Actress Giulia Giovanetti shot by Stephanie Girard
For many actors, landing their first starring role in a film can be the revelatory moment that signals that they’ve made it-- but in the highly competitive world of entertainment that takes a while for most to achieve. But it’s certainly not the case for all, and for foreign actress Giulia Giovanetti, it seems to have happened almost over night. In fact, in short amount of time Giovanetti has shot more than 20 films, most of those being award-winners, and even more impressive, she’s been the lead in many of them.
From playing the dramatic lead role of Lima, an innocent woman taken hostage after being caught in the crossfires of a man out to avenge his wife’s murder, in the 2016 film “Vengeance Oil,” to her starring performance as Lily, a teenage psychopath who’s outwardly angelic appearance helps her gain power over those around her, in the multi-award winning film “Next Door,” Giovanetti’s dynamic range and grace on screen have made her an actress to watch 2018.
“Every single aspect of acting drives me to perform. The time spent in researching and creating the character in order to give it life, expressing the character’s true feelings and emotions, the connection between me and my scene partner, the level of concentration and the immense satisfaction that you get when you do a great job,” says Giovanetti.
With seemingly inexhaustible dedication to her craft, the devotion Giovanetti gives to creating her characters and discovering their layers is evident her performances, but last year’s dramatic sci-fi influenced film “My Sister” directed by Roberto H. Roquer is one of the best examples.
Giovanetti is simply riveting on screen in the starring role of Carolina, a young prostitute who uses her sister’s autistic ability to read minds in order to blackmail her clients. Using her sexual power to lure unassuming “Johns” back to the small apartment she shares with her younger sister Jenny played by Melissa Abugattas (“Mine,” “The Right Moment”), Carolina’s ruthless side comes out almost immediately, and the actress nails it.
It’s obvious when Carolina brings Tom, played by Alec Gaylord (“Duck World,” “A Shot of Nectar”), back to the apartment that this is not a new hustle, and Jenny, though she doesn’t speak, knows exactly what to do. While Carolina ‘freshens up’ in another room Jenny enters the bedroom and proceeds to touch Tom’s knee-- but that’s not the weird part. Overpowering light quickly shoots out of Tom’s eyes like laser beams as he falls back on the bed. Eventually coming to without any idea of what’s happened, Carolina proceeds to read Tom his social security number, home address and all the personal information she needs to blackmail him into cutting her check that’s far greater than what she’d have gotten for her services as a prostitute.
Thanks to the villainous qualities Giovanetti endows her with, Carolina quickly becomes a character audiences are hard pressed not to dislike, at least at the start of the film. But as the story unfolds, and the actress slowly exposes more and more about her character’s drive to survive and her constant fight to keep her disabled sister safe from harm, we actually begin to sympathize with her struggle.
“I loved playing Carolina... she acts tough and wants to give off the idea that she is strong and independent, but on the inside she is broken and fragile. It was very important for me while portraying her to show this duality, her apparently strong surface and her vulnerability inside,” explains Giovanetti.
It takes a very unique performer to believably portray the ugliest side of a character and turn the audience against them, only to bring them back to a place where viewers can root for them, but Giovanetti does exactly that with Carolina. It also helps that Tom, the John she tries to take advantage of in the beginning, turns out to be such an unscrupulous individual.
While Carolina is out working the corner one afternoon Tom returns to the apartment, where he pushes his way in by bribing Jenny with a small toy and waits for her sister. The film’s intensity heightens immensely from this point on with Tom taking the two sisters hostage and threatening to expose Jenny’s gift to the authorities if Carolina doesn’t follow everything he says. We soon learn that, after escaping with her sister from their childhood home where their father viewed Jenny as a demon and kept her locked in a basement, Carolina has been trying to protect her sister all along and that’s how she ended up in her current situation.
Still of actress Giulia Giovanetti as Carolina embracing her sister in "My Sister"
With a flawless on screen performance that offers viewers keen insight into just how strong and dynamic Giovanetti’s craft is, it’s not at all surprising that she was chosen for the starring role-- and it undoubtedly helped lead to the film’s success on the festival circuit, which includes taking home the coveted Gold Award at the 2017 LA Shorts Awards, and nominations for the Festival and Jury Awards at the Genre Celebration Festival, a DSOFF Award, and the Festival Award at the Bloodstained Indie Film Festival.
Aside from doing justice to Carolina’s complex personality, emotions and fluctuating circumstances, Giovanetti, who’s Italian, manages to bring to life her character’s Latina roots with incredible ease and delivers the Spanish portion of her dialogue as though it was her mother tongue.
Director Roberto H. Roquer says, “For ‘My Sister’ it was a very demanding role since she had to cry, do stunts and, as her character was an immigrant I was in need of an actress capable of pulling off a different accent and speaking in different languages, and Giulia is great at doing that, even if she doesn't speak a lot of Spanish, she was able to pull off the accent and deliver her lines in perfect Spanish. I don't know any other actress I could have use for that role since it was so complex.”
This was not Giovanetti’s first time working with director Roberto H. Roquer, and it’s doubtful that it will be the last. Earlier in 2017 she starred as the title character in Roquer’s award-winning film “Mistress Jane” where she played another character involved as a sex worker, and while their stories and personalities couldn’t be further apart from one another, they share unique similarities.
Giovanetti explains, “So far I’ve played two prostitutes, but in some ways both of them were unconventional. There is something kind and pure in both of them that inevitably transpires... Prostitution is something that society frowns upon and tends to judge, however when you see both Carolina and Jane you don’t judge them for what they have chosen to do... in a way you understand them and you feel sorry and sad for them, to the point that the viewers justify their choice.”
Since bursting onto the film scene almost two years ago Giulia Giovanetti has amassed the kind of repertoire that takes most actors a decades to achieve; and, her aptitude for inhabiting challenging characters, not to mention her aesthetic appeal, are two things that are assured to keep her working non-stop.