Cupids (United Kingdom | 2017, 13 min)

Directed by: Angelo Calarco

Two cupids need to team up in one of the greatest challenges of modern times: getting two strangers to talk to each other!


An Interview with Angelo Calarco, Director of "Cupids" by Caleb Dawdy

CD: Firstly, the intro credits reminded me of classic title sequences such as Saul Bass’ “Anatomy of a Murder”...both in its creativity and its style it displays a well thought out voice, was there a certain influence to that sequence you can speak to?

AC: The idea for the title sequence came from the brilliant Oliver Smith, our title designer. Our goal was for an engaging, eye catching title sequence that also expressed the monotony and administrative side of being a cupid. We also wanted to subtly nudge the audience into what to expect regarding tone, style, characters and subject matter. We were enormously happy with Oliver’s artistry and humour and pleased to have a title sequence with such a lot of replay value.

CD: The concept of this film was greatly executed and inventive, how did this come to you?

AC: The biggest challenge of a short film set in a single location, and even around a single table, was to make the story visually interesting. The fantasy element of the script provided inspiration through the premise that there are two worlds: the cupids’ world and the humans’ world. We decided to present these worlds differently and our first temptation was to portray the cupids’ world as a beautiful fairy tale, with “angelic” characters representing the stereotypical idea of the gods of love. But our film demonstrates that love is hard work, so that choice wouldn’t communicate the frustration that these cupids experience every day. That’s why we shot the cupids’ world in a more “documentary” style and instead showed the human’s world as the beautiful “fairy tale” because the story is told from the cupid’s point of view. And we, the humans, are the cupids’ fairy tale creatures.

CD: What are some of the largest influences in cinema and storytelling that you pulled from for this story?

AC: I am a huge fan of Woody Allen’s directorial style and "Cupids" has been involuntarily influenced by my love for his way to tell stories and use the camera. I favored master shots over multiple coverage, particularly in the cupids’ world, in order to achieve that “dirty” reality show look. But I also love geometric forms, symmetry in composition and framing - Wes Anderson is definitely one of my main influences on that style.

CD: What are some of your influences in general?

AC: Other than Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, my influences range from the classics like Mel Brooks and Mario Monicelli, to the most recent talents such as Taika Waititi, Edgar Wright and Jared Hess. In general, I love the work of directors with a unique voice, and some of my favorite artists are also Emir Kusturica, Chris Nolan, Terry Gilliam, Guy Ritchie, and the Coen Brothers.

CD: Most filmmakers go through a process of “killing their darlings,” is there anything in this film you care to speak to that you still enjoy, but the audience unfortunately doesn’t get to see?

AC: In a previous cut of the film we decided to take out one of the scenes I loved most: The Pact between Arabella and Saraphel. However, we then realized that without this scene the cupids do not ever get to say their names, so we avoided “killing our darlings” this time.

CD: In your process of writing, what are some essential aspects that you feel are needed to be included in a successful comedy?

AC: To put it a very simple way, a laugh is a reaction of our mind to something unexpected. In this point in my life I really love stories that play with the boundaries of reality in order to achieve that reaction. Most of my recent stories have a fantasy element that drives the basic idea, but that I often treat in a non-fantasy way. I also love to play games with my audience (probably due to my background as a stand-up comedian), and the destruction of stereotypes is definitely one of them.

CD: Where does the balance lie in humor being executed between skilled writing and skilled acting?

AC: I believe skilled acting can often overcome bad or average writing, or at least it can improve it. While skilled writing needs skilled acting to express its full potential.

CD: Looking forward, are there any projects from you and your team we can keep our eyes open for?

AC: Nick Grills (the screenwriter) and I (Angelo Calarco, the director) are already working on developing a TV series based on the world of "Cupids." Separately I am also in the process of writing my next short film that I’d like to get into production by the end of the year 2017. Nick is writing a feature film, Mum, which will be complete in the next few months.