Italy has been the source of so much great art for the world; Filippo Savoia is determined to continue that tradition. Hailing from a small town near Milan (Mantua, Italy) and the grandson of a celebrated European painter, Filippo began shooting his first films at fifteen. While his mother’s career as a set designer provided exposure and inspiration to pursue his creative inclinations, the young Mr. Savoia acted, directed, and art directed, but found a natural fit in production design. He relates, “There is a strong connection between directing and production design due to the atmosphere and aesthetics establishing an artistic voice. As I started digging deeper into the craft of a production designer, it became much more obvious that it requires lots of architectural studies and technical designs. There are a number of creative aspects that I am passionate about in such a role. One of the best things about being a production designer is for sure the freedom of creating new worlds, images and solidifying a certain aesthetic for the project. Giving a “tone” to the movie is part of a creative and thoughtful process that springs from deep research and analysis of a script. Seeing your vision being brought to life [to set] is definitely one of the most satisfying results of my job.”
Whether it’s attending the premier of Bowlhead (on which he served as production designer) at the historic Mann’s Chinese Theater or rubbing elbows on the set of Sallywood (again as PD) with Oscar Nominated talent such as Sally Kirkland, Eric Roberts, and Jennifer Tilly, Mr. Savoia has found himself fully immersed in the Hollywood community that is recognized globally as the epicenter of filmmaking. Attention and praise is appreciated but not a factor which motivates Filippo who feeds upon the stimulation that comes from his collaborators. Desert Rats is a television pilot that Filippo worked on with director Juan Pablo Arias Munoz (Squawk, The History of Monsters) and DP Joel Schaeffer (of the Oscar Nominated Film Star Trek Beyond). A daring tale set in Palm Springs of the 1970s about real estate agents who are willing to visit some dark places to make a huge sale, this production’s highly stylized visual tone combines eclectic influences and exhibits Filippo’s knack for delivering a powerful identity. Immensely proud of his membership in the Production Designers Collective, working alongside other passionate artists is the engine in Filippo’s motivation. Working during the pandemic on films such as the horror thriller Pumpkinhole which starred Cristopher Serrone (from Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas) attests to his status as one of the essential professionals in today’s film industry. Beyond his creativity, it’s Filippo’s naturally tendency to find the benefits of any challenge that continue to progress his abilities and garner the admiration of his peers. He relates, “The Covid break brought me back to a more intimate reconnection between myself and my art. Most of the time, the frenetic and whimsical life in the industry can lead you to being overworked and not focusing on the art itself.I realized that lots of the projects I was working on were not giving me any kind of creative connection, but rather a stressful environment to just make ends meet. That was definitely a necessary and meditative hiatus that made me prioritize what is my craft and choose between projects that are more towards my artistic line.” Mr. Savoia is finds himself partnering again with Juan Pablo Arias Munoz and Joel Schaeffer on the upcoming thriller Little Heads, rumored to be a stop-motion films set in Portland, Oregon.
Writer: Arlen Gann