It is very rare, in Italy, that the director of a Film Commission is not a native of the place”: Turin’s Jacopo Chessa jokes about his “record”.
Chessa, who has experience as a cultural researcher and organizer having led the Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio (National Short Film Center) for years and having founded the Torino Short Film Market, one of the main international industry events for the short format, has recently been appointed as the director of the Fondazione Veneto Film Commission; but he immediately adds, more seriously: “I am received very favorably by the local professionals I meet. They have big – and justified – expectations from the Veneto Film Commission. Over the last few years film commissions have become essential points of reference not only for the production sector, but also for other subjects in the audiovisual world”.
Chessa’s appointment was formalized on January 10, 2020, by the board of directors chaired by journalist Luigi Bacialli (director of the television group Medianordest), which is made up of editorial consultant Giacomo Brunoro, Cecilia Valmarana, head of Rai Movie, entrepreneur Vittorio Dalle Ore and Giulia Lavarone, professor at the University of Padua.
Following a lengthy gestation, with the appointment of the director, the Film Commission, the establishment of which was announced at the last edition of the Venice Film Festival, becomes fully operational. And it is getting off to a “good” start by being flanked by an important regional Fund which amounts to around € 5 million for 2020.
Boosted by his “external point of view”, Chessa grasps the special nature of this region of mountains, sea, cities of art, industrial archeology and the Po Delta celebrated by Soldati, Antonioni and Mazzacurati, and the many other places inevitably overshadowed by the most famous city in the world, Venice, a tourist destination as well as the set of blockbusters and arthouse films, from Woody Allen to the Marvel series and James Bond.
The Film Commission is called upon to do its bit: “there are companies, professionals, investors… but they lacked a reference point. The film commission was born with two promises: regional promotion and pro- duction chain coordination”.
The first steps: to collect ideas and suggestions from sector professionals, managers and organizers: “From my first meetings I have got the sensation that there is a great desire to give the audiovisual world of the Veneto region a more distinct face: there are production houses that have quite an important history and move on a high level, as well as entities that are still little known, like animation and digital effects”.
Veneto is a versatile region, a breeding ground for stories, places, images. The potential of the people of Veneto is linked to the land where they live and open to the rest of the world, as their history demonstrates. The spotlight directed towards the Region by the Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina will also be a fundamental driving force for initiatives, events and investments that will touch the territory, and the audiovisual sector will play a leading role in this.
Also, “the top Italian festival is held in Veneto, the Venice Film Festival, which is a fantastic international showcase with which we will dialogue and, I am certain, establish an interesting collaboration”.
With regard to the Festival, on the occasion of the “debut” of the Film Commission last September at the Lido, the president Bacialli, illustrating the guidelines of the Fondazione Veneto Film Commission – to attract international co-productions and maximize workers in the region – added: “the challenge will, above all, regard the efficiency, credibility and central position that the Fondazione is able to assume”.
Does Jacopo Chessa, who will have to translate words into actions, feel able to keep this promise as well?
“This assignment, in a film commission that needs to be built from scratch, is a challenge. I don’t really like the rhetoric of the ‘challenge’, but I say that, above all, it is an opportunity and an honor. And the points indicated by president Bacialli are, for us, a duty”.