Magnificent Presence director Ferzan Özpetek on Opening Night of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema. Photo by Julie Cunnah.

With more than nine films under his belt, Italian-Turkish writer-director Ferzan Özpetek also knows what it means to be on stage, having worked with Julian Beck’s experimental Living Theatre before tackling cinema. In 1999, Özpetek wrote and directed Harem Suare in Turkey, going on to present it at Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. In the 10 years since that second feature he hasn’t stopped working, releasing almost a film a year. 

After multiple rounds of applause following the Open Roads: New Italian Cinema Opening Night screening of his latest film, Magnificent Presence, Özpetek took the stage in the Walter Reade Theater to answer a few questions. Where did his story about a fearless man living in a haunted house come from? Why does a grown man collect trading cards? What is the significance of the transexual characters?

Get all the answers in our full video of the dynamic Q&A below: