Richmond Upon Thames College. She studied filmmaking, acting, photography, editing, VFX and makeup in Milan and makeup prosthetics in Rome with Dario Argento's makeup artist, Sergio Stivaletti. She moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and she is a New York Film academy BFA graduate. She worked with Netflix US and Mediaset Italy. She has experience in directing, casting, writing and acting. As of 2022 she is among the most awarded filmmakers in Italy and she is featured in the IMDb book dedicated to Italian Filmmakers.

Learn more about Frederica

Angelica Jasmine Colombojpeg

Angelica Jasmine Colombo
began studying dance at the age of 3 by attending a preparatory course in classical dance and studying modern dance from the age of 5. During her adolescence she began studying other disciplines such as contemporary dancer, hip hop, video dance and heels, she will also attend a professional dance training academy; studies that allowed her to win a television talent at the age of 17, in addition to the numerous prizes won in multiple competitions. In the world of dance, she is known as the manager of the national Mariano competition, a dance organization that is taken every year in Mariano Comense (CO). She worked with j prominent names in the Italian dance industry, such as Bruno Vescovo, Oriella Dorella, Franco Miseria, Eleonora Frascati, Mommo Sacchetta and many others.

During the last few years, she approaches the world of cinema and television acting by attending a training academy professional Accademia Artisti in Milan, becoming an actress to all intents and purposes, which allows her to take part in several productions. She acted in award winning projects such as The Rise of The Villains and El Último Adiós both directed by Federica Alice Carlino. Her two artistic paths are in fact then intertwined in the creation of shows and video clips, usually referring to important subjects such as women and their rights.

Find out more about Angelica
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9206742/?ref_=tt_cl_t_12
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelicacolombo_official/
LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/angelicajasminecolombo

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