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Alvaro R. Valente (Night Comes On)

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2018 NEXT Section Sundance Trading Card Series: #23. Alvaro R. Valente (Night Comes On)

2018 NEXT Section Sundance Trading Card Series: #23. Alvaro R. Valente (Night Comes On)

Eric Lavallee: Name me three of your favorite “2017 discoveries”.
Alvaro R. Valente: I’ve always been a fan of animated movies and although I’m generally caught up with releases, I finally saw WALL-E for the first time this year and immediately added it to the list of my favorites… BUT then I ended 2017 by watching COCO, which was such a heartwarming and imaginative film. My third pick would be in music. I continuously enjoy exploring music from around the world, 2017 discover was French singer Vianney.

Lavallee: This is your second time working with Jordana (you previously produced her brilliant short Skin). Obviously, with her background, she understands acting grammar. From your POV, how does Jordana’s acting experience advantage her, more specifically when working with a younger actor set?
Valente: Jordana is such a strong actress, but when she directs, she is a director with a capital D. And her acting experience absolutely brings a lot to her strength as a director, especially when working with younger actors, such as in SKIN and NIGHT COMES ON. When we started talking about the cast, Jordana was determined to find a child for the role of Abby who had never acted professionally and whose personality had similarities to Abby. Although taking on a huge discovery casting outreach always has a lot of challenges, we were up for the task, since we knew something special would come from it. After around a thousand auditions, here we are. As with Skin, Jordana had no problem bringing the best performance out of a young, first-time actor. It is her deep understanding of the art of acting that allows her to bring these kids into representing very complex roles by making the experience of performing a playful one. It becomes a fun experience rather than work, which is particularly important with young actors, allowing for performances that do not feel “acted”, but rather real. She understands the pressures of being in the spotlight and knows how to relieve young actors of those pressures in order to let them shine.

Alvaro R. Valente (Night Comes On)

Lavallee: In Skin, and now in Night Comes On, the child’s world and backdrop are richly detailed, organic and authentic. Could you discuss the location scouting process in terms of what characteristics did you seek out and then discuss some of the final choices and what you gravitated towards.
Valente: The world in which the story takes place is always Jordana’s priority on many levels, as it was for Skin. Jordana gave a lot of attention while writing to where the story should be set, and the city of Philadelphia spoke to her immediately. Although we were faced with the impossibility of shooting in Philly and had to shoot in NYC because of the tax credit, Jordana did not let go of her vision and we, as producers, supported her all the way. After weeks of scouting, we shot New York for Philadelphia and spent a week in Philly to complete the picture. The various houses in the story were probably the hardest locations to lock. Jordana wanted the houses to not only feel authentic to the characters, but also have a significant amount of detailed similarities and differences between them, so that, when experienced as a whole, they would help define a unique yet realistic world that was specific to the characters in our story. Her attention to every detail of the story’s setting is a vital aspect of Jordana’s directing. Only if the world is authentic can stories such as those of Skin and Night Comes On really come to life in a way that not only feels organic, but also ends up touching the audience the way they were intended to.

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Alvaro R. Valente (Night Comes On)

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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