Dancing with Maria” by Ivan Gregolet is the only Italian movie in competition at the 29th edition of Critics’ Week (SIC), the first documentary admitted to the competition in the section’s history.
This special story, about the extraordinary life of Maria Fux, the nonagenarian Argentinean dancer and choreographer, who became an institution in Buenos Aires with her dance-therapy school dedicated to people with motor and mental disabilities, is an Italian-Slovenian co-production.
“Faced with my astonishment that ours was the first documentary to be included in the competition, the selectors replied that in reality this is a film for the cinema”, says Igor Princic, whose Transmedia produced the movie in co-production with Slovenia’s Staragara (which also produced “Zoran, my dumb nephew” winner of the Public Award at last year’s Critics’ Week). This co-production was made possible thanks to the support of the Fondo Audiovisivo FVG directed by Paolo Vidali, the Slovenian Film Centre directed by Jozko Rutar (as well as Argentina’s INCAA, MEDIA, and other private investors).
Fruitful cross-border collaborations; and, in the meantime, Princic is working on another co-production, along with Slovenia’s Gustav Film: “Mama”, by Vlado Škafar (who already attended the SIC four years ago with “Dad”), a small intimate story about the difficult mother-daughter relationship “a Slovenian movie filmed in Cividale del Friuli”, explains Princic.
“Our region naturally offers opportunities for co-production, the studios in Ljubljana are just 60 minutes away from us and we have been working steadily with Staragara for around 7 years now”.
For “Dancing with Maria”, a co-production with an Italian majority share, the Slovenian contribution mainly regarded the post-production phase as well as, obviously, the financing received from the Film Centre.
“We supported “Dancing with Maria” to the tune of 25,000 Euros even though it was not a Slovenian story. The criteria used to assign the funds are not automatic, but rather based on the quality and value of the project which, in this case, was a very interesting personal story”, adds Rutar.
Princic defines it as “a story which is set in Argentina but is universal, directed by a local filmmaker.” Who, like Princic himself, has dual citizenship: “our mother tongue is Slovenian, we live in areas where the borders are constantly moving”.
“The borders are more mental than physical, geographical,” continues Rutar, “there are Slovenian minorities in Italy, Italians in Slovenia and the same goes for Croatia. We have all been part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and share a history, a culture, a sense of humor. I believe that cinema is the perfect vehicle for creating and bringing out this European sense of identity, cooperation, of shared stories”.
This is the direction in which the establishment of the cross-border Fund between these three regions – Friuli Venezia Giulia, Croatia and Slovenia – is moving, and which will be launched in Venice concomi- tantly with the presentation of “Dancing with Maria”.
“The idea is to strengthen the collaboration between our regions with a joint project that involves a co-development fund and a training program” announces Rutar. A long-cultivated project which Cinema & Video International spoke about with Hrvoje Hribar, director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, in Cannes last May: “We are more or less cast in the same mold”, explained Hribar. “we all belong to this Hapsburgian region, for this reason I think that this can be quite a strong project. This is a land rich in stories, with the Dolomites and Quarnaro, and including the cities of Fiume, Pola, Capo d’Istria, Trieste and Udine. A civilization that is not very well known outside its borders. We have decided to make an effort to give our stories visibility, there are many, for example, about exiles during the Mussolini period”.
“We are confident”, concludes Hrvoje Hribar, “that, thanks to this Fund, projects can be developed about such topics contributing to reconstruct- ing memories in a more intelligent way than in the past”.
ancing with Maria” by Ivan Gregolet is the only Italian movie in competition at the 29th edition of Critics’ Week
(SIC), the first documentary admitted to the competition