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Massimo Films

Festivals domain of Italian/Welsh filmmaker Massimo Salvato

Massimo is fascinated by structures and the way things work. He enjoys the 'ambiguity' of his love for narrative films and his disbelief that a film must necessarily have a narrative. This in-between space/time provides Massimo with fields which he feels are not researched enough in cinema. He studied economics in Italy before exploring his passion for theatre and film, founding in 1998 a cultural association in Italy, organising short film, music and theatre events; and achieving a Master's Degree in Film at the International Film School Wales in 2005. In 2004 he wrote, produced and directed Carmen, a UK and Italian short film co-production dealing with gender issues and rural conservatism. In 2007 his first feature film script won him a place at Ekran, European Training Programme for Film Professionals, at the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing, in Warsaw. In 2008 he made a promo teaser for his new project Muse which helped him to build the team with which he completed the film in 2010. Massimo lectures in Film and Visual Culture at the Newport Film School, University of Wales Newport, and he is Course Leader in Film Studies in Coleg Gwent, South Wales.


Jonny: The Shaman of Rust

Production country: 
United Kingdom
Running time (In minutes): 
50 minutes
Student film: 
Production year: 
June, 2015
Film Credits
About the Director: 

Please see biography in profile

Film director: 
Massimo Salvato
Massimo Salvato
About the Producer: 
<p><span>Please see biography in profile</span></p>
Massimo Salvato
Film photographer: 
Massimo Salvato
Andrew James Rock & Dai Shell (final mix)
Bosch, Adam Harvey, Gareth Clark, Marega Palser, UK Subs
Cast 1: 
Jonathan Sherwood
Film synopsis: 
<p>&#39;Jonny: The Shaman of Rust&#39; is a gritty, humorous and heart warming documentary about Welsh artist Jonathan Sherwood who suffers with bipolar disorder. The filmed footage follows Jonny over three years (2012-2015) when he has to continuously move as a consequence of Newport city centre&#39;s urban transformation into a big shopping mall.</p>
Budget Range: 
Under $10 000
Technical infos
Technical infos
Original Film Format: 
Format Ratio: 
Film Sound: 
Video master available ?: 
Video Type: 
various digital formats, DVD, BluRay, DCP available on request
Festival Selection, Awards...
Festival selection, awards or citation already received and other comments... :
Already selected in a Festival?: 
Film reviews: 
<p>Review by Chris Paul. It is probably fair to say that the Welsh city of Newport is not the first place anyone thinks of when they consider contemporary art in Britain. Shoreditch in London perhaps, Brick Lane and Spitalfields - but not Newport. This is not to say that good and interesting work is not created in Newport - it is just that neither residents, or anyone else for that matter, think of cities like Newport as a kind cutting edge Mecca for contemporary expression - and the subsequent expectation that art is created elsewhere creates problems for the artists that do live in Newport as they try to create, curate, and exhibit. Jonny (The Shaman of Rust) captures a marginalized artistic community&#39;s struggle for recognition and survival, in the face of economic uncertainty and recession. Director Massimo Salvato explores the story through one of Newport&#39;s flamboyant and typically complex characters - artist, activist, and community worker Jonathan Sherwood, probably best known already, outside of Newport, for having his paintings of castrated bankers banned from public exhibition due to their controversy. All any artist needs, suggested Virginia Woolf in 1929 as the Wall Street Crash unfolded, capitalism imploded under the weight of its own greed induced freneticism and the Great Depression dawned, is &quot;a room of one&#39;s own&quot;. Roll forward 85 years and it seems not much has changed. The biggest challenge facing artists is not a dearth of creative capital and imagination, but often a total lack of material resources while society plays catch up in the comprehension of art&#39;s intrinsic value. Jonny follows Sherwood for over 2 years as Newport artists take proprietorship, and then lose, valuable studio and gallery spaces, engaging, often with perhaps unexpected success, with the Welsh public. Creating and then forced to destroy artworks for lack of a home and a space to call one&#39;s own. All of this unfolds post the 2008 banking collapse, in a city that un-enviably boasts the highest percentage of empty shops per capita in Europe. The social of course is deeply intertwined with the personal. And the social story of Jonny is amplified by Salvato&#39;s documentation of Sherwood&#39;s bi-polar disorder. At the outset of Jonny we are plunged into an intimate day to day account of living with manic episodes. Despite mental health illnesses being so common and widespread the topic is still taboo. The honesty and integrity with which the subject is covered here is laudable. Through documenting Sherwood&#39;s battles with depression it becomes apparent how, without community and a social safety nets, mental illness can result not only in un-productivity, but alienation, and perhaps worse. In years to come this film will also prove a valuable resource for those studying how cities across South Wales were forced to adapt to a decline in UK heavy industrial production. Jonny captures, not just communities at odds to express themselves in the face of economic assault, but the shifting spatial surrounds of Newport&#39;s architecture where these events happen - spaces speak of loss, change, and exploitation. Buildings are torn down and demolished to make way for new developments - erasing Newport&#39;s history and public artworks in the process. Jonny is a powerful document of the brutal destruction of Newport&#39;s famed Chartist Mural - itself a tale of working class upheaval from a different era. Suburbia with its strangely soulless parks and playing fields sprawl, shops everywhere lie empty, but the well meaning, but often chaotic and haphazard attempts to bring abandoned and disused commercial buildings into social productivity as community arts centres are variously resisted by the powers that be. The film is edited with a ruthless sense of poetry, and the soundtrack has echoes of DJ Shadow and UNKLE. Technically this is well orchestrated piece of film-making. Ultimately, despite the themes of social exclusion and economic injustice being pretty prevalent, Jonny is not a story of malaise, failure, and inevitable grinding poverty. Far from it. Jonny is &#39;winning&#39;, as they say. In the face of dwindling resources and scant opportunity Newport artists organise and collectivise, winning public acclaim and city council support in the process. Determination, dialogue, humour, not to mention bags of creativity from Jonny and his comrades in art, overcome. We learn that cities like Newport, with so many social problems, actually love and need the arts more than is supposed. And while artists may only need &quot;a room of one&#39;s own&quot;, their best really can come out when faced with oppression. Long live resistance, rebellion, personal ingenuity, and collective endeavour. Review by Taini Polypheme: I am the Shaman of rust,&rdquo; proclaims Jonny, both to an admirer of his painting and to us, the audience of this quirky yet riveting film. Massimo Salvato should take enormous satisfaction from his vision, which is as much an exploration of form as an exposition of its subject-matter. He now seems equally at ease as the master- craftsman of documentary while functioning as a hitman for social conscience Whether railing against the relentless advancement of urban regression or weaving Fellini-esque vistas of the Newport wetlands with claustrophobic shots of corporate vandalism of the Chartist mosaics, he sucks us into Jonny&#39;s visually-oxymoronic world with refreshing integrity. There is something for everyone, from 00-gauge model-railway enthusiasts and bibliophiles to psychiatrists and voyeurs of political vulgarity and capitalist stupidity. Melted dolls become metaphors for a post-nuclear world, the alien civilisation we recognise as now. As Jonny pours one pharmaceutical tablet after another into a cup of lucozade recalling how he attempted to control his depression, he quips, &quot;No amount of Dylan is gonna solve that!&quot; His self-deprecation is disturbingly, brutally funny. Salvato constantly shifts us from uncomfortable truth to another with alarming ease and his editing, while ebullient and simultaneously charming, constantly excites. The soundtrack occasionally echoes the industrial landscape of &#39;Nightclubbing&#39; by Iggy Pop and dreamy pianos offer hints of alluring classical melody. It&#39;s all rather scary and exhilarating yet utterly transfixing. The faceless corporate shits who haunt the film and hound the community-artists in ritual humiliation of this most noble of human concepts retain not one iota of credibility. Consequently, Jonny is a wake-up call for all of us who are being sacrificed on the altar of the banal. Set your alarm for tomorrow! Review: Jonny - The Shaman of Rust Written by Ross Houghton - Massimo Salvato&#39;s film documentary Jonny, is a powerful, compelling tale that anyone interested in Newport&#39;s cultural identity should see. Simultaneously, it&#39;s a deeply personal tale &ndash; following a period in the life of the titular Jonny (namely artist Jonathan Sherwood) &ndash; as well as a wider exploration of life in Newport during the last few years. If you&#39;ve spent time in the city lately, you can&#39;t have missed that we&#39;re in somewhat of an upheaval. The changing landscape of Newport means the familiar sights haver made way for the promises of new development, occasionally courting controversy, such as the demolition of the Chartist mural. This theme of destruction and change is captured masterfully in Massimo&#39;s work, building slowly through the first half of the film, until all subtlety is thrown aside. Parts of the film are almost harrowing for me on a personal level, seeing places of Newport that no longer exist. The symmetry between the destruction of Newport&#39;s landmarks, and the forced destruction of art from Jonny&#39;s installations, blends the film into something quite potent. We witness Jonny and the Artopsy art collective being given spaces in which to develop art, then losing them. Jonny&#39;s frustration at how art is treated is almost tangible. The show was held at the Project Space, during the Beneath the Surface exhibition, giving everyone present a fantastic opportunity to mill around before and after the film and see what it was all about, with many of the artists on hand to talk directly about the work. Massimo and Jonny also made a special appearance at the end of the show, hosting questions both about the artistic elements of the film and the experiences of Jonny and his fellow artists. Short quotes from community screenings and private screenings A brave, honest and gritty account of the artist, of art, creativity, Newport and its regeneration. Funny and moving. Sarah Campbell-Horner, arts officer A must see for anyone that cares about life, lifestyle, environment and the power of art. Stephanie Robert, mosaic artist An honest and gripping truth of what it&#39;s like to be an artist in the changing financial climate. Fez Miah, filmmaker This is one of the most interesting filmic studies that I have seen in a long time. Dr. Alexander Graf, film lecturer It&#39;s re-aligned my thinking about &quot;art&quot; in a very good way&quot;. Richard Atkin, musician Rogora Khart A poignant, funny and honest film of a true Newport legend. Newport International Airspace, artists collective A thoroughly enjoyable film and a real insight into the mind of the Shaman of Rust. Highly recommended! Rob Southall, lecturer and musician</p>
Film distribution
Sales/distribution name: 
Distrify Media (online distribution platform)
<p><a href=""></a></p>
Publicity Infos
Publicity contact: 
Massimo Salvato
Publicity contact email: 
Trailer availble: 
Your rating: None

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About Massimo Films

Salvato Massimo
(Massimo Films)

I am an Italian filmmaker and lecturer living in Newport, South Wales, since 2002. I did my degree in Economics in Italy and worked in theatre and community arts there before I decided to move to Wales. 

MA Film in 2004 at Newport Film School, now part of University of South Wales, where I have been a regular visiting lecturer since October 2004. I am course leader for A Level Film Studies in Coleg Gwent, Crosskeys Campus since the same year. 

Still in 2004, I produced and directed "Carmen", a Welsh/Italian short film drama co-production shot in Southern Italy, dealing with gender issues and rural conservatism. In 2007 my first feature film script won me a place at Ekran, European Training Programme for Film Professionals, at the Wajda Studio, in Warsaw, Poland. Since then I developed a project for a poetic film about creative inspiration called "Muse", and made a 20 minutes version of it, which was screened at Berlin International Directors' Lounge and Sofia International Film Festival in 2011. Since 2012, while filming the feature length documentary "Jonny: The Shaman of Rust", I have been involved in making community videos mainly with local artists and performers, including a promo for Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a series of promo videos filmed with teenagers, students and graduates from the University of South Wales at Green Man Festival 2013 and 2014, and at Kaya Festival in 2015; a 30 minutes documentary called "The volunteer stories" commissioned by the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) about Welsh VSO witnesses over 55 years of VSO, telling their experiences and stories during their service, completed in 2014. In 2013 I raised funding through a Kickstarter campaign for the post-production of "Jonny: The Shaman of Rust", which was completed in 2015 and is now looking for an audience. As well as a filmmaker and a lecturer, I am a film programmer in two local Film Clubs and I am Film Club (IntoFilm charity) leader at the college where I work.



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