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An Interview with Christopher Di Nunzio, Director of Clean Up Duty

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2023

Films directed by Christopher Di Nunzio on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Clean Up Duty - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Itís about an old mobster who is in the witness protection program. He is going through his daily routines when an old friend comes back to settle a score and letís just say in the middle of this process they get caught up in some small details.

 

How did the project fall together in the first place?

 

Me and Fiore Leo [Fiore Leo interview - click here] were talking about doing another project together and I really wanted to try a comedy, so I reached out to Skip Shea [Skip Shea interview - click here] about a script.

 

Do talk about Clean Up Duty's writer Skip Shea, and what was your collaboration like?

 

Skipís a good friend and I know he loves to write and tell a good joke. I reached out to him asking if he could write a short comedy with few locations and not too many characters. Since itís my first comedy I wanted to scale things down. I canít remember how much time passed but it felt like a day and boom a script was in my inbox and it was Clean Up Duty. We know each other well. He knows all the films I like so it really wasnít a lot of back-and-forth. I read it and it was hilarious, and I got to work.

 

At least to me, Clean Up Duty came across as wickedly funny - so to what extent could you identify with your movie's brand of humour?

 

Iím a big fan of Larry David. I like situational or "canít let the little things go" type of scenarios. Also being a big fan of crime films, mob films in particular, thereís always great banter thatís clever and just hilarious. I felt like we had a mix of them.

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

We did a read through over Skype. I explained how I wanted things to go. Basically I wanted to shoot it like this was an art film. I wanted everyone to think drama while allowing the writing to shine. The jokes were already written, so no need to put any emphasis on them or try to sell it. Just play it straight. I always like to encourage my actors to bring something to the table. Theyíre creating the characters so I like them to contribute. Itís a team game!

 

Do talk about Clean Up Duty's key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

David Graziano [David Graziano interview - click here] and Fiore Leo [Fiore Leo interview - click here] are both professionals and theyíre always well prepared. I knew I wanted to be behind the camera as well as direct and when you split your focus you need actors that are professional and give it their all. They help make it a smooth process. Itís great when you have people that want to make a project just as much as you do. 

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

I like to make sure things are done timely, and weíre knocking things down and not wasting anyoneís time. It also needs to be fun! We always have fun on set but seeing how this was the first time I had a script that was really funny. It was just more laughs and a lot looser vibe on set. We had a great time. It was really like hanging out with your friends and telling jokes.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Clean Up Duty be seen?

 

We have just started to submit to festivals. After its run we will make it available online for everyone to see. 

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Clean Up Duty?

 

So far it has been really good. People are getting the humor and enjoying it and they seem to really like the pace. We are still gathering some more opinions, but early on itís as good as it gets.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

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Nothing I can talk about at the moment, but I just finished doing some DP work on a feature. I have another two shorts Iím attached to as well. Iím looking forward to getting back to work and creating. Iíve been focusing more on camera work these days. I have been getting a lot of enjoyment out of that.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Best place is www.christopherdinunzio.com.

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

No, but I would like to remind everyone to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. No one wants to have that awkward conversation! Haha.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you for taking the time for me and our film.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
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directed by
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written by
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