Over a period of four years we spent about a year shooting in Tuscany and this gave us the oportunity to scout our locations in detail, record tests and wait for the right light, day, and even the right season before exposing a shot. Since Florence plays such an important role in the life of Annigoni we wanted to make the city a changing character. The Director of Photography - Duilio Ringressi was inspired to try and capture "the spirit" of Annigoni's "lost" Florence. His mission was to photograph his home town of Florence as never before. This meant at times, the near impossible task of photographing the bustling tourist mecca without people. These beautiful surreal images came to represent the deserted Florence of Annigoni's dreams.
The film's visual poetry is born from these images and is due to the talent, patience and diligence of Duilio Ringressi. My dearest friend has since past away. Duilio's friendship, humour and intellegnce will forever be missed by all those who knew and loved him.
From his first words in a deep resonating voice scarred by cigarrettes and stained by chiante he says, "I signed my work using the cipher C followed by three crosses representing the via cruicis, the hard road to the cross which the artist has to travel."
Annigoni's words came alive. Cortesi the great actor, whose voice is famous and instantly recognized thoughout Italy, gave meaning and intimacy to the old artist speaking from beyound the grave. Indeed some who knew him have sworn the voice was none other than Annigoni himself.
Mr. Cortesi has a long and distingushed career as an actor. From 1968 to 1986 he voice dubbed six of Federico Fellini's films. During this time, the actor acquired the trust and lasting friendship of the Maestro Fellini. Renato Cortese continues to perform in theatre, radio and television.
Richard Bond was one of the driving forces behind getting this film off the ground and seeing it fly. As a Producer his commitment to this project continues to be unfailing. As an editor he has seamlessly joined the many complex and disparate ideas and images into a concise and lyrical whole. The film owes much to his creativity, spirit and generosity.
Richard Bond owns and operates Artatak Films, a Toronto based production company specializing in films on fine arts.
Amy C. Barnes was a genuine gift to the production. Through her herculian efforts she secured the rights to photograph hundreds of paintings. Everything from the famous "war sketches" in the Uffizi Gallery to The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This was a long and grueling task as many of the paintings were in private hands, some had been lost, and some had never been photographed before. She also was able to gain access to sacred and previously unattainable locations thus greatly enriching the production. It was Amy's quiet determined resolve that gave us our most valuble asset, the works of Annigoni.
Amy Barnes is a producer and co-owner of Rainbow Films. Rainbow Films is a complete film and video production facility located in the heart of Florence, it was founded in 1979.
Stephen Smith is the director and writer of Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist. He is an award-winning filmmaker who has made films in Europe, Asia and North America. As a director his films are placed in such collections as the Centre du George Pompidu - Paris and The Canadian High Comission, Canada House - London. Smith is also the producer of the film Road to Castagno: A Renaissance Dream. He holds a B.A.A. in Motion Picture Production from Ryerson Polytechnical University in Toronto.
Stephen Smith has recently completed a dramatic screenplay titled The Lover Burns. It is the story of the life and times of the world's most beloved poet, Robert Burns.