From east to west, the co-production opportunities converge and multiply: the map of this theatrical geography is visible in the projects presented at When East Meets West, the co-production market organized by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund, directed by Paolo Vidali, the sixth edition of which was held, under the guidance of Alessandro Gropplero, in Trieste from 24 to 26 January, during the Trieste Film Festival.
“Although we have been talking about the importance of international co- productions for many years now, recently I have noticed that they are on the increase and, as far as we are concerned, extending beyond our traditional partners, France and Brazil, towards new countries, such as the Balkans, for example”.
These are the words of Nuno Fonseca, head of the Portuguese ICA (Istituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual), who is on the panel dedicated to co- production opportunities between Italy, Spain, Portugal and Latin America, the countries which were the focus of this year’s edition.
In fact, the projects selected for the WEMW pitching forum also included a story that lends itself to being a co-production between Portugal and Bosnia Herzegovina, “The tree”, written and directed by André Gil Mata and produced by Joana Ferreira for C.R.I.M.
Fonseca’s statement is confirmed and strengthened by the negotiations about a co-development agreement between Portugal and Italy launched at WEMW which, apart from becoming an ever more important networking event that is increasingly frequented and appreciated by members of the trade, is also a useful occasion for political-institutional debate: in fact, it does not just connect producers but contributes to creating the right conditions for making it easier to realize co-productions. Co-development agreements are a precious tool in this regard.
In addition to Portugal, in Trieste the MiBACT also started negotiations for a co-development agreement with Chile: “to date there have only been a couple of co-productions between Italy and Chile. Not one Chilean project was presented this year so the agreement will serve to remedy this situation by creating a bond between the producers of the respective countries”, says Martín Rodríguez Castillo, head of the Fondo de Fomento Audiovisual Chile.
“I was not aware of a co-production fund between Italy and Brazil, it was Alessandro Gropplero who told me about it at the San Sebastian festival and he invited me to Trieste so that I could learn more”.
“We will meet with our Portuguese and Chilean partners again in Berlin; and then, at the Cannes festival we would like to organize a networking event to encourage more contact between producers in our three countries “, adds Chiara Fortuna of Mibact.
The Italy-Brazil co-development fund has been active since 2012, “there is a very strong cultural connection between Italy and Brazil, 40% of the inhabitants of Sao Paulo have Italian ancestors, there is a great potential for stories that should be encouraged”, says André Sturm, director of Cinema do Brasil. Daniele Mazzocca, an Italian producer who has specialized in Latin American stories with his Verdeoro, talked (in the “East & West Side Stories” section) about his film “Road 47”, about the Brazilian soldiers who fought in Italy during the Second World War.
Made before the co-development funds were activated, the film still benefitted from the co-production treaty between Italy and Brazil, receiving financing of 70% (20% Italian and 10% Portuguese), despite being entirely filmed in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
“One of the advantages of co-producing with Brazil is that the funding is not tied to the need to carry out expenditure in the region; we support Brazilian stories, even if they take place outside our country”. Verdeoro will receive support from the co-development fund for “Absolute Palate”, the new movie by Francesco Falaschi, which once again will be filmed entirely in Italy.