Alumni Blog: Robert Cuollo

Robert Cuollo’s thesis film is screening in the Big Apple Film Festival. Here, he talks about the real-world influences on his film Broken Home.

Blog Photo 3Broken Home is my SVA thesis film about an alcoholic mother and the destruction and violence she inflicts on her family. The film premiered at SVA’s 27th annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival in May. Now it’s been accepted into the Big Apple Film Festival in November and I couldn’t be more proud and excited. This is a true story that I’ve been wanting to tell it for over 8 years. I knew from the first day of SVA what my thesis film was going to be, no matter how many more ideas came to mind over the course of the next 4 years. I am very proud of my cast and crew who, without them this film wouldn’t have been possible.

Blog Photo 2Making a film based on a true story isn’t easy. There is so much material to work with, and it’s up to the filmmaker to tell their story. I had over 8 years of stories, events and incidents that could all be used in the film, but it all couldn’t fit into this small short. I had to make sure the actors were portraying the real life people in the most accurate way possible. We had a lot of fun working with these characters and finding a balance between the real life people and their dramatized characters.

If you put everything aside and just focus on the story, you’ll really understand and feel for these people who went through these dramatic events. This film is centered around the kids, I’ve always wanted to tell it from the kids perspective. These two boys, aged 10 and 15, experienced these events first hand and were at the center of it all. They saw and witnessed things kids their age should never have to witness. Compare it to the real story – there are 3 boys and they were 10, 6 and 3 years old. Even more traumatic then portrayed in my film. The decisions to change and add fiction to the story was always a hard decision. Blog Photo 1I wanted to tell this story 100% true. But while going through this process of writing the film, I understood that it wasn’t fully possible. I think the changes and decisions I made were good ones and helped me tell this story in the best way, while staying true to the real life family’s story.

This film is simple. It’s a dramatic yet beautiful story about 2 boys and their mother. You can see “Broken Home” at its next screening at the Big Apple Film Festival, November 2nd. Click here to buy tickets. Follow me and my film for more updates on my website: 

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