IARUSSI/The Discovery of LAMERICA
“The main concept we work with is identity”.
Oscar Iarussi, president of the Apulia Film Commission, clarifies the underlying foundations of this young structure.
He speaks about an identity that surpasses “an entirely regional logic” to concentrate on broader concepts such as the southern and Mediterranean identity: this can be seen in the themes of many of the movies shot in Apulia, “which are definitely not stories played out in the shadow of a bell-tower”.
Apulia is a part of southern Italy which is particularly noted for its “ability to welcome other cultures “” not without trauma, but in a dialectical, non-phobic way”.
And there was trauma in 1991, “with the arrival of that ship packed with Albanians which was to become one of the symbols of the 20th century”.
When immigration burst onto the scene “it disrupted the identity of what was once the gate to the East, transforming it into the gate to the West”, Iarussi acutely observes.
This “identity reversal” has given rise to new creative potential.
A movie like Gianni Amelio’s “Lamerica” ( Osella Award for best director at the Venice Film Festival 1994) created a division in cinema as well in Apulia.
“Over the following decade,” continues Iarussi, “there was a relative amount of integration and many of the stories that disrupted this rather sleepy region, from a narrative point of view (dedicated mainly to non-fiction and the economy), focused on the migration story. Obviously, by definition, a crossover involves change, and cannot be considered to be something that just happens”.
However the Apulian identity, adds the president of the Apulia Film Commission, is also the “ability to tap into continuous change, suggestions, plurality: the very favorable light and landscapes which are perfectly suited to movement; a dialectic of reality that is true to life, of stories that really happen.
I think that is the magnet that attracts production companies to this region”.
MASELLI/THE FILM FUND FOR EUROPEAN PRODUCERS
The jewel in the crown of the various interventions carried out by the Regional Government of Apulia in favor of audiovisuals is the Fund managed by the Apulia Film Commission.
You have favored a more “widespread” type of intervention, giving a “little” to lots of different movies. Do you believe that this policy “” which differs from those adopted by other regions “” is better for achieving your objectives?
The management of our film fund is coherent with the identity we are trying to build: ours is, in fact, a regional fund that aims to complete the budgets of the movies we attract and host.
Our future plans include greater private financial contributions so that we can differentiate the support mechanisms. On the one hand, the public film fund would support the growth of the numerous local talents. On the other, a mixed publicprivate fund would represent a new service for European and other producers