Interviewing Film Director MARIO ZANOT

mario.zanot07/06/2013. Tiziano Terzani’s A Fortune Teller told me’s novel could soon become a crowfunded film thanks to millions of his fans and most of all, thanks to the work of the Film Director and friend Mario Zanot and Angela Staude, Tiziano’s wife. His legacy show that new perspectives make every dream achievable. And every passionate destiny, fulfilled.


NOTES: I’ve had the chance to have this interview with Mario Zanot during a tour to promote the project of the film, in the north of Italy (Modena).


F.M. Tiziano Terzani’s loss it’s still very felt. His memorable legacy of Love for Life and Asia, and the repudiation of violence, is necessary more than ever with nowadays Chronicles. You met him  in 2004, at his very last interview. Could you explain to our readers how a documentary filmmaker internationally renowned comes to conceive the transition from “Anam” (interview) to making a film based on Terzani’s novel “A fortune teller told me”? Besides, a production fully funded by crowfunding?                  

M.Z. It was Tiziano’s own idea. We were going to find him, in 2004, to  talk about the film project taken after  “A fortune teller told me”. And he wanted to come with us, being our mentor, but the illness prevented him. Anam was born as the only viable alternative to Orsigna, where they had taken refuge. But the dream remains in place, and we decided to try it. The road is long and full of obstacles, we found funding in Germany, in Switzerland, in Viet Nam. In Italy everything is harder, so we thought the crowdfunding could be a good alternative. It’s having a great success, and it’s recalling to the film more and more people interested in its realization.

F.M. Tell us about the subject of the film. How and why should we become producers of “A  fortune teller told me“?              

M.Z. The film retraces, in part, the journey he made in 1993, in order to escape the “curse” of an  Hong Kong fortune teller, who told him not to fly in 1993, otherwise he would have died. This escape by foot, bicycle, boat, train, becomes an opportunity to look at the world with new eyes. Rediscovering that the sun rises and sets, that time is not only punctuated by watches at airports, that there is still a hidden spirituality in Asia, that tries at all costs to aping the West. It is a story of random encounters, admitting his mistakes reflections on the craft of the journalist, love of life, acceptance of death, and of the rediscovery of nature. I think for all those who love Tiziano, retracing the journey of 40 thousand kilometers (many has made in a year!) that changed his life, and even our own, would be a dream come to Life. With a small deposit you become part of this project. You will have your name in the credits of the film, or receive Anam (the Untitled, Act II). Any material that for time reasons had not been able to be edited in the first Anam will be available. The information (available also in english) can be found on the website


F.M.  The Lion Pictures International has decided to support the project at the Cannes Film Festival. In your opinion how comes that Italy’s main Film production houses have remained indifferent to the project? Was the budget too high or  are there other reasons?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

M.Z. The budget, due to the fact that much of the movie will be filmed in the original locations, is of euro 1,500,000 .00, very low for a movie. There are productions of Rai and Mediaset (main television networks in Italy), which nobody will ever see, that cost much more. It’s an inexplicable mystery. Tiziano has sold two million copies of his books only in Italy. “A fortuneteller told me” has been translated into 20 countries including the United States. The interest in his message of peace never disappeared, despite almost ten years have passed since his death. I am afraid this is a precise choice: preventing people’s freedom of mind. How to explain otherwise that Italy’s spending 35 billion to buy warplanes? To wage war to who? The Lion Pictures International is an independent production house very courageous, emerging on the market of  the film industry, with prestigious titles and the mission to make Culture through cinema. We couldn’t hope to find any better partner. The road is long, but with them we hope to travel comfortably.

F.M. Orsigna identifies Terzani’s last years. Have you ever been there? Or to India, so crucial in the travel experiences of Terzani? Will these two scenery souls be part of the film’s set?                                                                                                                                                                  

M.Z. Orsigna is a place where I often return. The last time two weeks ago when we presented  “Call to the arts”, to which the locals responded with great generosity. India is also a place that I have crossed several times, leaving behind pieces of my heart. I guess the film will be shot between Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma. Places where Tiziano had focused his activity as a journalist and war correspondent, and toward which he had left in search of a new human and spiritual dimension.

F.M. The screenplay also saw the collaboration of Angela Staude, very active (as her sons Folco and Saskia), to keep alive the memory of her husband. How was working together?                                                                                                                                              

M.Z. Angela truly is a special person, always able to say the right thing at the right time. I know that it may seem rhetorical, but the script would not exist without her supervision and her advice. It was a long job,  full of frustrations. What can be cut of a perfect book?  But we believe that we managed to keep the deepest sense of the novel, its magic.

F.M. The Italian orientalists know but do not always appreciate the work of Terzani (or other Orientalists as Fosco Maraini). Tuscany has become the protagonist, over the recent years, of several events to commemorate these two great communicators and writers. What message would you like to give to the audiences with this movie? Will the same version will be proposed in other countries?

M.Z. I would like this film to be an invitation to reflection, to slow travel, to the understanding of those who live far from us, in different contexts, different economies and different religiosity, but  pose themselves our same questions. Everyone wants his children to grow up in Peace in a World of Peace. I think Tiziano is an intellectual who now belongs to the world  (in Germany is far more famous than in Italy…). The film will be shoot in English, in unique version, then dub in Italian. We rely a lot on foreign markets.

F.M. You’re touring Italy to promote this project. What strategies have you chosen for the Organization of the events related to the movie’s production?                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

M.Z. What can your guests expect, for example the ones coming to Modena at Fusorari (07/18/2013 9.30 p.m) ?  To tell the truth, when we started this “call to the arts” to collect the funds needed to make the film, we didn’t do anything! All the evenings (already 27 around Italy, the other from now onto  September 20th) were organized spontaneously by anyone who love Tiziano’s books: readers, social centres, non-profit organisations. Emergency will be given a part of the funds raised. It is a movement that comes from the bottom, moving and exciting, that fills us with great responsibility towards those who believe in us and want to see this movie. During the evenings, reading and songs will entertain the audience. For the latter we reconstructed the 1993 voyage that gave rise to the book, with unpublished photos of Tiziano, computer reconstructions and the inclusion of passages from the book itself. In Modena music and reading won’t be missed.  I am convinced that no one will get bored.

F.M. On the project’s website can be read The revolution will come. And it will begin with a poem. What kind of poetry and revolution could the Cinema trigger through this specific Terzani’s book?

M.Z. I guess the website contains a wonderful phrase, which in my opinion is the essence of the whole book:  Hope that one day a group of poets, gathered on an island, will organize a conspiracy, a revolution through poetry, through another way of thinking. To helps us changing the world and ourselves. Everyone should choose his poet, and along with him fight for a better world. We are all tired of bad books and bad television.

Sustain the project here: UNINDOVINOCIDISSE


About Odile Milton

I travel through words whenever possible. Odile Milton is my signature on the web as I wanted an alter ego to indicate only my writings and works, not my personal life. Odile like the dancer in black swan, and Milton from the novel An old-fashioned girl. View all posts by Odile Milton

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