How does it feel for a Bank to make its debut as a theatrical producer with a project like “This Must Be the Place” by Paolo Sorrentino, that goes straight to the Cannes Film Festival?
This is not a success for us but for the director, who is very well known internationally as confirmed by this invitation to Cannes.
We knew Sorrentino’s movies and have also known him personally since we contacted him, along with Ermanno Olmi and Gabriele Salvatores, in the early stages of the “PerFiducia” project.
Thanks to the tax credit system, we were able to participate as a traditional co-producing investor.
Have you tried to quantify the value of your presence at the Cannes Film Festival in terms of communication, image and promotion?
We haven’t and we don’t think it is possible to do so.
This is the first time that we have co-produced a movie and the first time we have attended Cannes.
However, we are pleased to know that our ongoing relationship with the movie industry and our closeness to this sector, will be seen in a positive light: first with “PerFiducia” and now through our direct involvement in a movie.
Our strategy is to present ourselves as a bank that has made a commitment to this sector, within a specific field of intervention, and that also believes in cinema, one of the most distinctive sectors on the Italian production scene, as well as the cultural scene in general.
We think that investing in culture is possible as well as useful.
We are involved in many other sectors, this is our priority.
We feel it is very important that attention be paid to the world of culture in our country.
What was your involvement in “This Must Be the Place”, were you just a co-producer or did you also provide loans through Mediocredito’s specialist Media & Entertainment desk?
We acted as co-producers (alongside Medusa, Lucky Red and Indigo Film, plus other foreign partners) on a movie with a total budget of 28 million Euros.
We signed a long-term “Association in participation” contract through our subsidiary Imi Investimenti, investing 2.5 million Euros, the maximum we could invest on an annual basis in accordance with the tax credit regulations.
Moreover, through the intervention of Mediocredito Italiano, Intesa Sanpaolo supported the realization of the movie by advancing the financial resources that were due to certain subjects and that had to be paid according to a time schedule that was not compatible with production requirements.
Are you examining any other interventions of this kind?
Yes. We looking at experimenting with other types of projects. We were at quite an advanced stage, but had to stop due to the uncertainties of the regulatory framework and possible changes concerning the renewal of the tax credit mechanism.
Now that the Financial Bill has redefined the refinancing of these incentives until 2013, thanks to the petrol charge, we can start looking at possible new projects again, and are already doing so.
In the next few weeks we will define the interventions that will become operational in the second half of the year.
In general, how do you choose which projects you will finance? Considering that cinema is not our field of expertise, and we do not want to replace members of the trade, the risks inherent to this sector have forced us to tread carefully: there should always be a well-structured production plan with qualified investors and projects upline. But they don’t necessarily have to be works by well-established directors: even young debuting or lesser established film-makers can be interesting, as long as they have solid professional and entrepreneurial backing.