Piero Colussi is pleased Puccioni’s movie will be at the Berlin Film Festival: “It was shot in the province of Udine, an area which hasn’t featured largely in an important movie since Monicelli’s “La Grande Guerra””.
Colussi is a regional councilor and the majority proposer of the Cinema Bill passed by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region last October.
This is a general policy law, valued at 3.3 million Euros, a “method” law that puts Friuli out in front of all the other Italian regions. The new Law includes a regional Fund for audiovisuals to flank the existing Film Fund.
This is also managed by the Film Commission, but the aims are different.
“We have privileged formats with a regional vocation: documentaries, shorts and animations”, says Colussi.
But the biggest advantage of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, even for international productions, is the Film Fund. Set up in 2003, this provides financial support to regulate the incentives offered to production companies filming in the region.
Although important figures are not involved, this support is often necessary to help production budgets break even. This is something that Federico Poillucci, president of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission, knows all about: “In 2001 we hosted two productions; after six years’ work, 20 productions came to film in our region “” theatrical movies, TV dramas, documentaries, commercials and video clips”. He reels off the figures: “304 days of filming last year, using 146 professionals in situ, 107 actors and 2,544 extras.
The direct expenditure in the region was almost 4 and a half million Euros which generated overall induced economic consumption of over 8 million Euros. You can film well and longer with us because the costs are a third lower than in other parts of Italy”.
“The Film Fund “” he reminds us “” started out with 300 thousand Euros. Last year it reached 420 thousand and will certainly rise to half a million in 2007″.
A “magnet” is how Poillucci describes the Fund which is increasingly attracting big arthouse movies: Oscar winner GiuseppeTornatore who shot “The unknown” in Friuli in 2006, has said that the Film Commission’s work is a “mixture of Austro-Hungarian efficiency and Mediterranean hospitality”.
“I had already visited 5-6 cities when I arrived in Trieste, where I had never been before,” Tornatore has stated. “I immediately realized that it was the right place: I can’t really explain it but the city attracted me. It’s got the magic I was looking for, the shifting climate that mirrors the climate of my story and which can offer a variety of incredible settings in the space of just half an hour. It’s also got a very special kind of light. I am not surprised that so many movies are shot there”.
Nora Hoppe also chose Trieste for “La fine del mare” with Miki Manojlovic, in competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2007.
“I was looking for a city by the sea which is used to multi-ethnicity, where everybody feels at home”, the German director has said. “I feel at ease in Trieste as well, because it mirrors my nomadic lifestyle, where nobody forces me to behave in a certain way. You can also sense the presence of ghosts which give you a glimpse of a veil of gloom that covers an eternal feeling of death contrasted by something that timidly yet tenaciously wants to survive”.
Up-and-coming director, Andrea Molaioli, has been inspired to use the very European landscapes of Friuli (the province of Udine) as a setting for a story set in the fjords of Norway: the movie, “La ragazza del lago”, is an adaptation of the novel “Don’t look back” by Norwegian writer Karin Fossum. Numerous TV production companies, not just from Italy, have chosen locations in Friuli: Trebitsch Film shot a TV movie in Trieste based on the “noir” novels by Veit Heiniken and will be returning in 2007 to shoot another two.
“Around 30% of the production companies come from abroad. They are mainly German and Austrian, countries with ancient links to our region”, says Poillucci.
The new vocation of this region, no longer a borderland but the center of a new Europe that is redressing the balance with the east, is also apparent in the audiovisuals sector. Poillucci has identified some new opportunities: “Slovenia and Croatia”, he says, “have the Studios and the post-production, we have the Fund and the locations.”
Cinema&Video International 1/2-2007