Behind the Scenes with Dominic Giannetti: Crafting Spirituality and Identity in ‘American Prom’ Image

Behind the Scenes with Dominic Giannetti: Crafting Spirituality and Identity in ‘American Prom’

By Film Threat Staff | February 28, 2024

Dominic Giannetti is the writer/director of the feature film American Prom, a refreshing twist to the coming-of-age genre now available on Amazon Prime and VUDU. American Prom is not just another high school story; it’s a profound exploration of spirituality and personal growth amidst the trials of adolescence.

As we navigate the journey of Trinity, a newcomer entangled in the web of high school’s elite, the film delves deep into the complexities of popularity, peer pressure, and the pivotal choices that shape our lives. With prom night looming, Trinity’s story becomes a powerful metaphor for the crossroads faced by many, highlighting the importance of staying true to oneself in a world that often values conformity over authenticity.

Dominic Giannetti shares insights from the making of American Prom, offering inspiration and wisdom for the next generation of independent filmmakers and screenwriters. Discover the challenges and victories of bringing a spiritually nuanced narrative to life and how, in the realm of independent cinema, creativity knows no bounds.

What is the basic story of American Prom, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Dominic Giannetti: American Prom looks at faith, race, and privilege through the lens of a modern-day inter-racial love triangle and coming-of-age story. When Trinity, a freshman, meets and falls for Michael, a high school senior, she finds herself mixed up with the older “in-crowd.” As prom approaches and temptation grows, Trinity must decide her path.

“…looks at faith, race, and privilege through the lens of a modern-day inter-racial love triangle and coming-of-age story.”

I was inspired to make American Prom shortly after the country went on lockdown during the pandemic. I was working with a lot of teenage students through my acting school at the time and quickly realized that many would never get to experience prom. I wanted to give them an opportunity to create something special… American Prom was born! I wrote the script with several of my student actors in mind and with themes infused and ignited by current events.

There were very unique circumstances surrounding the making of this film due to the pandemic. Cast and crew underwent COVID testing prior to shooting and then entered a production bubble for the entire duration of filming. This kept everyone safe on and off set. However, with my wife being a stage 4 breast cancer patient, I couldn’t risk our health and made the decision to direct the entire film remotely – never setting foot on set. As you can imagine, that makes things all the more challenging… but also worthwhile… and an interesting backstory, to say the least!

What is your background in filmmaking? What inspired you to get into making movies?
I’ve been in the film industry for over 30 years, working with nearly every major studio at some point in my career, as well as dozens of A-List actors and directors. After getting married and having kids I wanted to travel less and spend more time with family, so I decided to take a hiatus from the biz. As my two daughters started to get a little older and showed interest in acting and performing, I realized there weren’t many local options, outlets, or opportunities for them to be involved in TV/film – so I created them. Writing, producing, and directing independent films locally in South Florida became a satisfying solution to balancing family and work.

I knew that I wanted to work in film and make movies when I was just five years old after my mother took me to see the very first Star Wars. It was my first experience in a movie theatre, and I fell in love. I pursued a life of creating ever since then and never looked back.

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