Alessandro reached out to me to speak about the short film he is doing and how much he wants to use his skills to have a positive impact. So of course I was happy to interview him and get to know more about the project and himself.
Who is Alessandro Riconda, the man behind Just Kids?
An idealist who moved to London in 2016 to get into the film industry and make films with an international impact. I learnt the craft by working on other people's projects: as an example, I assisted Oscar-winning directors such as Sebastian Lelio (A fantastic woman) and Peter Cattaneo (The full monty). Today I'm part of the team of freelance script readers selecting film projects for Netflix and I'm working as a script coordinator on high-end TV drama productions such as "Master of None", "The Peripheral" and other exciting unreleased projects from Disney and Amazon that I'm not allowed to mention... My first short film "Shame and glasses" - the story of a child who was ashamed of wearing glasses - was acquired by HBO Europe and MoMa New York, won over 50 awards around the world and screened at major festivals such as the Toronto Intl Film Festival (TIFF Kids) and the Chicago Children's International Film Festival. My goal is to make films that can have an impact on the real world apart from being entertaining (which is a must!).
Why did you decide to do it? What is the story behind it?
It was the sum of a number of inputs. I was already researching the impact of stereotypes in motorsport because of a documentary I was developing, then I stumbled upon the campaign "Let the toys be toys" and from that moment I could not see the world with the same eyes. I had never questioned why certain toys are targeted at boys or girls but - once they pointed out how harmful this is - I could not believe I did not notice it before. And that's when I thought: "I want to make a film about gender stereotypes with the goal of opening more people's eyes just as they opened mine".
What is the biggest impact that you want to create?
I'd like to get as many people as possible to think about how gender should not influence the role we play in society, family and life in general. There are too many things that are currently tagged as "for boys" or "for girls" but, apart from shoe size and similar things, there is very little that is actually suitable for a single gender (and even shoe size is for smaller or bigger feet if you think about it well!). Cultural change is gradual so the impact I want is for people to understand why this is an issue in the first place, so that afterwards we can act more effectively to resolve it. And if even children understand this concept then we are moving towards a brighter future!
How Can we help?
You can help make the film happen by visiting https://alericonda.com/en/justkids/
There you can see more details about the film and how you can support it by participating in the production or making a donation.
And this is the feminist questionnaire identical for everyone
What is Feminism for you?
It's people requesting gender equality: a basic human right that is still overlooked.
Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?
Single-sex schools. Maybe not the kind of 'everyday' you thought about when asking the question, but I consider it 'everyday' because many people don't question it. Schools for boys or girls only are harmful in many different ways. In my opinion, the main one is telling children they are different. And although our bodies may be different, this should not impact the way we learn or play games. Children attending single-sex schools are also not developing important social skills for the simple reason that they are not interacting with the other sex in their early years...
Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?
No, but I started thinking about these themes after discovering the story of motorbike rider Maria Herrera and the campaign "Let the toys be toys", and I guess I became a feminist the moment I decided to make the short film "Just Kids". But I wouldn't necessarily think of it as a matter of identity, as in I'm not sure if this defines me. Gender equality is a human right so for me personally it's more of an effort I make to live in a better world.
Who is your biggest feminist role model?
To be honest I have never thought about it, maybe because I'm a man. But I think it would be important to have more people like Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern. It would be important to have more women in a position of leadership to overcome the stereotype associating leadership with masculinity.
What is your proud feminist victory?
I'm afraid I can't list any victory under my belt yet, but if I manage to make "Just Kids" and get it seen by thousands of parents, teachers, and children that will definitely be my proudest one. Perhaps a little victory has been managing to explain to my parents why the film is important - they definitely didn't understand it when I started developing the project.
What is your feminist recommendation?
- Book: The mental load by Emma
- Tv show: Handmaid's Tale
- Film: I'd say "Thelma and Louise", also because it was released in 1991.
What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?
Please genuinely try to think of something sexist you do on a daily basis and try to stop doing it. We all do, men and women. It is ingrained in the way we grew up and it will take time to get rid of it. And please consider making a small donation to "Just Kids" !
You can also follow it on social media @justkids_film