Monolith is a visually stunning documentary that tells a deeply moving story

For filmmaker Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr, stories about people overcoming powerful challenges and seeking fulfilment lie at the heart of the human experience.

These two themes worked their way into New York City based artist Gwyneth Leech’s life when she found out that a skyscraper would obstruct her source of creative inspiration. Monolith is a visually astounding film that tells her a story on many levels.

We caught up with Angelo and talked about his process for making it.

This is a beautifully made documentary. How did it all come about?

“Thank you! My next door neighbour in my Manhattan apartment happens to be the artist. She came over for coffee and when she was describing the building, the loss of her view and the way she was trying to navigate this maze of obstacles, I really started to see a film about it.”

Why did you create this documentary and why use Vimeo as a distribution platform?

“We considered many platforms and had a feeling that a digital distribution method like Vimeo was especially valuable for a film like this since it was created for artists in all disciplines. This was exactly the audience we wanted to see the film!”

What were the main challenges in directing and producing this film and how long did it all take from beginning to end?

“The main challenge was how to tell the story completely and continuously from the POV of Gwyneth Leech. How does she see the world? What informs her art? How does she handle procrastination, disappointment, the ever-changing light and landscape and finally, loss and the circle of life.

“The edit was a monster. It took a relentless effort to make the storyline and the graphic language of the film appear simple. Our wonderfully talented editor, Rosie Walunas, and I worked very hard to strike just the right dramatic and visual personal tone.”

You also created an outstanding documentary about Tania Head. Seems like quirky human nature stories are your sweet spot?

“Thank you! I am drawn to survivor stories where Overcoming obstacles and filling voids are the primary objectives of my subjects.”

Any clues for us on what lies ahead for you?

“I’m really interested in virtual reality. I’m developing a project right now. I’ve also written two screenplays which I really want to direct.”