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James Di Martino: “Background check everyone”

Keep making shorts, once your happy with the level you have got. When you have the funds and a good producer who can help to get the film out there. That’s when you can make a film. Set clear deadlines, don’t get lazy. Be pro-active and open to all criticism (Hard but at some stage, […]

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Keep making shorts, once your happy with the level you have got. When you have the funds and a good producer who can help to get the film out there. That’s when you can make a film. Set clear deadlines, don’t get lazy. Be pro-active and open to all criticism (Hard but at some stage, everyone gets bad reviews)


I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing James Di Martino, a Writer/Director of the short film ‘Five O’Clock’. In 2019 James completed the low budget feature horror film ‘The Faceless Man’ which premiered at Monster festival to a sold-out crowd. The film is currently doing its festival round and recently had its International Premiere at the Haapsalu horror festival in Estonia (The sister festival to the prestigious Talinn Black Night festival). The Faceless Man is being represented by sales agent Hewes Pictures.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I Grew up in Melbourne, Australia. My childhood was spent on a farm (Not a country town, just 5 minutes from the suburbs) From school I was always interested in making films and I guess that’s how you start with using whatever you can get your hands on. I always had an interest in the story, specifically genre which was always so interesting.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I Always had an interest in film making as I said. But I took an academic path in Marketing. When I was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 18 I tried many things after and then decided that I may as well try and become what I always wanted. A film director. So I started my own company. Chapter 5 studios and made a heap of shorts to prepare for making a feature film.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Working with industry professionals, hearing their stories from the old days.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

That’s an easy one. Working with friends. Never again. A common mistake on my early work was trusting friends with tasks.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have been writing a lot the past 2 years and now have a slate of around 6–7 projects all near ready to film. After COVID I hope to get a few projects going. The three main ones are — A dark comedy about filmmaking with a coming-of-age aspect; a non-linear crime film that focuses on how lives are impacted by a powerful Mafia-like syndicate; and a dystopian George Orwell-like sci-fi thriller set in 50 years time.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I always try my best to include a variety of people within my films. I feel it leads to more creativity of the overall project.

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

1- Background check everyone
2- A feature film is nothing like a short
3- People will let you down (Even those you trust)
4- At the end of the day film is subjective
5- Film making is possibly the hardest profession to succeed and make money from

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Keep making shorts, once your happy with the level you have got. When you have the funds and a good producer who can help to get the film out there. That’s when you can make a film. Set clear deadlines, don’t get lazy. Be pro-active and open to all criticism (Hard but at some stage, everyone gets bad reviews)

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂

I don’t get involved in politics.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Two of my producers Rhys Sherring for being a top bloke and making the film possible by getting any shot I wanted over three projects we worked on. Daniel Facciolo for starting the company with me and helping me through all the bad times and stress of running the company.

My family was also very supportive of what I was doing which also helped a lot.

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

Don’t work with F*** Wits (Sorry for the language)

This should be a motto of people that want to work in film. The amount of people that try to ride on your success or hardships is a lot. Work with like-minded happy people that want to make movies. Not the ones that want the fame or to brag about the film to others. There is a big difference.

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, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Quentin Tarantino

If he was still alive Ingmar Bergman

How can our readers follow you online?

Chapter 5 studios Facebook page

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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