With three movies in different sections – ‘Monte-Mountain’, out of competition, ‘Die Einsiendler’ in Orizzonti, and ‘Caffè’, a special event at the Giornate degli Autori – the South Tyrol region is increasing its presence on the festival scene.
Whilst last year it brought the opening movie to Venice, the blockbuster ‘Everest’, this year it has tied itself to “Arthouse films”, as Christiana Wertz, head of the IDM Film Commission, defines the “Venetian” titles. It is certain that the perception of the work of the film commission has changed, with its visibility increasingly linked to the growth of local talent.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the region’s contribution to the films presented in Venice was not limited to financial support and locations, but also involved filmmaking technicians and businesses.
All three films are co-productions, like many of the projects supported by the Film Commission. Another distinctive trait: rationality intertwined with internationality. What is possibly the most ambitious of the strategic objectives is starting to take shape: the building of a bridge between Italian and Central European cinematography by developing creativity in the region.
“Now we are starting to see the results”, comments a satisfied Christiana Wertz, who looks beyond Venice in order to carry out a rapid review of recent or future productions that have received support from the Fund and where local companies are the protagonists.
The aforementioned Helios Sustainable Films is co-producing ‘Alpenbrennen’ with Germany’s Lieblingsfilm, a kids’ film directed by Tobias Weiman. After a week of filming in Berlin, the film’s cast and crew moved on to South Tyrol for four weeks. The film received support in the pre-production phase (€ 22,250), as well as in the production phase (€480,000).
Another company from South Tyrol, Bolzano’s Echo Film, has recently finished shooting ‘Three Peaks’, a co-production with the German Rohfilm directed by Jan Zabeil and supported by the Commission to the tune of € 350,000. It is a story about feelings in the difficult triangle between a man, his girlfriend and her son. The film stars the French actress Bérénice Bejo and Alexander Fehling, an actor who is very popular with German audiences.
The filming in South Tyrol, which started on 8 June and lasted for 4 weeks, involved various locations in the region.
Echo Film is also the co-producer with the German Port au Prince & Kultur Produktion of ‘Iceman – Rache’ that Felix Randau will begin filming on the Ötztal Alps at the end of August (Film Commission support: € 560,000). The classic challenge between man and nature is catapulted into prehistory, to over five thousand years ago. “It is a movie without dialogue; this time”, jokes Wertz, “there is no language problem”.
Echo Film will also be bringing a project that was conceived in Alto Adige to the filming stage: ‘Zweitland’ with which Michael Kofler won the first edition of “Racconti” in 2011, the Script Lab organized annually by the Film Commission (“we have accompanied this project right from the beginning and we are happy that it is being made by a production company from South Tyrol”, comments Wertz).
The film, which received support amounting to € 30,000 in the pre- production phase and € 480,000 in the production phase, is co-produced with SK Film und Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft from Salzburg and Starhaus filmproduktion from Munich. It tells the story of two brothers at the time of the attacks carried out by separatists in the South Tyrol region in the early 1960s. The movie will be filmed in Chiusa, Parcinas and Merano. These are some of the titles realized using co-production formulas: they represent employment and the growth of new professional figures for a region which is increasingly recognized in the sector as the “land of cinema”.
The acronym IDM, which has replaced BLS in the Film Commission’s name since January 2016, stands for Innovation Development Marketing; the film commission, and all the audiovisual activities it organizes in the province, has been inserted into the “development” sector.
“That means” explains Christiana Wertz, “that now the approach to development is much more global and the creative industry will be a key sector in the development of the region. Having said that”, she concludes, “our Film Commission has kept its autonomy, with the same team and the same Fund, and similarly our projects will continue, from ‘Incontri’ to ‘Racconti’ to ‘Final Touch’. Basically nothing has changed with regard to the productions, in the sense that the relationship with them will be more solid than ever”.