The celebrations for the first ten years of Maia, the European advanced training program for up-and-coming producers, supported by Europa Creativa and promoted by the Genova Liguria Film Commission, will commence at the Berlinale.
”The Berlin Film Festival will be the occasion for launching the first workshop of the year which will be held in Sardinia from April 13th to 17th, in collaboration with the Sardegna Film Commission” announces Graziella Bildesheim, the director of Maia, which she herself founded in 2005, “in order to fill the voids on the European training scene”. Voids that had come to the notice of Bildesheim thanks to her background as a producer and an expert in the development of projects, international co-productions, distribution and acquisitions:
“I realized that there were essentially two gaps in experience: one of a geographical-historical type because there were no courses in Mediterranean and Eastern European countries for the producers who acted as the builders and managers of a project; the other was more of a generational nature because, whilst the older producers had started off from nothing and already acquired some experience on their own, the younger ones did not know where to start. So we decided to aim to provide an introduction to the career of producing, preparing a program divided into three training workshops.”
While the first workshop is dedicated to creative development, the second centers on issues related to copyright, on the legal and financial aspects of productions and international co-productions.
This year it will be held in Lithuania (in cooperation with the Lithuanian Film Centre), from June 22nd to 26th.
The third will be held in Bologna (in cooperation with the Cineteca), from September 21st to 25th , and will look at marketing and distribution, “we are moving increasingly in a ‘do it yourself ’ direction, whereas ten years ago things were directed more towards structures and professionals”, continues Bildesheim, highlighting how Maia has changed according to the evolutions of the audiovisual panorama: “Today there is some important work to be done on small budgets, the distribution situation is very diverse, a growing number of small companies are developing their products through crowdfunding operations in order to involve the public in the production and, subsequently, the distribution of films, while they wait for VOD to become established in Italy.”
Maia’s target public has also changed: “The first participants were aged around twenty, or over 50. For example, there were lots of production directors from Eastern European countries who, after the fall of the wall, were working in service companies or advertising but who had no idea how to set up a project. Over the years the average age has become standardized, today the participants are aged between 30 and 40, and have a higher level of professional training behind them.”
Each workshop (it is possible to take part in even just one of the three) is attended by over twenty people, both European and non-European: “We have also had Georgians, Macedonians and, from this year, Media has also given non-Europeans the chance to take part (20% of the total), at the same tariffs applied to Europeans.”
Many hit movies were ‘incubated’ inside Maia, they include the documentary “Growing Up in Oil” by Sepp Brudermann, which recently won the IDFA Bertha Fund, or “Waiting for August”, a documentary by Teodora Ana Mihai, produced by Hanne Phlypo, presented at the last edition of “Hot Docs” in Toronto, and “Little Crushes” by Aga Dziedzic, in competition at Rotterdam 2014.
“But more than films that do the rounds at festivals and win prizes”, concludes Bildesheim, “a training and coaching program like ours measures its success above all on the professional development of its participants, some names that come to mind are Alex Traila who, after Maia, started a career in markets and today works with When East meets West, Connecting Cottbus and Sarajevo City of Films, or Ines Vasiljevic, who works as an independent producer and has contributed to the creation of KinoOkus, a Festival in Croatia dedicated to the relationship between cinema and food”.
Among Maia’s ‘Italian children’ we have the director Fabio Mollo, Daniele Segre, Head of production of the Torino Piemonte Film Commission and a producer with Redibis, Fabio Canepa, a consultant for the Genova Liguria Film Commission, the producer Manuela Cacciamani, Maria Teresa Favia, formerly the Head of Development at Fandango and now head of product placement and tax credits at QMI, Milan.
GLFC/SARABANDO LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
An innovative start to the year for the Genova-Liguria Film Commission, in keeping with the style it has adopted over the last few years. One of the oldest Italian Film Commissions with one of the smallest budgets, the Ligurian organization has always tried to play its cards by suggesting new pathways in the face of increasingly fierce and well-funded competition. After creating a Hub of creative companies, which today counts 45 entrepreneurial entities with over 100 employees, and heading a European training program (Maia Workshops), in recent months the Genova-Liguria Film Commission has proposed a very special competition notice that combines an element of financial support with training.
In fact, for the first time, the Genova-Liguria Film Commission is launching a competition in support of small audiovisual productions in the Liguria region.
The measure, which will have an annual value of 30,000 Euros divided into two tranches, to be financed entirely by the Film Commission, is called SaraBando (the title refers to the Italian word for competition notice – bando – and the con- crete prospects of even more consistent initiatives in the future). The competition, which is open to producers and filmmakers all over Italy, has a dual aim: to financially support small productions at every stage, and to convey the professionals (from Liguria and elsewhere) towards an even higher level of professionalism, offering them a specific type of training involving participation in competitions and bids, as well as defining budgets, financial plans and development, production and distribution strategies.
The micro-contributions range from € 300 to€ 3,000 and can cover up to 80% of the declared expenses. The funding can be accessed by short and feature-length drama projects, documentaries, shorts, drama products for TV and the web, and video clips. The first competition opens in January, the second is scheduled for some time in June.