Marco Pigossi in "High Tide" Source: SWSW

EDGE Interview: Marco Calvani Premieres Ptown-Set Queer Romantic Drama 'High Tide' at SXSW

Matthew Creith READ TIME: 8 MIN.

Writer and director Marco Calvani is unveiling his new feature film today, March 8, at SXSW. "High Tide" stars his real-life husband, actor Marco Pigossi, as Lourenço, an undocumented Brazilian immigrant recently dumped by his boyfriend while living in Provincetown. In between working at a local hotel, frequenting the marshes of the queer mecca, and attempting to obtain a work visa to stay in the United States, Lourenço meets Maurice. Maurice might only be in Provincetown for a week with friends, but the two quickly bond over their shared feelings of loneliness.

The relationship between the two men evolves from friendly encounters to something more profound. In a story that deals heavily with themes of connection and reconciliation, "High Tide" gives new meaning to leaving the past behind and focusing on what might be a scary, uncertain future.

Calvani and Pigossi were able to get some marquee actors to appear in the film, including Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, performance artist Bill Irwin, and Bryan Batt ("Mad Men").

EDGE caught up with Calvani and Pigossi along with star James Bland to discuss "High Tide," what it means to film in a sacred gay place like Provincetown, what they all hope audiences take away from from the film and much more.

Below are some excerpts from the interview.

How the writer/director came up with the idea for 'Hide Tide':

Marco C.: I have to say, it's not autobiographical, although it has a lot of elements that are also very autobiographical. So somehow it takes place very close to my knowledge, to my geographical space, to things I know.

I'm an immigrant. I lived in Provincetown for some time. That's why I started to write the film. I mean, even in America, I'm a gay man, but I think the most important thing for me looking backwards is I think I really needed to write a clear story of being gay with my life and I've never really written where the gay characters were at the center of the story. Somehow that turned out to be a kind of a lost story, a tale about connection and intimacy. Also belonging to someone else, or to yourself, not just to a country.

So I think I really needed to tell the story to somehow make peace with a lot of things that were going on in my head and in my heart and in this country, as well as a gay man and as an immigrant.

AMarco Pigossi and Marco Calvani attend the 2023 Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival opening night gala premiere of 'Pictures of Ghosts' at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on November 06, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/

Mixing the professional and personal

Marco P.:

When we met four years ago, Marco [Calvani] was still writing that story. We were dating, we fell in love, we moved in together. He never allowed me to read anything he was writing and then one day he gave it to me and said, "Hey, I want you to read it first." So I read the first page and there was something about us, something very intimate that we live or experienced together. He was like, "Yeah, I want you to do it."

This became our baby, our project, together. We started from scratch in that sense to put this film up and I was the luckiest actor in the world. I think because I was able to be with this for two years, working with the writer and the director, talking about the character and experiencing the character. You're working on lines and feelings and emotions. So for two years, I had Lourenço inside me, so strong and so powerful that when when we went to set, he was there, I knew him inside out and this is an experience that very few actors can allow because we don't have time for that. I was very, very lucky in that sense. And also we were tense.

We've never worked together before. We didn't know how it was going to be directing, acting, producing together. I think it went really well. He knows how to talk to actors, he's careful. You know, I've worked with other directors with the light and the backdrop...but Marco was 100% focused on the performances. It went so well that on the last day of shooting, Marco proposed!

Marco Pigossi has starred on "Gen V" recently and James Bland has worked in television for many years on series like "Giants." They discussed the difference between working in both TV and film:

James B.: I guess the difference between television and film is that with TV, you have a character that is going to stretch multiple episodes and so you have a longer runway versus film, where you have a finite amount of time to tell the arc of this character.

I think there's a different level of attention to detail that you may have to pay in terms of just ensuring that you're on this journey with this character. Then you don't always have the opportunity to shoot it in sequence. So just kind of keeping track in terms of where you're at emotionally with the character, because you do have that finite amount of time with the art and just the emotional journey versus on television, you're taking it episode by episode so you just focus on that episode. You're thinking about the entire picture, their entire journey. But I also like to just look at characters in a very real way where I know that this film is going to end. I like to believe that these characters continue to live on and move through the world and see the world.

Marco P.: When you're making a film, you have more time to work on the character. You have your director, they're close. Television is more of a big industry, where time is money in that sense. It's also worked for films, but I think you can dive deeper into characters when you're doing films, and that's why I'm so passionate about filmmaking.

by Matthew Creith

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