The Cosmonaut

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On the 14th of May there was the premiere of the movie “The Cosmonaut”, a Spanish film of science-fiction. It tells the story of the first Russian cosmonaut, Stas, who travels to the Moon during the Space Race. When he comes back to the Earth, he finds it completely empty.

However, the plot is not the main reason why you should watch this film. There are many reasons why this movie attracts my attention and I would like to explain a few of them.

First of all, “The Cosmonaut” is a movie produced by more than 5000 people! The main producer is Riot Cinema, a small studio based in Madrid, which is composed of three young people: Nicolás Alcalá, Carola Rodriguez and Bruno Teixidor. They wrote and produced the film, but they didn’t have enough money to achieve it. In order to solve this problem without asking money from other cinema producer companies, they used a great idea to find funds: crowdfunding. It is an alternative way to fund an activity, usually by Internet, and you just need to find enough people interested in your project that are willing to give you money to support it. In exchange for a little money, you can get a role in the project or exclusive items. For example, in “The Cosmonaut” case, if you paid €5, your name would have appeared in the credits of the movie as a producer!

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After four years and a final budget of €860,000, the Riot Cinema team was able to release its movie. Even if the final budget wasn’t so high, “The Cosmonaut” is a great film full of visual effects. The team declares and believes that “in cinema, to crash a car you don’t need a car, nor a crash, or a million dollars”. This quote explains how it was possible to make a brilliant movie with a low budget. They just needed a green screen, computers, a lot of patience and creativity.

If you don’t believe me, you can visit the movie website and watch it immediately. This is another reason that makes the movie very interesting: “the Cosmonaut” is available not only in the cinemas, but also on Internet for free.

However, even though the Riot Cinema team has given people the opportunity to watch it for free at home, most of the cinemas have sold out of tickets! This proves that people still like to go to the cinema to enjoy a good movie. The cinema industry is not dead, but it always needs new ideas to give people a reason to go. Cinema is always the best place to create the right atmosphere to enjoy a movie and live different stories through different characters.

The deep voice of Mario Biondi

Mario Biondi at Live Vision Studios

A couple of weeks ago I was looking at my work calendar and I read on the 14th of May these words: “Mario Biondi interview”. I immediately asked my boss if he was the famous Italian (I am also Italian) soul-jazz singer and, when my boss answered “Yes” , I was really surprised and excited!

Maybe a lot of people still don’t know him and I didn’t know a lot about him too. So, I have started searching more information about him and I have realized that he is a great singer who is becoming very famous all over the world because of his amazing voice.

Mario Biondi was born in Catania, Sicily, and his original name is Mario Ranno. He took his stage name from his father, the singer Stefano Biondi. Since he was a teenager, he loved soul-jazz music and he studied English language in order to get closer to the international soul-jazz stage.

After he sang in several small choirs, at the end of 80’s he started performing at the concerts of international artists, like Ray Charles. However, the turning point was with the song “This is what you are”, his most famous song, which was released even in Japan. From this moment his career started growing very quickly and in 2006 Schema Records published Mario’s first album: “Handful of Soul”, which won four platinum records just in a few months.

In 2009 he released the second album “If” and for this album he collaborated with the strings of the London Telefilmonic Orchestra and other affirmed international musicians.

After several tours and important collaborations, this year the new album “Sun” (produced by Biondi and Bluey, leader of the British jazz band Incognito, and distributed by Sony Music) was released and on the 10th of May, Biondi gave a concert at the Royal Albert Hall for the world premiere of it.

Mario Biondi’s main quality, that makes him a natural talent, is his voice. When you hear his voice, you can recognise it. It is warm, deep and strong. Through his voice you can feel the warmth of his country, Italy, mixed with the traditional and international soul-jazz sound.

During the interview I have also realized that he is also a humble and easy going person. He told us a funny anecdote about him. When he was younger, he wanted to be a dentist. During his traineeship he used to sing all the time and at the end, tired of his constant singing, his colleagues suggested, or maybe pushed him, to start his career as a singer. And from that moment he has dedicated his life to music.

Moreover, even if Biondi sings in English and he is always around the world, he has never forgotten his country of origin, that he loves. He declared that his main aim is to bring the soul-jazz music into the Italian people’s soul, but also bring the Italian culture into the world.

It was a pleasure to meet an artist like Mario Biondi, who wants to spread not only his amazing voice, but also his culture and his strong passion for the soul-jazz music.

He is developing a lot of new projects and collaborations with international and Italian artists and I can’t wait to listen appreciate to his next works. I wish him good luck for his career and I hope people from all over the world will his great talent.