“We support the inhabitants of Piedmont who want to talk about their land as well as the rest of the world”.
Words that could almost be a slogan from Paolo Manera, who is in charge of documentaries at the Torino Piemonte Film Commission which has dedicated a specific regional fund to real life cinema, called the Piemonte Doc Film Fund, modeled on the best of the top European regional funds, “naturally adjusted to an Italian context”.
The first project in Italy dedicated to supporting documentaries through a specific fund, the Piemonte Doc Film Fund was set up in 2007 as an evolution of the region and regional capital’s involvement in documentaries which began over ten years earlier.
“For 2010 the fund has a total of 500,000 Euros available”, explains Manera, “the same as for the first few years of activity, and we are confident that funding will remain at these levels in the future as well. The average amount allocated for supporting documentaries is around 20,000 Euros, with a minimum of 5,000 Euros and a maximum of 40,000 Euros.
We support small projects in the early stages as well as bigger, more ambitious works, following the entire process or the various phases of the same. But this is not a “sprinkler” type of funding: our intervention is part of the more general support offered to the documentary sector and the professionals working in the same, favoring projects which have a positive effect on the territory and its people, as well as a strong, original approach that is able reach the public following a distributional course that can be both commercial and independent”.
Support has been provided to 54 documentaries since the fund was created, several of which have achieved a high level of visibility at big festivals or movie theaters, including “ThyssenKrupp Blues” by Pietro Balla and Monica Repetto, “La voce Stratos” (The Stratos voice) by Luciano D’Onofrio and Monica Affatato, “Io, la mia famiglia rom e Woody Allen” (Me, my gypsy family and Woody Allen) by Laura Halilovic, “La fabbrica dei tedeschi” (The German factory) by Mimmo Calopresti and “Rata neće biti” (Non ci sarà la guerra “” There will be no war) by Daniele Gaglianone.
“It is certain,” continues Manera, “that the projects currently being prepared will include various documentaries about the period following the earthquake in Abruzzo”.
Until now, the Piemonte Doc Film Fund has mainly supported Italian works “” following the usual criteria of territorial valorization in terms of themes, locations and workers “” but it is also moving towards internationalization:
“There is an increasing number of production companies from Piedmont that are working on co-productions with other countries and this fully complies with our objective of internationalizing and professionalizing the documentary sector in Piedmont.
It is not a coincidence that we have been asked to join DocuRegio, a network of 12 European regional funds dedicated to documentaries”. So, a very satisfying outcome for the first three years of the Piedmonte Doc Fund, which can state that it has “stimulated the documentary economy, helping films as well as film-makers, attracting more attention to the professionals in the territory”, concludes Manera, proudly announcing that some individuals and structures that made their debut with the Piemonte Doc Film Fund are now breaking into feature length drama.
Increasingly oriented beyond national borders and, in fact, dedicated exclusively to participation in international theatrical projects is Film Investment Piedmont (FIP), the investment company set up with 80% public (the Regional Government of Piedmont through the Torino Piemonte Film Commission) and 20% private funds (the US company Endgame Entertainment LCC), presented at the beginning of 2009.
FIP is a venture capital firm created to set up co-productions or purchase the commercial utilization rights for international movies.
The first of these, announced at the end of 2009, is “Sweet Baby Jesus”, a comedy starring Melanie Griffi th and Pierce Brosnan, directed by Steve Bendelack: an 80% Piedmontese production which was launched at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, we were unable to verify the state of progress of this movie, despite the requests for information made to the FIP.