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Giovanni Morassutti: “Trust and help people around you”

At the moment, I am consolidating collaborations with several international partners and with the Region of Friuli- Venezia Giulia. The activities of the art center resonate with the local community. The outcomes of my projects are usually open to the public and have received a particular interest among the local people. I am also aiming to […]

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At the moment, I am consolidating collaborations with several international partners and with the Region of Friuli- Venezia Giulia. The activities of the art center resonate with the local community. The outcomes of my projects are usually open to the public and have received a particular interest among the local people.

I am also aiming to foster cultural tourism and community involvement. Friuli- Venezia Giulia is a culturally unique region shaped by history, traditions and art. I would love to collaborate with other local entities. I would say that at this stage, the three things that would support my effort would be to promote my cause, donate to the art center, and collaborate on our projects.


As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Giovanni Morassutti.

Giovanni Morassutti (born March 15, 1980, in Padua) is an Italian actor, director, writer, artist, and cultural entrepreneur. He is a graduate of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, and representative of Method Acting, being a long-time student and collaborator of John Strasberg and having also studied with his sister Susan in the late ’90s. Since 2001 he has acted in more than 20 films, including independent films, prime time tv, and international films. In 2016 he wrote the foreword to the Italian version of Strasberg´s book “ Accidentally on Purpose: Reflections on Life, Acting and the Nine Natural Laws of Creativity ”. Giovanni Morassutti is the founder of Art Aia — Creatives / In / Residence, an international art residency and arts school located in the countryside of the north-eastern Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia that focuses on developing the creative process, holism and sustainable practices by preserving biodiversity and facilitating cultural exchange across borders.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this career path?

Thank you for having me. It is a real pleasure to be interviewed by you.

I would rather talk about my path as a cultural entrepreneur and artistic director of an art-related organization since that is where I see my main contribution to making a social impact. As an actor, I can only say that each time I work on a character I always try my best to put myself in its shoes as a human being rather than an actor.

I love nature. It inspires me and makes me feel in harmony with myself. I am hurt when I see how the worst kind of humanity is destroying it just for making a profit. Issues like marine pollution, deforestation, and unethical hunting make me feel sad and angry. I am also concerned about global warming and all related threats to biodiversity. I feel a strong emotional need to sensibilize people about this issue. Founding the international art residency Art Aia — Creatives / In / Residence represents my contribution to an environmental cause as well as to a holistic approach to the arts. My father has taught some courses in the venue when it still was an agricultural center in the late nineties to develop creativity within a natural setting. Subsequently, I have added cultural and artistic proposals to international artists’ initiatives related to experimentation and research in sustainable practices as well as in some of the major categories within the liberal arts like theatre and fine art.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

Well, that would be producing the first artist-in-residence program of the project Mappe Fluide by Marsala 11 in 2014.

As the result of an open call, I have selected the art collective Marsala 11 to develop a project aiming to research the topography of the territory. The artists, after research during a residency program, installed site-specific interventions using the old stable of the art center from the end of the 19th century and its adjacencies as an exhibition area. I was very enthusiastic about the project and I did my best to fulfill their needs while they were working on their creative process. On top of curating and tutoring their art residency, I was also preparing meals for them. I believe I am a good cook, but for some reason, they didn’t want to eat my dishes. They preferred to go to a bar in the nearest village and have some sandwiches. I have always wondered what was wrong with my pasta!

I have learned, through the experience, that you have to put boundaries, cannot do all the things at once, and need to structure an art-related organization.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I believe success is defined by how many times you can stand up from your failures; therefore, I would suggest never giving up on your dreams and trying to do the best you can to express who you are and what you want to do. In other words, determination. The challenge is to make your dreams come through in the real world which requires a lot of work and accepting many rejections. Never take it personally. It is just life and life is hard.

You use the word “emulate,” which I believe is a bit dangerous. Each of us has his path, and even if one can be inspired and learn from others, it comes down to your journey. Follow what you are called upon in this world to do, which is not always easy to find. In my case, it was being an actor and a creative practitioner. My advice is to do your own thing and to listen to a few pieces of advice only from people that you trust and that you admire. Caring parents, for example, give advice all the time, and most of the time are out of love but be careful since they might be projections of their dreams and regrets, which are not necessarily yours. In terms of the acting business, I am used to saying: “Find a good teacher, don’t betray yourself to succeed and be a better person before being a better actor.”

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

Yes. John Strasberg, the son of Lee Strasberg, the spiritual guide of the Actors Studio. I have studied and collaborated with him for over 20 years, and I believe he helped me discover myself and my creative process. He has been a father figure and a source of artistic inspiration. To give you an example. I remember one time, in New York, I had this strong sense of guilt about some issues related to my family. After class, we walked down the streets in the theatre district of Manhattan, and I told him how I felt. He embraced me and whispered: “If your parents would have loved you a little more.” Hearing that sentence made me burst into tears. It was such a relief for me. My parents divorced when I was 4 years old. I have always had to deal with a sense of guilt, feeling inadequate. Now that I am older, I am living my life accepting the fact that my parents probably did the best they could to take good care of me so it is better, thanks to him and other people who have helped me along the way.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

I am not giving up, and I am still trying to do what I dream about doing, which is my success. In terms of my cause, I am giving the possibility to people worldwide to focus on their creative process and discover the natural beauty of my home region thanks to artist-in-residence programs and courses in the arts and humanities.

I am creating new possibilities for collaboration among thinkers of all fields.

Art Aia Studios is one of my latest projects aiming to offer masterclasses on the Organic Creative Process and Method Acting to actors, directors, and writers, as well as Scenic arts and Sustainability thanks to my various collaborators.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

I had so many moments in which, while being in nature, I felt in harmony with myself, and I believed that it is one of the main reasons why I have resiliently chosen this cause. As a kid, I kept frogs in my pockets and looked at the trees and the flowers for hours. Nature has always attracted me. It nurtures my soul. I believe that the fact that our planet is facing vast environmental problems is a very urgent topic, and I am doing my best to express that to a global audience through holistic art practices, creativity, and community engagement.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

In 2018 I collaborated with the English associations the Arts Territory Exchange and the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts in the residency in sustainable practices. Two international artists, Beatrice Lopez from Norway and Kelly Leonard from Australia came to spend some time at my art residency to develop their art practices related to ecology. While they were there, we visited the vineyards of Cantina Dei Principi di Porcia, an eight centuries-old winery discussing the crossovers of culture and sustainable agriculture with Prince Guecello di Porcia who was impacted by my cause and decided to become our technical sponsor with his energy-saving company.

While at his farm, the artists have realized a performance piece “Filtering” to emphasize the necessity to filter and recycle. I am grateful for having collaborated with the CSPA. They are doing a fantastic job of raising awareness about environmental balance, social equity, economic stability, and strengthened cultural infrastructure. Gudrun Filipska has written a beautiful article (Connected by a Thread) about our collaboration. I believe it expresses with clarity also my commitment to creating the kind of connections between people that lead to collective civic action, political expression, community dialogue, and shared cultural experiences.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

At the moment, I am consolidating collaborations with several international partners and with the Region of Friuli- Venezia Giulia. The activities of the art center resonate with the local community. The outcomes of my projects are usually open to the public and have received a particular interest among the local people.

I am also aiming to foster cultural tourism and community involvement. Friuli- Venezia Giulia is a culturally unique region shaped by history, traditions and art. I would love to collaborate with other local entities. I would say that at this stage, the three things that would support my effort would be to promote my cause, donate to the art center, and collaborate on our projects.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

Well, when you say “fist started,” I would go back to my early childhood since I believe that we are born with talent.

The challenge is to follow through with our mission, nurturing and expressing ourselves in our adult lives.

That being said I would have loved to hear the following things :

● You can do what you dream about doing because you can make it happen since you are worth it, and things will work out fine.

Our minds can be one of our worst enemies, mostly when we absorb too much criticism and pressure, which turns into negative thoughts and procrastination. We need to be self-indulgent at times.

● Your sensitivity is a gift, not a flaw. Being sensitive doesn’t mean being weak.

I would have valued myself more by accepting and trusting my sensitivity as a human being. Sensitive animals, for instance, can feel the danger before another can.

● Trust and help people around you.

I believe that real change is a collective effort and that sharing with others can bring an enormous amount of joy. Helping each other on a human and social level is a profound source of fulfillment and dignity but you still have to be careful by trusting your intuition.

● Be who you are, and don’t worry about what other people think about you.

From the Italian bourgeoisie, I grew up in an environment concerned about appearance, style, and material success considered fundamental values to be part of the “clan.” I am not saying that there are not good aspects in the upper class, but I believe that to live the life you want to live, you need to be courageous, and being an artist is an act of rebellion. It is fundamental to express what you feel, take risks, and don’t pay too much attention to people criticizing you, as I’ve said before.

● Profit is secondary in life. Commitment and quality come first.

I always wanted to be good at what I was doing to give the best part of myself to the world. It is especially true in my acting process. I think I have absorbed the original spirit of the Actors Studio at a young age where actors kept working on themselves regardless of their material success. When I focus my energy on money, power, fame, I feel unhappy and trapped in my frustrations.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thanks for saying that. Once I have used this metaphor in a broadcasting interview, “A great many a drop of water will create a creek.”

I already feel part of a movement along with many other exciting artists and people who create inspiring projects across the globe. I stand up for preserving nature and its biodiversity and using art practices to express topics such as global warming and sustainability. I am also dedicated to nurturing talent and creativity.

I am committed to creating awareness of the importance of preserving culture and nature, which are pillars to a healthy society. Our approach will determine the course of the future, and we need to be an excellent example to the younger generations passing on our best knowledge, which is an essential thing if we want to change the way people look at things. For example, I am collaborating with Sadya Mizan, founder of the Uronto artist community in Bangladesh by sharing her mission to use art to preserve cultural heritage. I am moved by the collective effort of that artist community to maintain intact the Dubolhati Palace, a historical site that represents the identity of its people. In my realm, I am doing the same with the environment of my home region by communicating its natural beauties and biodiversity thanks to my international artistic collaborations and the partnership as a cultural institute with the online platform Google Arts & Culture globally. I also want to offer an alternative to standard education by creating a spontaneous circuit of artists and art-related opportunities focusing on the development of the creative process within a natural setting.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all. Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” by John Keats.

It has always inspired my art practice since the search for truth is the core of my work. While working on my first documentary film Personal Dream Space shot at the art residency, I remember John Strasberg quoting it, which inspired my cause. Art Aia- La Dolce Berlin has created the documentary, an independent production company that I have confounded in Berlin, that produces documentaries and narratives with nature, creativity, art, and gender equality. I believe that nature and art can express one of the fundamental mysterious truths of life, equal to all of us.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would say, Eckhart Tolle. I admire him as a teacher, and I think he has suffered a lot. I would love to encounter his spiritual energy. I would have a private lunch or breakfast making sure to be in the present moment.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you, Edward. It has been a real honor.I wish you the same.


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