Dante Ferretti

Active - 1964 - 2016  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

It's not often that production designers receive credit for their essential roles in films -- crafting a convincingly detailed visual landscape that effectively transports viewers into another time or place -- but then, most haven't had Dante Ferretti's remarkable eye for detail. A native of Macerata, Italy, Ferretti has worked for everyone from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Federico Fellini to Martin Scorsese, and first expressed interest in a filmmaking career while still a child. Following early work as a set designer for the 1968 film Kiss the Other Sheik, he moved to art direction and production design with Pasolini's 1970 drama Medea. The fruitful collaboration between the two continued to develop as Ferretti did design work for such Pasolini classics as The Decameron (1970), The Canterbury Tales (1971), The Arabian Nights (1974), and the harrowing Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975). His reputation grew quickly, and Ferretti subsequently formed a lucrative partnership with Italian cinema legend Federico Fellini, which resulted in such opulent efforts as Orchestra Rehearsal (1979), City of Women (1980), And the Ship Sails On (1983), Ginger and Fred (1986), and The Voice of the Moon (1989). Aside from finding the production designer in increasing demand throughout Europe, Ferretti's work with Fellini also served to introduce him to the man who would bring his talents to America, director Martin Scorsese. A longtime fan of Fellini, Scorsese met Ferretti while visiting the set of City of Women. Although Ferretti continued to work in Europe for years, his participation on such widely seen productions as The Name of the Rose (1986) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989) helped expose his extravagant vision to audiences worldwide. After teaming with Franco Zeffirelli for the director's 1990 production of Hamlet, Ferretti and Scorsese finally collaborated on their first effort together, 1993's The Age of Innocence. In the years since, Ferretti not only worked with Scorsese on such productions as Casino (1995), Kundun (1997), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), and Gangs of New York (2002), but he was also involved with such high-profile releases as Interview With the Vampire (1994) and the dynamically visual Titus (1999). Although the six-time Oscar nominee never won the award himself, his work nevertheless speaks for itself. In addition to his frequent collaborations with Scorsese, Ferretti also often shared screen credit with set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo. Following work on Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain in 2003, Ferretti again teamed up with Scorsese for the director's 2004 Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.

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