October 21, 2021

New York Film Academy (NYFA) filmmaking alum Gabriele Fabbro’s latest feature-length film, The Grand Bolero (2021) is an official selection of the 2021 Austin Film Festival. The film was nominated for “best narrative feature film.”

Filmed and set in Italy during the country’s lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roxanne (played by Lidia Vitale) is a cynical middle-aged pipe organ cleaner who struggles to control her impulsive attraction to her new 20-year-old mute assistant (played by Ludovica Mancini). Described by G&F Pictures as a “90-minute romantic thriller,” the film was directed by Fabbro and co-written by Fabbro and Ydalie Turk.

Poster for The Grand Bolero (2021)

Fabbro provides a director’s statement about the film and its production during the COVID-19 lockdown, “We wrote and shot the film in northern Italy, during the lockdown. We were lucky to get to film in locations where Covid-19 first spread such as Lodi (in the chapel of the main hospital) and Bergamo’s surroundings. Because we wanted to make this ‘covid-era thriller’ during the lockdown, I think everyone felt the urgency to make it happen. This urgency’s really what made this film possible. Also, because we were all locked in our homes, we all couldn’t wait to get back on set. That created such a bond within the team and brought great energy on set and on the script. I’m also really happy to have made this journey with such a compact crew of young and creative storytellers.”

This year’s Austin Film Festival, which begins on Thursday, October 21 will screen The Grand Bolero internationally on October 24th and 26th. The film will compete among 15 other films in the “Narrative” category at this year’s festival.

Production still from The Grand Bolero (2021)

The director provides his own take on the creative inspiration behind the film and the significance of the musical score, “Although Covid-19 remains mostly in the background, with “The Grand Bolero” I wanted to explore our aching need for human connection and touch during the pandemic. The film follows Roxanne (Lidia Vitale), a gruff, middle-age pipe-organ restorer who struggles to control her surprising and obsessive attraction to Lucia, her new 20-year-old mute female assistant (Ludovica Mancini). I’ve been fascinated by pipe organs since I was a kid so “The Grand Bolero” was also a great opportunity to showcase my own obsession for this massive instrument and for classical music in films. The soundtrack has been recorded entirely on three different types of organs including the Grand Organ of Villasanta (one of the biggest symphonic organs in Italy) and on a Mighty Wurlitzer (currently the only theatre organ in Italy).”

According to Fabbro, “I think that more than ever today, we need to celebrate the psychic power of Cinema and its history. Therefore, with this first feature, I tried my best to reconcile the modern Cinema (stereotype-free female protagonists, method performances, taboos, edgy styles) with the classic silent Cinema (at the very beginning, films were often scored by pipe organs).”

As quoted from Fabbro’s Instagram account regarding the selection and nomination, he says, “So proud to announce that our film will premiere at the @austinfilmfest. Still can’t realize we’re screening alongside some of my favorite storytellers such as Wes Anderson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Joaquin Phoenix, @celine_sciamma, Willem Dafoe, @tchalamet, Alexandre Desplat. A huge congratulation to the whole bolero family! You fueled this film with passion and devotion. I’m so happy to share this journey with you guys. Cheers to our first step and see y’all in Austin!”

Production still from The Grand Bolero (2021)

Fabbro’s success is recognized among fellow NYFA alumni, Furaha Bayibsa, who is a Filmmaker/Writer/Producer and BFA filmmaking alum, “I strongly believe Gabriele will become one of the most known and talked about filmmakers in this new generation of filmmakers, as well as one of the most successful NYFA filmmaker alums of all time.”

You can follow Fabbro’s latest work and personal updates on Instagram (@gfpicturespage).

New York Film Academy congratulates Gabriele Fabbro for his selection at the Austin Film Festival and wishes him the best of luck during the competition.

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.