Antonio Vigna is breathing a sigh of relief. Like so many in the film industry, this producer has been waiting far longer than normal for the release of his latest production, director Jorge Ospina’s In the Middle of God II. This fantasy film about the afterlife has been showered with praise in the form of nominations and awards. Among these are: Best Fantasy at the Rome International Movie Awards and Florence Film Awards, as well as Best Narrative Film at this year’s New York Film Awards. The preparation for In the Middle of God II began four years ago but the industry (to say nothing of world) shutdown forced by the pandemic delayed manifestation of it until this year. Filmed in both Colombia and the United States in the wake of a historic era, In the Middle of God II provides much desired escapism while contemplating the struggles between humanity’s decision to embrace the darkness or light. Keeping the team on track, on budget, and empowered to create, Antonio Vigna is happier than anyone involved in the film team to see its appreciation and embrace by the public and professional film community. He confesses, “I’d done a number of commercials during the pandemic but it was this film that brought me back to set. Coming back to making films again made me feel like the early days when it was about making something simply to fulfill our need to create stories rather than to make money. I loved the script and once we started it was full steam ahead without overthinking.”
Though he concedes that with this film, as with most, the majority of his work lies in the preparation and “setting the table” for the director, cinematographer, actors, and overall crew to perform at their highest level, there are moments when he is quite active on set. A prime example is a scene filmed in NYC for In the Middle of God II. Keeping the crew small and mobile due to covid compliance regulations, Antonio was with the crew on the streets of New York for the story’s frightening kidnapping scene. Keeping pedestrians aware that this was not an actual kidnapping while simultaneously enlisting a random taxi driver to agree to use his car for this scene, Vigna was a pragmatic wrangler while at the same time managing the crew’s timeliness. Not every producer is quite so engaged in a physical way during a shoot but this is an aspect which Antonio (also an actor) finds immensely appealing. He remarks, “Leading up to this day of shooting, we were all expecting getting this scene to be really challenging and full of obstacles. You have to recall that being out in public again was pretty new for most people and stress levels were still pretty high. Testing myself to control the environment and get what we needed…well, it was exciting to me. You really feel that you are a part of something thrilling during these moments.”
The plot of In the Middle of God II is about discovering what you’re made of. When the main character Arthur is kidnapped and killed, he travels to the afterlife where he will have to decide to be on the side of evil or good. Evil offers immense power and temptation while good brings less obvious benefits. During his journey, Arthur proves himself to be a shrewd participant who just might rewrite the rules of the game. The setting for the story demanded dazzling VFX work. The aforementioned VFX award from the Madrid International Movie Awards testifies to the exceptional results of this work. Even so, Antonio notes that the story is the engaging core of this production. He declares, “Jorge [Ospina] is a masterful storyteller. I’ve worked him on many previous projects and he has this way of bringing you into his vision and raising your excitement to the surface.” As the producer who made sure the ideal cast and crew were assembled for In the Middle of God II, Antonio Vigna cultivated the practical greatness that made it possible for this film to attain the realization of Mr. Ospina’s vision.
Writer: Mike Winston