The Fund is growing and changing the rules: this is the news coming out of the latest Board of Directors’ meeting of the Fondazione Apulia Film Commission.
The Film Fund’s financial allocation has jumped from 1.6 million Euros in 2010 to around 2 million Euros in 2011, following a trend that has seen the figure grow every year (in 2007, the year the fund was set up, it amounted to 258 thousand Euros).
But, for the first time this year, the AFC is raising its sights by imposing additional conditions on production companies: 35% of the personnel hired (cast and crew) should be citizens of Apulia or residents of the region (before it was 30%), the minimum expenditure in the region increases from 150 to 200% of the contribution received, and there should be at least three weeks of filming in Apulia (instead of two) for drama features (as well as movies and TV series), two weeks for documentaries (as well as docu-dramas and mockumentaries), four working days for shorts and two for video clips.
“The idea is to increase resources by qualifying the supply in the territory”, explains Silvio Maselli, general manager of the Fondazione Apulia Film Commission since 2007 and recently confirmed in the post for the next four years.
Maselli knows that times are hard, starting with domestic productions. “The uncertainty regarding the reintegration of the FUS state funding”, he agrees, “has caused havoc for most companies.
Apart from the 2 or 3 companies who manage to produce 4-5 movies per year, all the others are finding it hard to get going again and this will cause a backlash for Film Commissions as well: even we have fewer movies than in the past”.
And things are not improving even though horizons are expanding to include international markets:
“Attracting foreign productions is a pipe-dream, we do what we can by taking part in all the international fairs but it is hard work because you can’t attract a production on your own, you have to do it as a country system and, from this point of view, there is a total lack of investment, particularly in intelligence”.
What can be done?
Maselli and his staff are looking at alternative solutions.
“Our objective is to leave the logic of European structural funds behind and start realizing our own international and EC projects, aiming for internal utilization.
For example, by taking part in the MEDIA program tenders and, more in general, by targeting European sectorial funds (Editor’s note: in 2013 Apulia, along with another three southern Italian regions, will leave the “convergence objective area” and, as a result, the structural funds, i.e. those dedicated to regional policies, will decrease).
We could also start to produce directly ourselves, putting forward our own ideas”.
This is the case for the documentary marking the twentieth anniversary of the Albanians landing on the coasts of Apulia which will see the Apulia Film Commission in the role of co-producer, for the first time, “along with Indigo Film, to whom we presented the project”, concludes Maselli.