In addition to providing locations and incentives, the region’s contribution to internationalization consists of building projects that create a network in which local talents can interact with professionals from other countries, with their own working methods and stories to tell.
In short, initiating processes that culminate in co-productions.
For this reason we have brought together four experiences from four different regions of Italy.
The formulas are different, but the strategy appears to be a common one: to cross boundaries, privileging “neighbors”, maximizing shared historical and cultural roots. It is a pragmatic, concrete approach that is beginning to bear fruit.
The fact that it is currently easier to see the majority of the movies made at festivals rather than in cinemas should not marginalize the quality of the projects: they are workshops of professionalization and de-provincialization of our movie industry.
EURO MEDITERRANEAN CO-PRODUCTION FORUM
The sixth edition of the Euro Mediterranean Co-production Forum ended just a few days ago (October 1-3).
The event was devised and organized by the Apulia Film Commission to support film projects in the development phase (drama features, documentaries and TV series), whose stories have a connection with Europe or the Mediterranean area and which have at least 30% of their budget secured.
The intention is to favor encounters and partnerships between sector operators such as production companies, backers, market experts and distributors, allowing the participants to present their projects, “test them” in the development phase and get in contact with potential co- backers.
The projects mainly come from Europe, with a strong presence from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, but some also come from the African Mediterranean area and the Middle East.
The results have been very satisfying: of the 42 projects selected at the first three editions (it would be a bit premature to look at the last 3 editions), 16 were made into films.
Some of the titles: “Banat”, a co- production between Italy-Romania-Bulgaria and Macedonia; “Motherland” (a Greek-Turkish co-production), both of which were presented at the International Critics’ Week 2015; and “Bota”, a co-production between Albania, Italy and Kosovo.
The Forum has the characteristic of being an itinerant event: two editions were held in Bari, one in Brindisi, one in Taranto, and the most recent one in Lecce. This formula that makes it possible to maximize and promote the whole region of Puglia to the guest international producers, encouraging them to choose Puglia as a location for their audiovisual projects.
With a budget of 134,000 Euros, the Forum is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and is realized with the Patronage of Eurimages and in collaboration with ACE and Sofia Meetings.
The artistic director is Alberto La Monica, project manager Cristina Piscitelli. The dates of the next edition are not yet available.
FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA
A natural bridge between East and West ”:this sums up in just a few words the ambitions of When East meets West, the event that held its fifth edition last January and is organized in Trieste by the Fondo per l’Audiovisivo del Friuli Venezia Giulia (Audiovisual Fund) and the Trieste Film Festival.
WEMW brings together over three hundred professionals – producers, backers and decision makers from all over the world, and in particular, from Eastern Europe, Italy and the countries showcased at each edition (the spotlight has already been turned on France, Scandinavia, Germany and Austria, Benelux, United Kingdom, Ireland and North America).
The main objective is to support the projects selected (projects in the development phase) by helping them to identify their potential natural partners, i.e. to look for possible financing and co-producers in the areas covered annually by WEMW, and analyze the potential decision makers, backers and producers who could support the projects selected.
After 5 editions over 60% of the projects have been developed and produced, identifying co-producers, backers and distributors.
Some of the titles: “The High Sun” , a co-production between Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia which won the Jury Award at Un Certain Regard Cannes 2015 and is the Croatian Oscar 2016 candidate; “Sofia’s Last Ambulance”, a Bulgarian-German-Croatian co-production which won an award at the Cannes Semaine de la Critique in 2012; “Sworn Virgin”, an Italian-Albanian co-production presented at the Berlinale 2015.
WEMW is strongly rooted in the territory: it was created on the basis of a long-running pre-existing relationship between the FVG Fund and the national Croatian and Slovenian funds, and every January it offers the local industry an opportunity to meet with professionals from over 30 European countries.
Just over half WEMW’s budget (around 130,000 Euros) comes from Creative Europe/MEDIA Programme, around 20% from MiBACT (the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities), around 10% from the Central European Initiative – CEI, and the remaining 20% is directly covered by the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.
The 2016 edition of When East Meets West will be held in Trieste again, from January 24 – 26 2016, when the special focus will be on Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
It is possible to register projects at WEMW up until November 5 2015 through the www.wemw.it website.
Alessandro Gropplero is in charge of When East Meets West.
The aim of Incontri, an initiative organized by the BLS Film Fund & Commission, now in its fifth edition, is to boost co-productions between Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland by promoting networking opportunities between producers in these linguistic areas as well as knowledge of their respective markets. During the two day meeting held in beautiful locations in the South Tyrol, panels are organized on topical themes for the theatrical sector.
Over the years, Incontri has become a co-production conference that is increasingly recognized amongst European professionals, involving the participation of important guests from the audiovisual industry (in 2015 it was attended by fifty or so sector professionals).
The key to the initiative’s success is the fact that South Tyrol, a bilingual region that borders with Austria and Switzerland, is an ideal province for developing collaborations between German and Italian speaking regions.
Ever since its creation, the BLS has always tried to promote and encourage the development of bigger Italian-German co-productions with its own fund as well as through initiatives like “Incontri”.
Local producers are also invited to take part in the co-production conference in order to contribute to the development of the South Tyrol audiovisual industry. Moreover, bringing lots of producers to the region for a few days is also good promotion for the BLS, for the financing fund it manages and for the region’s locations.
The initiative is organized directly by the BLS, drawing on the budget available to the company for activities and projects.
The dates for the next edition: April 13 – 15 2016. Participation in “Incontri” is by invitation.
The project coordinator is Barbara Weithaler.
In 2015 the Film Commission Torino Piemonte launched a pilot- project, the Co-Production Network, aimed at supporting the creation of new co-productions between Piedmont and other European countries, with the objective of offering production companies in Piedmont a series of tools that could be useful in order to establish and implement relationships with other international producers.
The formula: an invitation to present a feature length project for the cinema (drama, animation or documentary) that has narrative or production components that could result in a co-production with the country chosen in each individual case; the identification of a limited number of projects (4 or 5), and a mission to the country chosen in order to meet with a series of local production companies selected in collaboration with the area’s film commissions or film offices, using the pitching and one-to-one meeting formulas; the organization and covering of the travel and accommodation expenses by the FCTP.
The projects chosen for this first rendezvous (in Brussels in May 5 2015) show how the initiative naturally gathers together and consolidates all the Piedmontese production entities that have developed in recent years in the field of feature films, documentaries and animation.
There are four of them: “Ghost Carousel” by Animoka Studios, “Di fame non si muore” by La Sarraz Pictures, “Sara e gli altri” by Meibi Servizi and Consulenze Audiovisive, and “Chief White Elk” by Stefilm International.
After the Belgium meeting, the next rendezvous will be in Paris on November 9 2015, organized with the support of the Ile De France Film Commission and the Italian Cultural Institute which will provide the location for the meetings.
The initiative will draw on the internal resources of the Film Commission Torino Piemonte. The project manager is Daniele Segre.