Osmiza comes from “osem” which, in Slovenian, means eight. The “Osmizas” date back to the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire when, in 1784, Emperor Francis Joseph II granted peasants the right to sell some of their own products directly, tax free, for a period of eight days. Even today, in isolated country areas of Friuli and Slovenia, it is still possible to find “Osmizas”, places where homemade products are sold and consumed: wine, grappa, cheeses and cooked meats.
A producer and a director, Igor Princic and Matteo Oleotto, have combined the ancient “Osmiza” concept with modern-day “crowd funding” to launch “Osmiza Crowd Funding”, an original way to complete the budget for their movie “Zoran, il mio nipote scemo” (“Zoran my dumb nephew”), shooting on which ended on November 9th in Gorizia and Slovenia. The storyline of the movie actually revolves around “osmizas” and taverns: these are the places where Paolo, the leading character, a man who has never done much with his life, spends most of his time. But things change when Zoran arrives on the scene, a young boy Paolo “inherits” from a distant Slovenian relative, who speaks in a strange way and seems to be slightly retarded. What at first sight appears to be just one more piece of bad luck turns out to make Paolo’s fortune: Zoran is an unbeatable darts player and Paolo begins to think he can hit the bull’s eye in his own life…
“Zoran my dumb nephew”, director Matteo Oleotto’s feature debut, is the first movie to star Giuseppe Battiston and is also the first “organic” co-production between Italy and Slovenia. This is clearly explained to us by Igor Princic who, with his Transmedia company, is constantly involved in co-production projects with companies from neighboring Slovenia. His strategy is to promote the area, introducing it into a broader Central European context, and he has already been involved in co-productions with Slovenia and Hungary.
“Zoran, my dumb nephew” has an interesting production story: starting with a contribution from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Fund for Audiovisuals (120,000 Euros), the project began development in 2009. Following the producer’s participation at the EAVE Producers’ Workshop, he found a co-production partner (Slovenian Staragara Production) and the project was presented at all the major international events (including Cannes and Rome, and the 2011 edition of The Business Street). Princic had previously co-produced a feature film with Staragara entitled “Archeo”, by Jan Cvitkovič, but held a minority share.
“With “Zoran”,” he explains, emphasizing the mutual nature of the relationship, “Transmedia has a majority share”.
During its long journey “Zoran, my dumb nephew” has also received contributions from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Fund (130,000 Euros), Eurimages (220,000 Euros), Mibac (Ministry of Culture: debut work – 150,000 Euros), as well as an Italian Tax Credit of 95,000 Euros. The contribution from Slovenia (Slovenian Film Center, Viba Film and RTV Slovenia) was 475,000 Euros.
However another 15% is still needed in order to complete the 1,400,000 Euro budget. So, concomitantly with the post-production pro- cess, the “Osmiza Crowd Funding” tour will now begin. Princic explains: “we will give wine in exchange for a share in the production; one thousand bottles of wine bearing a label of the movie offered by the wineries Renato Keber, Robert Princic’s Gradis’ciutta, Domenico Fraccaroli’s Villa Caratti and Massimo Bassani’s Isola Augusta”.
Using a very “glocal” approach – in the “osmizas” and taverns, the heart of the movie, stories and emotions are portrayed that can be recognized by a much wider public than that of Friuli and Slovenia (“these are places where lives are recounted”) – Princic and the director, Matteo Oleotto, who returned to Gorizia, his hometown, after finishing his professional training in Rome, have united two passions: cinema and their homeland. A land where wine is not seen as a drink but as a staple. These two things appear to be linked in the perception of the makers of “Zoran my dumb nephew”, as confirmed by Igor Princic: “We are selling these bottles of wine to finance our movie; with the profits of the movie we will buy a vineyard where we will make more wine to finance our next picture…”