Just as the film follows a truck driver along the infamous Corridor 5 (one of the main pan-European transport corridors, which according to EU designs should connect Lisbon with Kiev), the director found financing along the story’s development road.
The film’s €350,000 budget, however, belies a larger project whose complex financial structure, cobbled together by the filmmaker – who also produced “TIR” with Nadia Trevisan, for Nefertiti Film, in coproduction with Croatia’s Irena Markovic of Focus Media – offers “an extremely innovative production model”.
So says Paolo Vidali, director of the Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) Audiovisual Fund, whose €10,000 contribution got the film rolling.
Fasulo is from Friuli, and “TIR” is very a much a “Made in FVG” product, as emphasizes Federico Poillucci, president of the FVG Film Commission: “Alberto was the first local filmmaker to be financed by our territory. The Film Commission gave ‘White Noise’ €20,000, when he was a debut filmmaker, but now he’s a professional. Subsequently, the investments from the Film Commission (€50,000) and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Fund doubled.”
“Fasulo’s professional growth is also the product of the film industry policies of the region, and therefore of the Film Commission and the FVG Audiovisual Fund”, continues Poillucci. “Our satisfaction over his selection in the Rome Film Festival follows on the heels of the selection of ‘Zoran, My The Idiot Nephew’ in Venice’s International Critics’ Week, because while outside production companies coming here are economically stronger and can offer more work than these two films,our having also invested in the growth of local talent and companies was fundamental.”
From within the cab of a truck the film speaks about humanity and goods, two streams that flow through Europe, interconnecting the work- force that migrates from east to west with capital that migrates from west to east.
During the journey, which begins in Friuli Venezia Giulia, the filmmaker’s talent guided that of the producer: Trevisan successfully converged the interests of many territories, companies and institutions.
She also got RAI Cinema involved in the pre-acquisitions stage.
“This is the only way to make this kind of film, like a puzzle”, offers Cecilia Valmarana of RAI Cinema. “Alberto managed to bring together not only the various film commissions, but also local companies, perhaps precisely because this union of forces was truly innate to the project, and not aimed merely at getting financing, as is often the case.”
Valmarana met Fasulo at the When East Meets West Co-production Forum in Trieste two years ago, and was immediately enthralled by “TIR”.
“I saw ‘White Noise’, which really moved me, and one of my colleagues had seen ‘Atto di Dolore’, so we kept good track of Alberto.
Many had tried to tell the story of Corridor 5, but I thought that Alberto had the patience, skill and intellectual honesty to do it. And the right production approach. Plus I was curious about this way of making a narrative film, preparing it like a documentary, and the idea that it’s a very European story, that unites various countries. It may not be a box office hit, but it will withstand the test of time. There are things that have to be made, and ‘TIR’ was one of them”.
The Piedmont region also boarded the project from the get-go. “We’ve known about ‘TIR’ since its conception, when it was still called ‘Cor- ridoio 5’”, says Paolo Manera, head of the Piemonte Doc Film Fund.
“In fact, we met Alberto Fasulo at Documentary in Europe in Bardonecchia in 2008, when he was starting the project, which he then submitted to the Doc Film Fund’s December 2008 tender, from which he obtained €5,000 in development money. Later, Fasulo spent a week researching and writing in the Piedmont region, a very decisive week for the development stage.”
“TIR” went on to the secure €12,000 for its production (from the December 2011 tender). Adds Manera: “We chose this project in part for its potential to establish a partnership and launch comprehensive forms of financing, and because it was able to build a solid co-production structure.”
The Val D’Aosta Film Commission gave “TIR” €10,000 in financing that, as Film Commission head Alessandra Miletto explains, “was part of a much broader project. In fact, we took advantage of Alberto’s presence in the territory, in April 2012, to organize a training workshop on the use of sound in Alberto’s films, which from its very title was extremely unique –‘Il racconto sonoro nel mio film’ [‘The sound story in my film’] – and which had 12 participants, including filmmakers and technicians from Val D’Aosta. It was important for us, because it was the first training initiative for local professionals that we organized in the territory, with a professional of Alberto’s caliber.”
Filming along the A22 Modena Brennero highway also got the Alto Adige Region involved, specifically the Film Fund & Commission BLS Südtirol-Alto Adige, which gave €10,000 in financing. “We were struck by the story of this truck driver who crosses Europe and the countries’ borders, passing through anonymous territories and toll booths”, says Alexia Demez, a Film Funding Consultant with the BLS. “We invest a lot in co-productions, and this one was particularly interesting, because there was a partner like Croatia, which doesn’t happen often, and which is one of the new, emerging territories of Eastern Europe. The produc- tion then also chose to invest in our territory, doing some of the post- production (the special effects) here, hiring several local workers and producing a rather high ‘Alto Adige effect’ of roughly 173%.”
“Tir” is distributed in Italy by Tucker Film. Fandango Portobello handles International Sales.