Autorizzazione Tribunale di Roma n. 378 del 30/09/2005
Work in progress - Anno XV - n.63 - Gennaio - marzo 2020
ARTinFORMA - Interferenze 

The seventh art. "The Game Changer"
A close eye on the creative wold of the young!
di Francesca Secchi


During the days leading up to one of the biggest video games conventions, gaming companies are busy getting their latest products ready for international launches. Liam is a video game taster for possibly the biggest company in the business, and blessed with an incredible eye for detail, he's the best at what he does. But that's all he is really comfortable doing. Human interaction isn't really his thing. Janet works in marketing for what she considers to be the worst video game company ever. Constantly packed with energy, she's seen as a moaner, a chatter box, and has no concept of "personal space". As the grand opening of the convention nears, pressure to get things done to the very best builds up, allowing for stress, misunderstandings and frustrations to get in the way of what could otherwise be a very special encounter.



Francesca Secchi.: How did the idea for the film and its characters come to you?
T.Kadman: When I was studying in States, I often came across a really cheesy commercial on TV. It depicted a video game tester boosting that he was making a living out of playing videogames, andf ro some reason that very wierd commercial stuck with me. I'm a quiet person, relatively calm and introvert, and one night while waling back home the idea of an introvert game tester forced to interact with other humans while staying in a dodgy hotel, burtsed in my head. Goes without saying, I had to create a character tha would antgonise Liam, so along came Janet whom I made loud and full of energy. I wanted the distinction to be visual as well. Liam wear greys and browns whereas Janet is full of bright colours.

F.S: Where’s the film set?
T.K.: The story takes place in the London suburbs. I wanted somewhere that could be a no mans land, and the London suburbs lend themselves quite nicely as they don’t have a distinctive architectural landscape. Because of this approach, the film has been included at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2020, Padiglione Italia. The theme of the Biennale is the resilience the city suburbs.

F.S.: How long did it take to shoot the film and what were the main difficulties?
T.K.: We shot the film in 13 days, so obviously we had some really hectic days, with lots of travelling between locations. We had days where we had to film 20 pages of script, when usually for an independent film you aim to shoot 3 pages a day over the course of a 4 week shooting schedule. From the start, the one rule I set was that we were going to shoot, no matter the weather conditions. With some luck and with some editing tricks, a lot of the problems were solved. Given the tight budget, and fast paced schedule, we took on board some very enthusiastic, fresh-out-of-film school. They were incredible, always upbeat even when things got really difficult.


F.S.: When and how did your collaboration with Francesco Salvi begin?
T.K.: We were introduced by a mutual friend, actor Stefano Fregni, some 8 year ago. We hit the ground running. A couple of years ago a gave him the first draft of The Game Changer, we further developed his character and he really liked the project. So much, he the deiced to join me in producing the film.

F.S.: What was it like working Francesco Salvi?
T.K.: As you know, Francesco is an exceptional comedian, and one of a kind, yet his dramatic range is staggering. Think of some of the films he starred in such as “Bakita”, “Bright flight" and “10th & Wolf”, in which he starred opposite Val Kilmer, Giovanni Ribbisi and James Mardsen. His input in the film was incredible. His character has long English monologues, which he delivered with absolute perfection. Goes without saying, Salvi brings a huge amount of experience to the table, given the high profile collaborations (Virna Lisi, Gigi Proietti, Fracesco Favino, Antonio Banderas and many more), and we all benefited from his experience.

F.S.: What’s the message of the film?
T.K.: The message is one close to my heart, which is not to rush to judging someone without knowing the person first  without knowing all the facts, as you can’t possibly know someone’s life struggles just from the cover. You need to allow yourself time for reflection before jumping to conclusions. Analyst Gustav Jung once said  “To think, it’s difficult, this is why most people prefer to judge”

F.S.: Where’s the film now?
T.K.: The film is now doing the international festival run, and so far, we received some nice recognitions not only for me but for the film and the rest of the team. We won 26 awards so far, which also include awards for Best Film, Best Performances, Editing and Music. An award even came from Italy, when we won the Jury Award for Best Film at eh Terni Film Festival. Surprisigly, the film is doing really well in Asia. Maybe Francesco and I will become Bollywood stars!



F.S.: How did you create your character?
F.Salvi: I approached this character very seriously, always bearing in mind that this guy, played by Thomas, could be my own son. Thomas’ performance nailed all the insecurities and difficulties of Liam, and this generated some sort of tenderness in my characters thoughts.  

F.S.: How was it working with Thomas and how did you find it working in London?
F.Salvi: I came to know Thomas thanks to Stefano Fregni. Thomas and I have a great collaboration because he is a hard worked, and I was really amazed to the depth of his knowledge on film making, starting from writing all the way to editing, colour grading and sound design. On this project he took care of almost every single aspect and every department. I’m so glad the film is being well received at festivals. Thomas and I will definitely be working on other projects.
I loved working in London. I shot a big commercial there, some time before we did the film, and I certainly hope to go back soon. Also, I like London as a city, it’s always full of surprises.


Marco Messina, was born in Bologna, and is a self taught musician. His beginnings were in theatre, singing acapellas and acting in small musical roles. He wrote music for theatre, documentaries and an animated TV series for Rai 3. He now lives and works in London.

F.S.: How did your collaboration with Thomas begin?
M.M.: Actually, Thomas crashed his car into mine, in a supermarket car park 6 years ago. As we are both calm and peaceful people, so we started talking and found out we have a lot in common. Our first collaboration was on his shortfilm The Wise Men, which led to a Best music score nomination.

F.S.: Where did you draw inspiration for the music from?
M.M.: It came from the Director, Thomas, he explained what type of atmospheres he wanted, and he gave me some suggestions. Before shooting of the film even began, Thomas had a clear idea of the direction he wanted for the music, and I put together a first draft for the title song. Then I began thinking about the film from a wider point of view and I started experimenting wit the ukulele, which I appositely learned to play for this project. Being a guitarist some melodies came quite naturally.

F.S.: How does the music progress in the film?
M.M.: The more simple pieces of music are at the beginning of the film, and as the film grows so does the music. I slowly introduce more elements such as percussions, maracas, ukulele and others. The entire music score is acoustic, I always approach the music I write from the song-writers perspective which comes more naturally to me. Thomas then wanted some piano pieces, for a couple of scenes. I can’t play the piano si I asked Riccardo Nanni, who's not only a great pianist he’s also an accomplished composer. Riccardo took care of all the music mixing as well.
At the film Premiere, I watched the film as a spectator for the first time, and I really became emotional living this beautiful story. And it was such an amazing feeling seeing the film after so much hard work.


Born to English father and Italian mother, he was mainly raised in Italy. He studied at Bologna University majoring in Cinema, Arts and Drama. Whilst at University he had access to thousands of films, including silent films such of those of Lumiere, Epstein, Keaton and many more. After landing lead roles in films made for Italian television, being bilingual (English and Italian) he wanted to also acquire an American accent. He flew over to LA, to spend a couple of months studying with the late, and legendary, Robert Easton. Some of Easton's students included Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert Duvall, Lawrence Olivier and Forest Whittaker to name a few. So effective were Easton's methods, that Thomas only needed a few session to be able to confidently speak with an American accent.
Thomas now lives with London.

Thomas Kadman info :


Francesca Secchi is a Paintings Conservator specialising in the conservation of modern and contemporary paintings (postgraduate diploma ISCR-Rome, Masters' OPD-Florence).
She currently works in London as a freelance Conservator for private galleries and collections and at the Tate Gallery.

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