Exclusive Interview with Giulia Gandini – “Menstruation was always a topic I’d need to whisper about and hide from others”

The brilliant short film My Time by Giulia Gandini focuses on a young girl who experiences her first period just before she has to give a presentation in class in front of her classmates. This film has never been so timely and necessary as it tries to remove the stigma around periods and makes us aware of the support we need to give to young girls. We had the pleasure to talking to Giulia about why she felt the need to tell this story and what she kind of impact she hopes this film will have.

Hi Giulia, how are you doing?

I’m great, thank you for having me!

Congratulations on your newest film “My Time”, a wonderful and immensely relevant short film. Why was it important for you to tell the story of Ava and actually the story of every girl?

I guess it was important to me because I’ve never had access to this kind of stories when I was younger. Menstruation was always a topic I’d need to whisper about and hide from others. I actually can’t name any film, TV show or ad from my childhood in which menstrual blood is visible on screen! So I think it’s important to showcase it and normalise it.

Just as your previous films, this movie focuses on a young person growing up and the difficulties that come along with that. What is it that attracts you to those kinds of stories?

I love coming-of-age stories because the most emotional memories I have of myself date back to my childhood and teenage years. Discovering who you are is hard, especially when you’re young and still figuring out how the world around you works! There’s a lot of drama in that, and I love drama.

In “My Time”, Ava is being beautifully portrayed by the wonderful Clara Read. She’s definitely the star of this film and the casting has to be and is spot on. How did you come across her?

I saw Clara for the first time acting in What Happened to Monday? on Netflix, starring as Willem Dafoe’s daughter. She was incredible! I immediately thought she would have been great for the role of Ava. 

What do you hope that people and especially young girls will take away with them after watching this movie?

I hope they’ll realise how rare it is to see menstrual blood on screen and that they’ll start questioning why that’s the case. Hopefully they’ll be inspired to speak more openly about the topic, especially in positive terms. It’s a natural body process, nothing to be ashamed of or to hide!  

The film already screened at different film festivals such as the Cleveland International Film Festival and the Leeds Young Film Festival. Are there any other film festivals you’re taking this movie to?

Yes! We recently screened at Newport Beach Film Festival, next week we’re screening at Fastnet Film Festival in Ireland and in a few months in Copenhagen as well! 

You are the writer and director of this film but you also worked as an assistant director and casting director. Where did your passion for film come from?

Unlike most people in the industry my passion for film wasn’t inspired by any family member already working in film and TV. It came from a personal drive I’ve always had for storytelling I guess. I’ve been writing fiction short stories since I was nine years old. Up until I was eighteen my dream was to become a novelist! And I’ve always been a huge, huge fan of films. I guess it was about time that I started telling stories through visuals rather than only words!

Do you have the dream of being in front of the camera as well?

No, I’ve never been interested in acting (even though I’m incredibly fascinated by the craft itself). I love working with actors though (obviously)!

What advice would you give to filmmakers who want to gain access to the film industry and want to get their movies out there?

I’d say find people who inspire you and you can trust, and start shooting as many projects as you can with them! Find the time to nurture your craft, and the right people to support you. 

Just one last question: Do you already have other films that you’re working on?

Yes! I’m in pre-production on a short documentary supported by BFI Future Film and the UN. I’m also in development on a new short film called RUNNER about girls and sports shooting in April 2020.

My Time – Teaser Trailer from Giulia Gandini on Vimeo.

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