The new Puglia Region and Apulia Film Commission [AFC] Film Fund 2018-2020 will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival with an event inside the Producers Network.
A fund which the AFC’s director, Antonio Parente, defines as being “more robust and slim”. More robust in terms of the financial allocations which will be almost tripled; slimmer from the point of view of the clarity, the comprehensibility and, above all, the speed of the feedback: “bureaucratic waiting times will tend to be reduced, bringing them from 90 days down to 60”.
What are the new Fund’s objectives?
The aim is to support projects that significantly impact the region. We would like to attract increasingly bigger series and international feature projects with important budgets, paying particular attention to co-productions.
Our ambition is to export our production system in addition to offering locations that, in any case, remains one of our principal assets: this is confirmed by the increase in incoming productions and the spike in requests for photos and location scouting.
What is the function of the “Cineports” of Bari, Lecce and Foggia?
Our “cineports” are three pivotal centers which, with their mediation and hospitality activities, make people operating in the sector feel at home and which will help us to ‘spread’ audiovisual activities from the traditionally more active areas like Bari or Salento, to up-and-coming areas: I am thinking of the province of Taranto and its settings that are comparable to Naples or Barcelona, to unexplored regions like Murgia and Le Gravine that really lend themselves to costume or experimental productions and that allow us to promote unique scenarios.
Internationalization is a distinctive aspect of your strategies. How do you intend to combine local requirements with international ambitions?
Our objective is to synchronize local production capacity with the international production panorama.
In the last two years we have initiated relationships with the film industries of non-EU countries with the intention of attracting co-productions.
Our presence was not coincidental at the American Film Market, at Foco Itàlia, the rendezvous dedicated to co-productions between Italy and Brazil at the Rio Festival, at the Shanghai Festival, all made possible thanks to the Puglia Region which, for over a decade, has chosen the theatrical and audiovisual sector as a cluster to be afforded an ongoing focus.
We are working a lot on the markets of North and South America, of Ukraine (in April Puglia hosted a delegation of 25 Ukrainian producers and scriptwriters accompanied by institutions that were interested in the film commission and in our production model), Eastern Europe (a lot of the Polish movie “The Little Crusader”, winner of the Crystal Globe for Best Film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, was filmed in Puglia and in the Gargano area,), Russia and China.
The Bifest in Bari, which ended on 28th April, hosted a Russian and a Chinese delegation made up of institutions, sector entrepreneurs and filmmakers.
Is the Apulia Cinefestival Network, the network of 9 festivals held in Puglia, also part of the ‘local and global’ strategy?
Whilst on the one hand the system of festivals spread over the region in terms of time and space is a way of maximizing local production (I am mainly thinking of the festivals dedicated to documentaries like the Festa del Cinema del Reale [Reality Film Festival] in Specchia, or those that valorize short films as production assets), on the other hand they promote international film culture, offering hospitality to international directors and filmmakers who, in this way, also get to know Puglia as a production system.
During the last edition, in April, of the European Film Festival in Lecce, for example, the Hungarian director Ildikó Eneydi, Golden Bear at the Berlinale 2017, asked us to organize some location scouting for her next work immediately after the Cannes Film Festival.
We have had many requests in general from international stakeholders who have asked us to verify the compatibility of their projects with Puglia and with the fund’s ability to meet international requirements. But often, more than a financial lever, the professionalism of the technicians in Puglia is fundamental as well as our ability to intercept and promote creative and technical processes.
We have the finest editors, scriptwriters, filmmakers, special effects professionals, and another of our objectives is to ensure the return to Puglia of that diaspora that we (and more or less the whole Italian production system), have been subjected to in recent years. For example, the fund envisages the reimbursement of 50% of the cost of workers who are resident in Puglia.
How do you intend to support local production?
Over the years we have created ad hoc funds for production companies and directors from Puglia, and funding linked to the memory and maximization of the socio-cultural complexity and excellences of southern Italy through cinema.
A new feature for 2018 is the Social Film Fund – Con il Sud the result of the shared interest of the Fondazione Apulia Film Commission and the Fondazione CON IL SUD, dedicated to drama shorts and creative documentaries that portray the South through the social phenomena characterizing it; they are realized in collaboration with audiovisual firms and professionals and organizations in the Third and voluntary sector.
Then there will be a Development Fund, a fund that was first announced by the AFC and will now be promoted by the Region. It will be available concurrently with the ministerial and the European fund: a kind of hothouse for projects which can subsequently be connected to the main Film Fund.
Our mission is to complete the production chain, to make all the phases of realizing a project in Puglia sustainable, from the writing to the theater release. This year we are also trying to consolidate those assets that, until now, were not our specific competence, like animation, post-production, the setting up of small film studios.