John Cappello recently just came off a win for Best Short Film- Narrative for his film “Floppies” at the festival of Cinema NYC and his film also premiered at the New York Short International Film Festival, the largest short film festival on the east coast.
The Brooklyn based filmmaker has produced videos for Conde, Comedy Central, Vanity Fair and Sundance Film Festival just to name a few.
His latest film is personal to him. “Floppies” is based on the real relationship that he had with his father that unfortunately suffered from Dementia. His heavy film is impressive although it is bittersweet and somber. With his gifted writing and production abilities, Cappello has the potential for a long career in film.
“I began developing floppies in spring 2021 while still very much chewing over my own grief. What started as a form of personal journaling quickly developed into a screenplay”.
Let’s start with your latest film “Floppies” that won 2 Best Narrative Short Awards, what inspired you to make the film? It was inspired by true events, right?
My film “Floppies” is based on my real life experiences with my father Paul Cappello, who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia when he was about 55. For the final two years of his life, he lived in an assisted living home, and I would make monthly visits from NYC to Massachusetts to see him. “Floppies” features recreations of various impactful moments from both of our lives during those 2 years.
A lot of the dialogue is based on real conversations we had, and the one-page comic that serves as the framing story for “Floppies” is based on the one he and I made. It was surreal having to stage and recreate these moments I had experienced with our lead actors, Jake and James Laurence.
How and where did you get your start in the arts?
I’ve been an artist since I could hold a pencil. I made comics when I was in middle school about a character named Super John, eventually experimenting with screenwriting in high school and then studying filmmaking in college. So between comics, filmmaking, and animation, I’ve always been most drawn to disciplines that combine writing and visuals.
You are an artist of many talents, video, illustration, graphic design, animation, do you have a preference.? Is there a certain process that you use?
I love being creative. Between all of the artistic disciplines that I practice, I don’t think I could pick one as my favorite. I approach all of them the same way, which is having a vision and thinking about the best way to execute it. Although illustration will always be my first love. In my 20s, I hustled to make a career in either comics or video production, and I fell into a career mostly in post-production.
So I’ve decided to focus professionally on filmmaking, but I will always come back to illustrating from time to time. I recently did a series of illustrations of my cat for my wedding!
What inspired your comic series ” The Wonderful Wheels”?
I’m glad you asked about “The Wonderful Wheels!” Although I’m not currently working on it, it still brings me fond memories. I gave up on the comic book industry when a legendary X-men writer and his family laughed in my face after I handed him a free copy of “The Wonderful Wheels” at New York Comic Con, but I’m still pretty proud of it. Anyway, to answer your question, “The Wonderful Wheels” came about when I and a few friends I went to college with wanted to make an anthology book to showcase our talents after graduation.
I wanted to write a children’s fantasy story like “Alice in Wonderland” or “Wizard of Oz” that featured a girl with disabilities as the protagonist, partly due to my father becoming wheelchair bound around the same time, I suppose. Eventually the anthology book collaboration fell apart, but I stuck to making “The Wonderful Wheels” for a little longer.
At the current moment do you have any projects you are working on or in post-production that we should anticipate?
I recently wrote a feature length comedy-drama screenplay that I am starting to send to people, as well as discussing documentary projects with a couple of filmmakers who I met at the Festival of Cinema NYC.
You have an extensive catalogue, what is some of the work you are most proud of?
I am always most proud of the work that I originated, such as the comics I’ve written and drawn, and films that I wrote and directed like “Floppies.” Being an independent artist in any discipline is difficult, as the gears of capitalism mostly grease us into utilizing our talents for commercial work made for the moneyed interests and gains of corporations, but as an artist I get no greater satisfaction than coming to the end of a long project that originated in my brain and that can now be seen by others.
Where could people find your work to view, specifically “floppies”?
“Floppies” is not yet released publicly as it is still making the festival rounds, but people can follow me on Instagram @johncappelloart or @floppiesfilm, on Twitter @CappelloJohn, on YouTube @ChumpLafayette, and on Letterboxd @bananaha.
Who are some emerging creatives that inspire you or you enjoy working with?
I will just give my wife Shawn Inglima a shout-out here. She is an incredible wedding photographer and photojournalist. She is my muse. You can find her on Instagram @shawninglima.