Locked Love is a tantalising story that pulls you in, filled with a spectrum of emotions, mirroring the dramatic landscape that is Sagres. I had the pleasure of speaking with Locked Love’s director, Lou Di Giorgio about what we can expect from this new short film.
Locked Love, begins with Michelle, who arrives in Sagres as a tourist. She soon realises that her boyfriend will not be able to come as his flight was cancelled due to lockdown and she must spend her holiday alone. However, destiny starts to play with her future in an unexpected way, making for a captivating love story that spirals out of control. Among the cast, we see Vianca Meyer’s debut, a South African, based in the Algarve who was a great asset to the production along with Marcus Andre who is known in Portugal from different TV series such as “Na Corda Bamba”.
The perfect location
Filmed in the beautiful village of Sagres in Western Algarve, Portugal, the film is set in the luxurious Martinhal Resort, as well as other establishments in Sagres, including the Pousada, the Pontalaia apartments, the Cabo São Vicente lighthouse and the Armazém restaurant. Producer and director Lou Di Giorgio envisioned the film to take place in this hidden gem of Europe. The Algarve came to his mind with its beautiful beaches, romantic scenery and gorgeous weather which in turn provides the best lighting; it’s perfect for honeymooners and tourists who want to explore breath-taking destinations, hence perfect for the plot of Locked Love to unfold. In addition, the setting of the film is in a surfer community so it was the ideal surrounding. They also were able to get local actors and the script was adapted to the actors as well as the characters being developed with the actors in mind.
Building a team
This is the first full-length feature film that Lou Di Giorgio has made in Portugal. Lou Di Giorgio was most active in Spain but because of the lockdown, he was confined in the Algarve and he wanted to build a local team and experiment with creating a film here. They had to respect all the Covid protocols so it made filming much harder than usual, especially as if someone were to test positive the entire production would have to shut down. He built a new team that did not know each other previously which was also difficult the first time they were on set. He had to build a team based in the Algarve because he did not want to rely on people from other countries who might not be able to fly over. They still achieved the result overall but it was a challenge “it was a miracle that we were able to finish filming”, he said.
When Lou Di Giorgio wrote the script, he wrote it bearing in mind the risk of contagion, thus limiting the number of people on set at each time and luckily most scenes were filmed outside. The weather was also a changeable factor that was a challenge as they had bad weather when filming in January, which is rare in the Algarve. He told me he was very happy with how the film turned out and he has already done the director’s cut, meaning the film should be ready for the premier, here in the Algarve, in April.
At first, the director had no inspiration back in October and a friend of his from Poland pushed him to create a short film. His friend was meant to come to the Algarve to help him but was also stuck due to covid. His French neighbour gave him the starting point for the plot about a woman who came over here, got stuck and misses her community and so he started writing and the ideas came to him and then with a team who spoke English, helped him to edit the script and to correct the dialogue and the actors helped to define the characters. This film really questions how people can have relationships during the pandemic. Most excitingly, the film has been accepted by several prestigious film festivals around the world and will be submitted to further festivals.
We spoke about his future project and he told me how February last year they started working on a feature film called “Krystal” also based in the Algarve which is about the bank history of banco Espirito Santo. They unfortunately had to postpone the filming due to lockdown as it was impossible to do. They hope by the end of the year to start shooting this film once they gain sufficient funds so it should come out next year. It was also very important to shoot locked love (short film) as it was a really good way to experiment with the team and how to work in the Algarve. It is really time to push doing productions in the Algarve due to the increase in films and series on Netflix in Portuguese because there is a huge market for it. He was happy that people joined this production as also a lot of people were stuck without work during this time. He really hopes for more productions to come from the Algarve as he believes there is great talent here and the landscape provides different locations to shoot. Additionally, he gave me positive feedback about the Algarve as he told me how great it is to film with the lighting that the Algarve has to offer, due to the usual wonderful weather.
We also spoke about his career as a director and how he started in photography and then moved to work on the “other side” of the camera. In 2004 with the digital film era at its beginning, he bought one of the first Red One camera’s which was also used in the first “Clash of the Titans” Warner Bros. film which was shot in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) and now, after a decade of renting movie and video equipment in Tenerife and in the Seychelles and producing TV commercials, a documentary and the Spanish feature film “El Clan” both with director Jaime Falero, he decided to “cross the line again” and produce and direct films in Portugal, so there will be plenty more to come from Lou Di Giorgio.