An Unfolding Scheme
An Unfolding Scheme

An Unfolding Scheme

Currently pursuing a Cinema and Media Engineering Master’s at Turin’s Politecnico, Costanza Acquaviva holds a Bachelor’s in Global Governance.

Getting back on track

The first three years of her undergraduate studies at Rome’s Tor Vergata mostly revolved around Economics and Philosophy. When it was time to pick a topic for her thesis, Costanza Acquaviva started to sneak back into the field of filmmaking. Indeed, she had always had a passion for movies, theater and writing, but hadn’t yet gotten the opportunity to receive formal education for it. She researched and wrote about emerging technologies and future trends in the film industry; AI, XR, the metaverse, and their potential impact on the future of filmmaking, all while keeping the focus on the economic aspect.

“In my last year of high school, during Covid, I had a real existential crisis. For some time, I had convinced myself I’d become a military doctor, even getting a recommendation letter and all… My family was elated, with my father being a doctor and one of my relatives being a Carabiniere. Thankfully it was already past the application deadline! I still got in for Medicine in Grenoble but after careful reconsideration, I frantically applied to everything else! And Global Governance seemed like a really good choice, as it was very interdisciplinary and would allow me to try different things and also be in an international crowd. ”

During her first year, lockdown was still being enforced, and after her younger brother casually mentioned he had seen a film set near their house, she quietly sat near it every day, with Microeconomics in one ear and filmmaking jargon in the other. This experience really fostered her desire to get back to her real interest.

“I knew I needed to be back on a set one day, and not hiding behind a bush hopefully.”

The preparations

Prior, she had gained experience at Rainbow S.p.A, an Italian animation studio which was at the time co-owned by Paramount Global, and a collaborator of Nickelodeon’s in the production of several pilot shows such as Winx Club. She further prepared for her big leap by working as an intern at Indiana Productions, where she reviewed and edited scripts with an emphasis on legal considerations. Additionally, providing assistance to the development team in assessing feasibility and executing the audiovisual project. There, she was able to read through a myriad of scripts and made her first substantial contributions.

Throughout her Bachelor’s she also took on the role of Editor in Chief of her University’s blog, taking every opportunity to maintain her creative muscle’s tone. Upon learning of the Master’s program she is currently enrolled in, Costanza Acquaviva saw the chance, albeit deeming it slim, to finally steer back to her original goals. She had seen examples of people successfully transitioning from liberal arts to a more scientific academic career, however she was doubtful because the Cinema courses she had taken during her Erasmus at Birmingham might’ve not been valid to transfer the credits.

“Thankfully, the Politecnico was looking to make this program more accessible to Humanities
graduates and my professor also helped me take care of any bureaucratic issues.”

Transitioning to Engineering

After making efforts to prove her courses were legitimate equivalents, and passing a few more required exams – such as Computer Science, Data Analytics and Cinema -, Costanza Acquaviva was exceptionally accepted into the course. Her very first cinema exam turned out to be a group project, for which they had to produce a short film, which, despite the fun she had making it, she was initially very critical of (aren’t we our harshest critics?). Once the more fundamental courses were completed, she finally got to the fun stuff : Computer Graphics, Game Design, Sound Engineering, to name a few.

She’s interning as well, at Vertigo Lab, funded by the University, where she gets concrete screenwriting and producing experience.
At this lab, they are subdivided in teams, each assigned to different areas such as costumes, special effects, direction, scripting… At the end of the year they have to have produced four short films. They are moreover perilously unsupervised, with full creative autonomy!

Side Quest :

Host : Were you worried about changing direction completely?
Costanza Aquaviva : Of course I was a little nervous about it, but after having given it some thought, I absolutely had to at least try, or else I would’ve certainly regretted it. In fact, right after I’d made up my mind, I applied for a filmmaking workshop in Prague, which I ended up doing!
H : You’re one of the brave few who went for it!
C.A. : I do also have my professors to thank, since they made the course very flexible and they try to help you as soon as they see that you have a special interest in something. I’d also say they were quite understanding, considering Cinema had little to do with my Economy Course, but they weren’t fazed by it and instead assisted in correcting my trajectory.
H : Good mentors are always welcome! It would’ve been easy for them to dismiss your interest and reduce it to a hobby.
C.A. : Right, and they understand that we’re young and that we don’t necessarily know what we want to do with our lives right off the bat.
H : Most people don’t have linear career paths anyway.
C.A. : Well, it’s linear in my head and that’s all that matters!
*convivial and hysterical laughter ensues*
C.A. : No but seriously, I could’ve dropped out as soon as I had realized what I truly wanted to do, but I genuinely found the use in that degree and thought it was worth completing.
H : That’s good to hear… By the way, how’s the weather in Turin?
C.A. : I’d rather not talk about it.
H : I understand. So, what’s the plan?
C.A. : Well, my dream is to direct. My ultimate objective, if you will, though coveted by many. But first, I believe I’ll have to go through other trials. And what’s both good and bad news is that there are thousands of different ways to achieve that goal.
H : Wonderful! I’ll be at the theater watching your first movie when it comes out. Actually, if you could sign right her–
C.A. : You’re getting way ahead of yourself.
H : Right. I apologize. I just wanted to proudly tell everyone I knew the director…
C.A. : Sure. I’ll allow that.

H : What’s your favorite movie?
C.A. : Don’t do this to me. What a malicious question! You’re evil. I use this app to read movie reviews and keep track of movies I’ve watc–
H : Are you diverting the question?
C.A. : I would never. Well, if I must : Cold War (Pawlikowski), Bastardi Senza Gloria (Tarantino) and recently… Paradise Is Burning (Gustafson).
H : Thank you! By the way, I love reading reviews on these apps, sometimes they’re just so… riveting.
C.A. : Yes, they’ll just leave a comment saying “this sucks”. It’s very genuine and an endless source of joy.

H : As is customary, I’ll have to ask a few words of encouragement for the students at EPFL.
Costanza Acquaviva : …Good luck.
Just kidding! I’d like to tell you that you can always, and I mean always, find a way to reach your
goals and have your dream job. Be flexible and don’t get too attached to what you thought your
path would look like.

by Flaminia Mignini

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