THE INTERVIEW/Cinema and Business

The record numbers with which Film Commission Torino Piemonte [FCTP] closed 2016 accompanied the president, Paolo Damilano, towards the conclusion of his first – and possibly renewable – mandate which will come to an end next May upon approval of the Foundation’s final budget.
This, therefore, appears to be a good opportuity to weigh up the situation, to collect his observations about the work that has been done, and take a look at his projects for the future.

The latest results also confirm the success of the president-entrepreneur formula which has now become an identifying trait of Film Commission Torino Piemonte. Do you identify yourself with this “label”?
“The reason for my appointment”, explains Damilano, “was based on the intention of restoring an entrepreneurial slant to the work of our Film Commission.
I come from a sector which is far removed from that of audiovisuals, but it was not difficult to understand how much cinema tout court, documentaries and television series are solidly intertwined and connected to the region’s economy. Cinema, just like tourism and, more in general, culture, are the life blood of the entrepreneurial growth of the region in which they develop.
I have always believed in the union between the seventh art and the industry and, as a result, have attempted to activate the most suitable recruits for combining public and private interests”.

How?
“It has been essential for our Film Commission to be able to count on the support of FIP [Film Investimenti Piemonte, the nancial arm of Film Commission Torino Piemonte] which, thanks to the labors of Paolo Tenna, has created and implemented a solid link between public and private entities. The Tax Credit tool has been put to the best use by identifying local businesses that are willing to approach the world of cinema. The results achieved by FIP through the consultancy activities for companies have exceeded our rosiest expectations.
For the Film Commission, the FIP’s contribution has also meant being able to modulate the support to productions in a different way: in fact, many Production companies have chosen Turin and Piedmont because of the availability of private capital, basically moving beyond the system of economic contributions provided as grants”.

To put it simply: where you don’t give money you try and find it…
“FIP’s activities were decisive for the spin-off achieved in the region, making it possible for our Foundation to considerably increase the number of projects realized in the course of the year: remember that, in 2016, around one third of the features came to us thanks to the Tax Credit.
FIP actually allows us to expand the services we can offer the sector without dipping into the funds which can thus be used in otherways. Moreover,all of this is combined with our clear intention of delocalizing the sets throughout the region:undoubtedly another positive result of 2016, to which we should add that of being able to contribute to the training of young local talents”.

What can you offer productions that are not from Piedmont?
“We can offer the results of a consolidated, ongoing and profitable collaboration with the institutions in the City and the Region, which is translated into an ability to find rapid and appropriate solutions to production requirements: from searching for locations, to negotiating the use of the same, obtaining permits, etc…..
The availability of financial resources is integrated and completed thanks to the professionalism of the local workers who offer a valuable guarantee to Production Companies”.

Another original characteristic of the FCTP, in the sixteen years that it has been around, is that the Foundation’s two share- holders, Città di Torino and Regione Piemonte, have often had administrations of a different political persuasion; however, despite this, their intentions have always been united with regard to the Film Commission. How much does this affect your work and how does it translate into the financial budget?
“The support of our Founding Partners, the Città di Torino and Regione Piemonte, has never been lacking over the years, it is true: local politicians have always shown great interest and concrete participation in the Film Commission’s actions. The institutions have always guaranteed us assistance, in various forms, from economic to promotional. Trough us the various Entities know that they can restore wealth to the region: so over the years we have done our best to capitalize their investments in the best possible way”.

What are your projects for 2017?
“We are a machine that works and that has an obligation to improve and expand itself in order to adequately cope with the competition: the coming year will see us strongly committed to animated cinema which has always had deep roots in Piedmont and which is well worth stimulating and incentivizing. Europe will be a big objective to conquer: we will look for new growth opportunities to favor international co-productions”.

Dreams?
“My great belief in promotion as a development strategy is no secret. After the fantastic experience at the last Cannes Film Festival to which we accompanied the stunning “Sweet Dreams” by Marco Bellocchio, which was very enthusiastically received in the “Directors’ Fortnight”, I would be happy if 2017 also bestowed upon us the chance to be the protagonists at a big international event.
So we would be pleased if at least one of the projects made last year could offer us this possibility, and we believe that our hopes are well founded. Remember that we welcomed two maestros like the Taviani brothers who chose the little known Val Maira for filming the transposition of “Una questione privata” by the prestigious author from Piedmont, Beppe Fenoglio”.

Nella sezione: Focus on italy