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Interview with Italian Actor, Writer, Producer, Dancer Arianna Veronesi at 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Interview with Italian Actor, Writer, Producer, Dancer Arianna Veronesi at 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival Interview with Italian Actor, Writer, Producer, Dancer Arianna Veronesi at 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Born in Verona, Italy, actor, writer, producer and dancer Arianna Veronesi started her international career as a ballet and contemporary dancer early in life. By the time she was twenty, she was a soloist for companies such as the Jeune Ballet International de Cannes, London City Ballet and Ballet du Nord (France). Also a sought-after choreographer, Arianna designed for Compagnie Nomades in Switzerland and Compagnie D'Apres in Paris. Her natural transition into acting through physical theater resulted in receiving a diploma from the Acting International School in Paris.

Arianna’s international film career then grew momentum after starring in the indie French movie, “Killer of Beauty (2011),” directed by Keja Ho Kramer, followed by playing opposite Anthony Hopkins in Michael Håfström's “The Rite” (2011). Since relocating to Los Angeles, Arianna has been cast in several productions, including Francis Ford Coppola’s “Distant Vision (2016)". She also is credited for writing and starring in her own award-winning, one-woman show, “My Janis.” Most recently, Arianna starred in, wrote and produced a film festival favorite, “Glaistig” (2022). A mere four months into the festival circuit, this short film has already received 15 awards, six of which were for Best Actress, including top acting nods at the 2022 French Riviera Film Festival.

In an interview with Arianna Veronesi after the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival, here is what she had to say:


Can you tell us about your dancing career? 

ARIANNA: I started working as a professional ballet dancer when I was 18 years old.  My first job was dancing in the Arena of Verona under the direction of Carla Fracci. This presented a rough start because the direction was corrupted by way of the dancers being exploiting. Luckily, I found a contract immediately after with the Jeune Ballet de Cannes where I grew immensely and ended up performing as a soloist. I moved on to dance in the corps de ballet for Swan Lake in The London City Ballet. When it transitioned into being neoclassical, I then performed as a demi soloist in prestigious theaters such as The Peacock Theater in London. When this last company closed its doors, I wanted to expand my artistic freedom to include a more contemporary direction. That’s when I got to work at The Ballet du Nord, where I performed as a soloist in renowned theaters such as the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris. As a contemporary dancer I wanted to cultivate more of my individuality by actively participating in the creative process, so I moved on to work for the Compagnie Nomades in Switzerland and Compagnie d'Après in Paris.


How did you move from being a dancer into choreography? 

ARIANNA: Being classically trained and highly experienced including mastering the creative process during my contemporary focus led to being commissioned to choreograph for the Compagnie Nomades and the Compagnie d'Après.


You later went into acting as well. How did you move from dance and choreography to acting?

ARIANNA: It was when I had the occasion to work with actors that I saw the power of performing as a whole, complete process beyond the art of dance. For me, it transcended the presentation of the body to include the voice and full range of expression. Even the way the director interacted with them was was respectful! Yeah, believe it or not, that was a big discovery for me. I immersed myself in a three year acting school in Paris and right after began working in theater and cinema.


Do you use your dance techniques in your acting?

ARIANNA: I am a constant learner and researcher and that approach has been reflected in my dance evolution throughout the years. I am into somatic movement and feminine embodiment practices right now, which I use as a daily practice for my general well being. I also use movement as a way to move energy and emotions through my body.  It's a tool I can use to tune into my instrument and make it available for building a character that's ready for action.


You worked on films like "The Rite" with Anthony Hopkins and in TV series and work with Coppola. Is acting your preferred performance art thus far?

ARIANNA: I am an actor, through and through. I deeply cherish all the memories I have of being a dancer and am grateful for the access it granted me to the world of artistry at such a young age. For me, acting is the most powerful artform because it unveils intimate truths. It’s an endless discovery of who I am and who I can become. Being an actor is an unending journey into the wonderland of imagination and possibility. In an ideal scenario, we get to tell a meaningful story by becoming a vessel of something much larger than ourselves. It is a way to be of service, and to me, that's the greatest part.


Being from Italy and now living in Los Angeles, do you find the film industry more challenging in Hollywood than in Italy?

ARIANNA: It’s difficult to be a "foreign" actor anywhere.  At first it was particularly challenging, but now I am growing into the industry and I can see that the industry is growing on it's own.  Things are changing in Hollywood, it's becoming more aware and inclusive.  Italy is changing too, but at a slower pace. For me it’s a global issue of the industry being very limited for women.


You have now started a one woman show called "My Janis". Can you tell us about that?

ARIANNA: My Janis, is an award winning solo performance that I wrote and starred in portraying the iconic rock star, Janis Joplin. It’s an intimate glimpse into the life of a gifted artist struggling to find her identity in a very confusing period of history. I have always been fascinated by her bravery and her fight for freedom as a female artist growing up in conservative Texas. I immediately felt a profound connection to her story of being a young girl who was bullied and ostracized for her beliefs. Her courage to advocate against racism and the patriarchal agenda spawned an ever-growing hunger in me to deeply explore and expose the effects of sexism and the roots of the female empowerment movements.


You wrote and directed an award winning film called "Glaistig". Can you tell us about the inspiration for that story?

ARIANNA: Glaistig is the story of Anna, an immigrant actress determined to conform to Hollywood’s misogynistic rules. Bogged down by her PTSD, a feminist poem will thrust her into a wild and fantastical journey of total self reclamation through the art of dance. I created this film as an effort to explore the purpose of art as a healing tool. To expose the truth of trauma we as women can face every day. To honor those who feel unable to fill the roles they are expected to play in their bodies, communities, careers and beyond. It finally felt relevant to talk about my personal experience growing up female in a predominantly patriarchal society. To shine a light on the challenges of being a foreign actress navigating the patriarchal imperialism of Hollywood. To acknowledge the inherent trauma so many silently suffer through.


Your short film has been receiving awards at film festivals. Will you continue to write and produce your own work after this success?

ARIANNA: Absolutely. Winning all these awards has been a huge validation as a filmmaker and a confidence booster in terms of continuing to share my voice and honor my ideas. I am currently writing a feature about a former child bride trapped in an isolated life who's only hope for a future of freedom lies in exposing truths behind the locked doors of her painful past. 


You recently attended the 75th Cannes Film Fest. How was that experience? 

ARIANNA: Being able to attend, especially for the first film I'd written, was an incredibly empowering experience. I am thrilled that Glaistig’s message could reach more people and it was so rewarding to have women coming to me in tears thanking me because they felt seen and honored by the film's message. It was also such a pleasure to build relationships with amazing filmmakers from all over the world. It's been a huge growth curve through which I've learned a lot about the business of the business. Having the opportunity to participate in great workshops and panels that the Short Film Corner organized was an incredible experience and, honestly, I can’t wait to go back.

Interview with Italian Actor, Writer, Producer, Dancer Arianna Veronesi at 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival
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