‘Italian Studies’ Interview: Adam Leon On His New Film And Journeying Through Manhattan With Vanessa Kirby

It didn’t take long for Adam Leon to establish himself as one of the top filmmakers at capturing different aspects of New York City. His two previous films, Gimme the Loot and Tramps, followed young people as they explored the city, discovering new things while also discovering themselves. Leon’s latest, Italian Studies, is the same in many ways, but with a big star in Vanessa Kirby and an ambiguous storyline to match an experimental filmmaking style, it would prove to be very different.

Shot in pre-pandemic Manhattan across 2018 and 2019, Italian Studies stars Kirby as an amnesiac author wandering the city trying to figure out who she is. She is drawn to a group of energetic, creatively talented teens, including the charismatic Simon (Simon Brickner) who may be the only chance to rediscover her identity.

Unlike Leon’s plot-driven predecessors, Italian Studies is looser, disorienting, and mysterious; all by the director’s design.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Leon about his new film, what it was like working with Vanessa Kirby in such a guerrilla fashion on the streets of New York, and more. Italian Studies opens in theaters on January 14th. Check out my review here and the interview below.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.