Midnight Signs

In a small room overlooking the Bay of Naples, a young designer, suspended in time and in the night, faces the eternal struggle of the artist who tries to tame its instruments in order to use them as an extension of himself to express their imagination.
In light of a magical moon, the conflict turns into a real battle, physical and symbolic.
Dream and reality mix with the black ink and the power of color, up to the realization that sign as a sign we approach more and more to become masters of our imagination.
In a dreamlike vision of enchanted moment in which today becomes tomorrow.

  • Marino Guarnieri
  • Marino Guarnieri
  • Luciano Stella
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Mezzanotte di Segni
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Fantasy
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 29, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Imaginaria Film Festival
    Conversano (BA)
    August 29, 2015
    Italian Premiere
  • Cortolovere
    September 24, 2015
  • Napoli Film Festival
    October 3, 2015
  • 41° Parallelo: SchermoNapoli Shorts
    New York City
    United States
    November 30, 2015
    United States Premiere
  • Neum Animation Film Festival
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    June 25, 2016
    Bosnia and Herzegovina Premiere
  • La Città Incantata
    Civita di Bagnoregio
    July 8, 2016
  • San Diego Italian Film Festival
    San Diego
    United States
    September 28, 2016
  • Via dei Corti
    Gravina di Catania
    December 1, 2016
  • ATF Animated Film Festival
    Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Action/Adventure Film Festival
    February 23, 2017
    Canada Premiere
Distribution Information
  • MAD Entertainment
Director Biography - Marino Guarnieri

Director, animator, illustrator. Assistant director, head of 2D and editor of the animated feature film "The Art of Happiness" (L’arte della Felicità), produced by Mad Entertainment and winner of the European Film Awards in 2014 for Best European animated film.
After working as a graphic designer, through all forms of expression and communication in the last 20 years, in the end he discovers his true love: the animation.
He conceives, designs and participates in the creation of commercials and music videos, television themes
and educational products, documentaries, specials and
feature films. Among his works: "Donna Maria", Videoclip of the Neapolitan folk music group FOJA; "Gli occhi più azzurri", a documentary by Simona Cappiello and Manolo Turri Dell'Orto; "Giga & Stick", Educational made for The National Institute for Astrophysics. "Bada che ti mangio!" realization of the code of the program by Antonio Lubrano.
He is also Professor of Digital Entertainment at the Italian School of Comix, for which he directed the commercial "Chi sogna disegna" and the short film "Midnight Signs".
He directed his first animation feature film "Gatta Cenerentola", alongside Ivan Cappiello, Alessandro Rak and Dario Sansone. The movie is produced by Mad Entertainment in collaboration with Rai Cinema and distributed by Videa, has been selected to compete in the Orizzonti category at 74th edition of the Venice International Film Festival.
From 2019 is president for ASIFA Italia (International Association for Animated Films).

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Director Statement

Every artist will appreciate how difficult it is to master the tools of self expression in order to convey what goes through his or her head; a blurry image which only begins to sharpen once it is set on paper, and consequently shared.
This is the story of how we must sometimes struggle against the very tools that are supposed to let us express ourselves, battling against them until they finally bend to our will and come to our aid, rather than acting as an obstacle.

The initial concept for the film was inspired by the very nature of the task at hand, since the short was put together by the Digital Animation students of the Italian School of Comix, Naples.
Similarly to the story's hero, they too have had to learn how to "tame" pencils, paper and peg bars, not to mention graphic pads and computer programs, in order to complete their formation and launch their career with this first experience of professional group work.

I like to define it an "educational short" in that it was the animators' first real experience of creating a movie. Likewise, the background was created by professional animators who were curious to experiment with the digital painting of the scenes, thus providing a new learning experience for them too.

Having accumulated a wealth of experience working on projects such as "L'Arte della Felicitá", I took a number of targeted decisions whilst working on this new product; the choice to use a mix of 2D and 3D, the choice to vary between different digital animation techniques, using six different softwares throughout the various working phases. These experiments in technique subsequently evolved into a new method of post production on the movie "Cinderella the Cat".

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, which has kept me entertained during each step of its production. It is also currently being considered in a number of national and international festivals.