direttore Paolo Di Maira

SEMAINE DE LA CRITIQUE/United we Stand

Starring  Saleh  Bakri  and  newcomer  Sara  Serraiocco, “Salvo” is the first work by Fabio Grassadonia  and  Antonio  Piazza.    The  movie  has been selected for the prestigious Semaine de la Critique which has not featured any Italians since 2005.
“Salvo” is the story of a Mafia killer whose life is turned upside down by and remains intimately linked to that of one of
his potential victims, Rita, a young blind girl who, just as he is about to kill her, miraculously recovers her sight.  Charles
Tesson, Délégué Général of the Semaine, has described the movie as “strong and exciting”, “superbly photographed by
Daniele Ciprì”, “a surprising movie that highlights the renewal currently taking place in Italian cinema”.
Produced by Massimo Cristaldi and Fabrizio Mosca, who joined the forces of their respective production companies to make the movie (Cristaldi Pictures and Acaba Produzioni), the long story behind “Salvo” is emblematic of the situation of our movie industry in terms of arthouse movies and independent productions.  Cristaldi himself tells us all about it.

It is rather unusual in Italy for two producers to join forces of their respective production companies to make a movie
«Mosca and I already knew each other.  Then we found ourselves on the jury of the Premio Solinas in 2008.  We discovered that we both liked the script of “Salvo”, which received a Special Mention, and thought we would like to
turn it into a movie: instead of competing for it, we decided to make it together.»

You and Mosca had already produced the short “Rita” with directors Grassadonia and Piazza.
«The “Rita” project actually came after “Salvo”: since both directors were making their debut, despite already being known for their screenplays (Editor’s note: ”Gli occhi dell’amore”, “Ogni volta che te ne vai”), we wanted to try them out on a short that was written specially for them, which had the same atmosphere as the movie, and would be a kind of test bench and a model to propose to potential financial backers”.»

Around five years to complete a project…
«It is not normal, but it is normal for Italy if you are producing an independent movie, due to the difficulty in getting
financing.  This is a structural weakness of our movie in dustry, at a time when there is a great creative buzz.  Being a
producer is becoming increasingly a mission to be pursued with tenacity and determination.  Our country has never had
producers who put their hands in their wallet to finance a movie.  Even in the 60s-70s it was the market that financed
them, the distribution.  Now even that is no longer true.  And the producer, who is supposed to invest in the development
of the work, finds himself embroiled in a long, exhausting journey to find funding.»

Is that why you have to join forces?
«That doesn’t happen very much in Italy, but it is a widespread practice in other countries.  Entering into an affiliation is a response to a general situation of difficulty in finding funding.  As they say, united we stand, divided we fall…
and together we can multiply our contacts. For “Salvo” we obtained financing from 11 different sources which meant
an exorbitant quantity of paper and time to coordinate everything into a single financial plan, which allowed us to
obtain around 1.6-1.7 million Euros to make the movie.»

11? Can you give us a list of your sources?
«The first bricks in the foundation of our building were the financing we received from the Torino Film Lab and the
Development Fund of the MIBAC (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities), which were subsequently joined
by the Media Program Fund, the Fondo Produzione Opere Prime (First Works Production Fund), also from the MI-
BAC, the support of the Film Commission Regione Sicilia, and the use of internal and external tax credits (we actually requested these but have not yet received them).  That is as far as Italy is concerned, then there were three French sources: Sofica Cofinova 9 , the funding provided by the TV channel Arte, Films Distribution, to whom we entrusted the international sales of the movie and, finally, Eurimages, for the co-production.»
The absence of an Italian distributor stands out in the list you have provided…
«Whilst we already had Bodega Film in France, for Italy we only have a few contacts that we hope to define during the
Festival.  Being an arthouse movie that has been selected for Cannes will help our chances on both the Italian and international markets.  It would certainly be useful and important to be able to release the movie immediately after
the Festival.»

… and there are no banks.
«Luckily, thanks to the tax credit regulations, banks are becoming interested in investing in movies again.  A tax refund of 40% is attractive to them, but naturally they prefer to invest in movies that have more chances of recovering their costs.  There is never any real certainty and even less so with arthouse movies.  To be honest, for small productions like “Salvo” it is not the “internal” market that offers this certainty but its exploitation on an international level. »

We should mention that “Salvo” was given a TFL Production Award amounting to € 140,000 during the second edition of
the Meeting Event of the TorinoFilmLab in November 2009.

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