Dante Ferretti is the only Italian set designer and art director to have won three Academy Awards, not to mention six nominations (including one as art director for Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet), a long series of Italian Nastro d’argento awards, Bafta Awards and David di Donatello Awards, Dante Ferretti (born in Macerata, Italy, in 1943). He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and soon came to work under the legendary production designer Luigi Scaccianoce, art director for Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew.
Ferretti’s successful partnership with Federico Fellini began with Orchestra Rehearsal (1979) and continued through to the master’s last film, The Voice of the Moon, with the renowned director’s oneiric imagery interpreted to perfection by Ferretti. Ferretti rose to world fame in Hollywood on the back of his extraordinary capacity to create moving scenes rich in imaginative imagery.
Having worked with Italy’s greatest movie directors (Pasolini, Bellocchio, Cavani, Scola, Zeffirelli, Fellini and others) and brought his talent to European productions such as The Name of the Rose, since the 1990s Ferretti has been the production designer of choice for many of Hollywood’s titans. For instance, he first worked with Martin Scorsese, (whom he met in Rome on the set of City of Women), in 1993 on Age of Innocence, going on to create memorable productions such as Casino, Gangs of New York, and Shutter Island, and has also worked with Tim Burton, Neil Jordan, and Anthony Minghella.
The versatility of Ferretti’s talent can also be seen in the amazing set designs he has produced for leading opera houses around the world, including the Sferisterio in his hometown of Macerata, but also La Scala, the Royal Theatre, the Paris Opera and the Metropolitan Opera House.
Awards and Honours
First Academy Award nomination for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (directed by Terry Gilliam).
Academy Award for Best Art Direction for The Aviator (directed by Martin Scorsese).
President of the international jury for the 62nd Venice Film Festival.
Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (directed by Tim Burton).
Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Hugo(directed by Martin Scorsese).
Awarded the title Grande Ufficiale al merito della Repubblica Italiana.