For the past nine months, I’ve been developing a short film focused on the idea of loss and remembrance. The phrase “Non Dimenticare” means Do not forget, a fitting name for the project.
The story itself was inspired by a restaurant outing and an elderly man sitting by himself. My girlfriend and I were having dinner and noticed the man, and wondered about the life he may have lived. We talked about how, in his mind, perhaps he was having dinner with his late wife. Maybe he was recalling dinners and nights out that they may have shared. While we were eating, we overheard the old man tell his waitress that his wife was out with her friends, so he came to eat by himself. We were immediately relieved that our story wasn’t actually true, but I couldn’t shake the idea.
After returning home, I sketched out the characters, and further began to develop the story. There were to be three characters: Harold, his wife Bianca, and their daughter Alexandra.
Swept away by the idea of this project, I drafted an animated story board and a shot list. After my previous failed short film, I tried for a narrower scope, shorter length, and a more realistic production schedule (since I still work full time at an advertising agency). The goal I set for myself was to push my character models to have more charm and higher attention to detail than previous attempts, and to make a more inviting environment with plenty of personality.
Below is the storyboard for the film. Note: I had different songs in mind when I started, but they changed during production.
Below, you can find a series of photo references, blocking, progress shots, and color grading example as I modeled the restaurant interior and additional assets. The restaurant itself is based on Villa Francesco’s in Pennington,NJ. The same place where my girlfriend and I saw the old man sitting by himself that inspired Non Dimenticare.