After a lengthy period of time spent at the Rai, Carlo Macchitella has begun his new independent career as a producer with his own company Madeleine, working on a total of three movies in 2009 “” 2010 and preparing to realize another three in 2011.
The first of these is “˜La fine è il mio inizio’ (The end is my beginning), a biography of the journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani, played by Bruno Ganz, with Elio Germano as his son, Folco.
Der Spiegel’s Asian correspondent for many years, Terzani was more famous in Germany than in Italy, leading a German production company to decide to make the movie in our country with the executive production of Giorgio Magliulo’s Sky Dancer.
“Beta and the producer Ulrich Limmer chose to work in Italy, on the Apennines, in Polsigna in the province of Pistoia, where Terzani spent his final years and where the book that constitutes his spiritual testament was written”, explains Macchitella.
“In this case, we did nothing to attract the production company as the movie came out of a desire to be faithful to the places mentioned in Terzani’s biography.
At the same time, however, we are aware that, in order to be able to work with foreigners, we need to be able to offer them all the tax incentive mechanisms they are used to finding at home.
The commitment of some regions appears to follow the pattern found in other countries such as Germany where the “Landers” finance productions.
The important thing is that the political line which is becoming established by the Regional authorities is followed by concrete facts, with a rapid bureaucratic response.
We are managing to gain territory with a shrewd policy in which the regions have replaced the State, but we must remember that nothing worries foreigners more than red tape.
The advantages cannot be “˜cancelled out’ by slowness”.
Macchitella has also worked on another co-production: “˜Passione’ (Passion), the movie directed in Naples by John Turturro, dedicated to Neapolitan songs.
“The idea for this project came to me after I saw Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club again,” explains the producer.
“I thought we should dedicate a project to a type of music that, more than any other, has influenced the international scene.
However, I immediately felt that this movie should be made by a foreign director and not an Italian one.
It was Roberto Cicutto who suggested the name of Turturro because he felt that he would definitely be very interested in this project.
That was the case and Magliulo is co-producing the movie along with Raicinema, Beta (which bought the world rights and has already pre-sold “˜Passione’ to France practically on trust alone) and Cinecittà Luce, which will handle the theatrical distribution for Italy”.
The movie features an impressive number of Neapolitan singers along with Fiorello and Beppe Servillo who sing some songs, as well as Turturro himself.
“It probably won’t be ready for the Cannes market, but our aim is to go to the Toronto Film Festival which we hope will provide an international showcase”.
The regional government of Campania has also invested a lot in the movie and is one of its backers, contributing 350,000 Euros.
“It was a good investment, with considerable returns in terms of image for Naples and Campania”.
Carlo Macchitella insists on the need to increasingly involve foreign markets in Italian productions:
“It is becoming more and more important to look towards other countries.
We have to understand that, in other places, it is possible to find financing and distribution channels that will bring us out of our narrow and rather closed domestic walls.
This does not mean creating “˜blends’, but assessing the real potential of certain productions on other markets right from the start.
This is not necessary for all movies.
For some comedies, in fact, it is easier to sell the remake rights than the movie itself.
That is what happened with “Welcome to the sticks” which was remade in Italy by Cattleya as “Benvenuti al Sud” (Welcome to the South).
At the same time, however, I think it is important to always understand immediately whether international co-producers can be involved in a production.
I consider this to be an almost “˜compulsory’ cultural passage: the concept is that it is not enough for a movie to be liked by the Rai and Medusa and get the OK from the Ministry or Regional government, but must also arouse interest abroad”.
The third movie produced by Carlo Macchitella, with the contribution of the Ministry, is directed by Ascanio Celestini and marks the debut of this young author who is very popular not just in Italy, but in other countries like Belgium and France, where his books have been published with a fair amount of success.
Distributed by Valerio De Paolis’ BIM, the movie might be presented at the Venice Film Festival. Carlo Macchitella’s final consideration regards Film Commissions:
“They are a useful tool.
Their future depends on the ability to become more uniform, with a common policy, and a single coordination.
To become credible and solid interlocutors on both an Italian and international level they need to innovate in terms of bureaucracy and response times”.