VALLÉE D’AOSTE/Beyond Borders

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PAYING ATTENTION TO LOCAL PRODUCERS

Broad Peak, rez. Leszek Dawid, fot. Franciszek Mazur/East Studio

Shooting has recently ended in Courmayeur on the Polish movie “Broad Peak”, directed by Leszek Dawid, produced by East Studios.
It is an important movie with a budget of around € 4 million, which has also received support from the Film Fund of the Film Commission Vallée d’Aoste: € 80,000 obtained also thanks to the entry into the production team of a local co-producer, Luca Bich, with his L’Eubage.

Abandoning the clothing of the Karakorum (the film crew was based in the Torino refuge at a height of 3375 meters on the top of the Skyway cable car at Courmayeur), the region is preparing to welcome around fifty international documentary producers who will meet in Aosta from March 2 to 7 for one of the three sessions of Eurodoc, the training course for producers that also includes an intensive workshop open to 12 local producers.

These are two of the many facets making up the revamped internationalization strategy of the Film Commission Vallée d’Aoste.
A journey that gives itself a three year horizon which is rooted in the attempt to help the team of local professionals grow into adults, a process that already began a couple of years ago with the new regulations for the film fund in support of productions which were rewritten in 2018 and is also flanked by the new open call for development.

Alessandra Miletto

“The guiding principle was to raise the bar for local producers who, until then, had moved in the ‘comfort zone’ of the Doc Film Fund, the open call that supported documentaries and was almost entirely dedicated to them”, says Alessandra Miletto, director of the Fondazione Film Commission Vallée d’Aoste: “We wanted to make them compete on the same pitch as ‘first division’ productions like “Rocco Schiavone”, for example, with which the resources available have to be contended, naturally maintaining the rewards reserved for regional stories, local filmmakers and producers”.

The strategy has actually been structured by the discussions held with the members of the committee assessing the open calls, in particular with Alessandra Pastore, an expert in markets and production training, with broad expertise in the financial, legal, contractual fields and a wide-ranging network of relations with important European co-production forums, from Vilnius to When East Meets West.

“They had worked a lot in the Valle d’Aosta on increasing the attractiveness of the region: the technical level of the professionals here is very high, but they had had trouble seeing projects from the Vallée d’Aoste grow outside the region, i.e. there was no internationalization path aimed at boosting the ability of the producers to access funds and apply for international co-productions” explains Alessandra Pastore.
A path that the film commission is now setting up, availing itself of the collaboration of Pastore as an external consultant.

“We are trying to create ad hoc initiatives, to bring decision makers to the region, also to carry out match-making on projects, just like with ‘Broad Peak’” continues Pastore. “I knew the project which had already done some filming in the Valle d’Aosta, albeit only on the level of an on-site visit, and I found it again at Cinelink, the Sarajevo Film Festival market, where I got the chance to talk to the producers who, after filming in Asia, were looking for gap financing.”

Pastore cleverly joined up the film commission with the production, thanks to which the latter found an associate producer in the Vallée d’Aoste through which it could apply for the fund: “It was the last project supported in 2019 and generated expenditure of around € 200,000 in the territory, with the hiring of many local workers, starting with the alpine guides and other mountain professionals” explains Miletto.

The release of the film, which is attracting a lot of attention from international sales agents, is planned for January 2021.
“It is an interesting production operation” reveals Pastore, “with funding that combines public investment – in addition to the Vallée d’Aoste fund, the movie was supported by the Polish Film Institute which provided a fourth of the budget – and private individuals.
It is a movie that, despite its high ambitions and commercial value, artistically remains European.”

Nella sezione: Focus on italy