Martina Monti is a multi-award-winning Italian actress. After completing a Bachelor Degree in Film at Università degli Studi di Bologna and obtaining a screenwriting certificate at Iulm University in Milan, Italy, she moved to Los Angeles. She graduated from UCLA Extension (Acting Certificate), she trained at Lee Strasberg Institute, Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre and she takes acting classes with actor Rob Brownstein. She acted in the feature film "Blue Moon Romance", many short films like "I'm Drowning", "Seen", "Stolen Wishes" and others, two TV Series pilots and some commercials. She played the classical guitar for eight years obtaining a diploma from the Conservatory of Music G. Puccini (Gallarate, Italy). She won three awards as Best Actress at Independent Shorts Awards film festival, Touchstone Independent Film Festival and Gothamite Monthly Film Awards for her performance in "Seen", which she wrote and produced as well. It is our pleasure to speak with Martina about "Seen".
What was the inspiration behind the writing of "Seen"?
Seen is a film about sexual assault and its psychological consequences. It’s based on a personal true story. I wanted to bring this episode to light not only to share my own experience, but also to give a voice to all the victims who haven’t had the opportunity to tell their own stories. The fear of being pursued by the aggressor, not being believed, not receiving help or support, being blamed for what happened, or feeling responsible or guilty are some of the reasons why many of these crimes remain in the shadows.
How did you get involved with the film as a producer?
I took part of the production process, handling various aspects such as development, team assembly, casting, overseeing post-production and securing financing. I’ve been helped by other producers (Varun Vaibhav, Andrea Di Carlo and Olivia Martini), who focused on details like locations and budgeting.
What are some of the challenges of being an indie producer in the film industry?
I believe the budget is one of the biggest challenges. Having a small budget available makes the process harder. Some locations aren’t easy to afford, so it’s important to be able to use the resources available, without sacrificing the quality of the final product. With a smaller budget, the process can’t be quick. It’s crucial to find a balance between time, quality, and budget.
What is your plan for further distribution of the short film?
The plan is to continue sending the film to festivals to gain more visibility. So far, Seen has already won 9 awards and received 6 nominations, which I’m very pleased with. After its festival run, the film will be released and accessible to a wider audience.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on expanding the short film into a feature-length script. I just started writing, after many people encouraged me to expand the story and create a longer, more complete version of it. Olivia Martini is going to direct the feature as well, and I’m very excited to collaborate with her again. You are also an actress in the project. What was it like to write, produce and act in the project at the same time? It’s been an amazing experience. Watching the words I wrote come to life on screen and putting in the effort to produce the film has been a tremendous achievement. During filming, I dedicated myself exclusively to my acting role, to be able to connect with my character, deliver a truthful performance and express emotions genuinely. Director Olivia Martini played a crucial role in creating a safe and supporting environment, especially during intense and dramatic scenes.
What is your most favorite genre to work on and why are you drawn to the language of cinema?
If I had to choose a favorite genre, it would be drama. I love watching comedy, but when it comes to acting or creating, I love exploring very intense and emotional scenes. I love cinema for its ability to convey stories through visuals and sounds, being able to evoke powerful emotions through visual storytelling.