“It is one of those rare cases in which the two festivals agreed to ‘share’ a movie between them, seeing as usually they want the exclusive of a world premiere”, says Stella Savino, who produced the movie for Frenesy, the company owned by Luca Guadagnino and Marco Morabito, in co-production with France’s Memento, which is handling the international sales.
“It is true that hopes are very high for this film, because it is based on the US best-seller of the same name by André Aciman, and also because Luca Guadagnino is very popular abroad.
It is no coincidence that he is one of the few Italians present at the Berlinale which he previously attended with ‘I am love’, another film which ‘exported’ our country well outside Italy. And maybe this is also why Sony Pictures Worldwide immediately bought the rights and is the film’s world distributor”.
Starring Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Esther Garrel, Amira Casar and Victoire Du Bois, it is a homosexual love story about two adolescents which, in the novel, is entirely set in Liguria, at the seaside in the middle of the summer, and which Guadagnino has transferred to Lombardy.
He filmed between May and June 2016, in Moscazzano (“where we found the splendid Villa Albergoni”), the countryside around Cremona, the city of Crema, Sirmione on Lake Garda and the waterfalls of Serio in the province of Bergamo.
“All wonderful places and almost unknown or little seen on the big screen”, explains Savino. “The transposition of this story to Lombardy gave it a more romantic touch because the Cremona countryside is very English, melancholic and little frequented by cinema, I believe that using a theatrically ‘virgin’ region was very stimulating for Luca who really loves this region and does all he can to portray it. ‘I am love’ was entirely filmed in Milan, ‘Bigger Splash’ on Pantelleria, but entirely prepared and post-produced in Lombardy. Right now we have just finishing filming ‘Suspiria’, a film set in Berlin in 1977, for which all the indoor scenes were shot in Varese”.
Two very Lombardian films, ‘Call me by your name’ and ‘Suspiria’, which together have totalized a budget of € 23 million.
A choice that, Savino points out, “might not be rewarded from an economic viewpoint, because unfortunately Lombardy does not have the funds that exist in many other regions, but which definitely will be artistically speaking. Luca would never choose a region that he didn’t feel was right for the story.
But even in the absence of funds”, the producer is keen to emphasize, “we found a valuable ally in the Lombardia Film Commission, in the person of Michaela Guenzi, who really believed in this project and who was our point of reference above all in terms of mediating with the institutions”.