"Someone with a vivid and
savage imagination that Bram Stoker would envy"
The Daily Star
Hailed as one of the
ten most promising directors in the world by prestigious French
L'Ecran Fantastique, Baino started making films when he was just
eight years old.
"I begged my father for his old Super 8mm
camera and started making films with my brother,Elio, who at the
time was six. Our first epic was "Tarzan", my brother played Tarzan
clad in a pair of ripped pants which we'd painstakingly painted in a
leopard skin pattern."
Many more mini-epics followed throughout his childhood and
early teenage years.
planned a huge epic one year. It was called The Dragon and The Wolf,
it was a weird mix of Western and Kung Fu, the story of a wronged
Chinese guy traveling to the Old West to exact his revenge on the
cowboys who'd killed his father ." Unfortunately he was the only 12 year old in his group who took
making movies seriously, "After a few days all the actors (they
ranged in age from 9 to 12) had abandoned me. They chose going to
the beach over making films! I was crushed!"
Fresh out of school,
Mariano wrote and directed DREAM CAR. Shot in two days and
post-produced in less than a week, the short film tells of the dire
consequences of a man's literally consuming obsession for the
ultimate four wheels status symbol. Mariano now considers it little
more than an early exercise, something he had to do just to prove to
himself that he could. The film has rarely been seen, and its
inclusion on the NoShame double disc release of Dark Waters marks
its official unveiling!
click photo to enlarge>>
Mariano's next film was
'CARUNCULA', a highly acclaimed, short cannibalistic fantasy which
first showcased the arresting visual style which has since become
the young director's trademark. The film received rave reviews on
the festival circuit. Respected novelist Ramsey Campbell pronounced
it 'Not only a fine tribute to the Italian masters but a small
masterpiece of sustained perversity in its own right.'
<<Caruncula image gallery
Accepting an offer from
nouveau riche Russian producer Victor Zuev for initial
financing, Mariano headed for the trouble torn Ukraine to begin
shooting on his debut feature, DARK WATERS.
Dark Waters image gallery>>
Baino and his crew were faced with conditions and attitudes which
seemed to belong to a truly different planet. From the language
barrier to shooting near Chernobyl (A corrupt production manager
sold their allotted studio space in Odessa to a rival production for
profit, leaving Baino and his crew with no alternative but to move
to another studio and brave the nuclear danger), everything seemed
to conspire against the film ever getting finished.
Rushes were watched only once
a week, sets literally dissolved due to rainfall, his film stock was
sold from under him on the black market and cast and crew were
nearly asphyxiated when a scene involving hundreds of candles went
Mariano persevered and shooting
was eventually completed. The film went on to win, among other
prizes, the Prix du Public at Montreal's FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL and,
at the FANTAFESTIVAL in Rome, DARK WATERS was awarded the
prestigious 'Special Vincent Price Award' for outstanding
contribution to Fantastic Cinema. Audiences in the UK and all over
the world had a chance to see exactly how outstanding that
contribution was, when the film was released to
great critical acclaim.>>
Baino's style marks a return to
the thematic concerns of the grand masters of horror cinema and
pointedly eschews the viscera and shock for shock's sake of the
slasher genre which has dominated the medium for the past two
decades. DARK WATERS, very much a mood piece, relies on the implicit
as opposed to the obviously explicit and is all the more terrifying
"Growing up in Naples, I used to be
terrified by the Catholic iconography, by the array of very morbid
and disturbing images which seem to fill so many churches in
Mediterranean Countries. All those statues of people suffering,
their agonized eyes staring down at me, Christ nailed to the cross,
his mother's bleeding, pierced heart. Deeply distressing stuff."
Baino says when asked to explain the strong role of religious
imagery in his work.
Mariano is next slated to write and direct CAPTIVE
for producers Loris Curci and Andrea Marotti, and is also developing
SUBTERRANEUS, about a group of vulcanologists who encounter ancient
evil in Pompeii's labyrinthine catacombs. SUBTERRANEUS was
co-written by veteran scribe Matthew Weisman, whose past credits
include TEEN WOLF and Schwarzenegger's COMMANDO.
"I had a great time writing the script with Matthew
and look forward to working on future projects with him", Baino
says. "I was honoured to be working with someone who's had such a
long and distinguished career in Hollywood. The fact that he turned
out to be a delightful man who's become one of my best friends was
just the cherry on the cake!"
Mariano's long cherished project, RITUAL, based
on the bestselling novel by Graham Masterton, is making its way
towards production under the aegis of producer Michele De Angelis.
Mariano recently completed a new short film,
AFTER, a dark, twisted fairy tale about a woman's
dissatisfaction with her body and the miracle operation which
promises to help her get rid of her worries forever. .
Mariano has also directed and edited music
videos, including two for singer/songwriter Cecily Fay.
Apart from writing his own material, Mariano has been working as a
screenwriter for hire for many years. Early in 2002 he wrote his
first drama, FLOWER OF SHAME, for German Producer Vesna Jovanoska,
who also hired him to adapt Chris Niles' urban thriller, HELL'S
KITCHEN for the screen. He's also worked on an adaptation of
Jean-Patrick Manchette's classic noir 3 TO KILL, and is currently
working on a re-write of THY KINGDOM COME for Producer/Director