A TRIBUTE TO ROME, WITH THE VESPA
THE CAPITAL SHOWS ITSELF OFF TO STUNNING EFFECT IN THE VIDEO OF THE YOUNG DIGITAL DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER AND VIDEOMAKER. HIS SHORT FILM HAS BEEN SEEN AND ADMIRED AROUND THE WORLD. IN THIS INTERVIEW WITH WIDE, ASTROLOGO TELLS US ABOUT HIMSELF. THE VESPA, HE SAYS, IS “ETERNAL, LIKE ROME”
Love can take you a long way, even in your profession. And the love Oliver Astrologo has for his hometown is evident in his video – a wonderful tribute to Rome – which has been seen all over the world: the recognition and fame he has achieved have happily “overwhelmed” him. The video reveals the beauties of the capital – celebrated and less well-known places, architecture, streets, squares, faces – against a background of sounds and voices. So watching the video is a “full immersion” that thrills and confirms the unique personality of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, consigning it once again “to eternity”. One of the co-stars of the video is the Vespa, ridden by a young couple on an exploration of a fascinating “secret” Rome, away from the stereotypes of the postcards. Here is the video, followed by an interview with the author.
ROMA BY OLIVER ASTROLOGO
WHO IS OLIVER ASTROLOGO?
“I’m 35, I was born in Rome… I’m a Roman through and through. Digital director and partner at the Hangloose Studio, photographer and videomaker. I’m not the only creative member of the family, I often work with my brother Nils (www.vimeo.com/iamnils), a professional videomaker and vagabond surfer. Nils is the person who helped me make the RO M A video.”
THE VIDEO IS A DECLARATION OF LOVE FOR ROME. IT HAS ACHIEVED HUGE POPULARITY ON THE WEB, BEEN RELAUNCHED BY THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND EVEN BEEN MENTIONED ON TWITTER BY THE ITALIAN EMBASSY IN THE USA. DID YOU EXPECT SO MUCH SUCCESS?
“No, I really didn’t, it’s gone beyond all my expectations. The video is part of a larger project on destinations in the world: I’d already produced a video, on Vietnam (on my Vimeo channel), which has had more than 350,000 views and received a series of tributes from the Vietnamese press and TV. Rome was posted at the beginning of September and collected 600,000 views in less than week, breaking every record.”
WHEN DID YOU START PLANNING THIS VIDEO TRIBUTE TO ROME AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO MAKE, FROM THE CONCEPT TO POST PRODUCTION?
“Some sections were shot more than a year ago, but the actual work from the idea to production took about six months, in my free time. I often got up at dawn to shoot with the best light and capture the city as it started coming to life. Editing, sound design and post production took about two weeks.”
THE VIDEO SHOWS A COUPLE ON A VESPA, RIDING THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE CAPITAL. WHY DID YOU USE THIS DEVICE, WHICH IMMEDIATELY BRINGS TO MIND TWO MOVIES, “ROMAN HOLIDAY” AND “DEAR DIARY”?
“The couple on the bike are two friends, Maurizio and Satia. Maurizio is a native of Rome and a great fan of the Vespa, of which he has several, including two very old models. He goes to work on this Vespa every day. The scenes were filmed in the morning when the streets were still empty, but during the day, you often see Rome residents using the Vespa to move round the city: that’s why I wanted to use it in my video.”
HOW DO YOU TRAVEL IN ROME? HAVE YOU EVER HAD A VESPA?
“I had a scooter, now I use a car; but I have to confess I’ve always wanted to buy a vintage Vespa for my free time.”
THE ICONIC VESPA IS ONE OF THE WORLDWIDE SYMBOLS OF MADE IN ITALY. FOR A CREATIVE LIKE YOU, WHAT DOES IT REPRESENT, WHAT DOES IT INSPIRE?
“The Vespa is like Rome: "eternal", even though it was designed more than half a century ago it is still loved and admired all over the world and is as up to date as ever.”
NEXT STEP? WHAT FUTURE WOULD YOU LIKE FOR YOUR VIDEO ON “ROME”?
“I’d like to continue my project on the destinations of the world... it would be great if the tourism boards sponsored my trips; and who knows, perhaps I could organise a trip on a Vespa! For Rome, I’ve lots of friends in the city who are highly talented creatives, photographers and videomakers. I’d be delighted if the public sector set up more initiatives (competitions, incentives and so on), providing funding to encourage people to create products that enhance the city, I’d be the first to support and contribute to this and business organisations could contribute too, why not?”
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR VIDEO?
“It’s been seen and promoted by almost all the city authorities in Rome – that in itself is a huge achievement for me.”
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ROME?
“I love Trastevere, it’s where I go most often, after work I go there to meet up with friends or have a drink.”
OLIVER’S PASSIONS: ROME, TRAVEL AND…?
“Photography of course! It’s a real passion; I’ve got an Instagram account where I post my photos almost every day.”