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Les Arcs “Industry Village”: a conversation with the artisans of Alps cinema
Three producers talks about the importance of collaboration between regional companies and how to finance their projects.
A cozy room with a snowy view is the perfect spot for producers to meet each other. This is the aim of the collateral event of the “Focus Alpine” film section in Les Arcs Film Festival. During the first day of the Industry Village activities, an express pitching is held, with little chats between people from the European Alps film productions. Even if there’s little time for the activity, some of the participants have time to be interviewed.
Enrica Cortese is one of the founders of Aries Film, set in Aosta (Italy), and she is in charge of the creative production and distribution. In her region, there are only two film production companies and Aries Film is the youngest one, within not a single person to have more than forty years old. The production studio has only made short movies and they’re here in Les Arcs searching for a collaboration for their first feature film, hoping to start in 2024. The particularity of Aries Film is that it has been founded by a previous artistic collective and actors, with the need of exploring other parts of the industry, trying to be useful for the young and local movie creators. Enrica, in fact, settled in Rome as an actress but at a certain point she felt interested in the creative process of films: she came back with the challenge of bringing cinema to her little and mountainous region and, at the same time, taking out ideas from people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in cinema and culture. “I want national and international spectators to discover my region, and also the public from my places to discover cinema and my work, because they don’t understand it”, Enrica says. Even if big productions - on a different level - have the same challenges as the small ones, the local productions have to face some financial limits that can affect the autonomy of the project. To overcome some of these limits, the existence of film festivals like Les Arcs is vital to the survival of regional productions: sharing experiences and linking with institutions and other countries. And, apart from the fairy scenario, what differentiates Les Arcs Film Festival from other ones is the facility to create nets and relationships. As Enrica says, “a real community of cinema”.
Also Marco Caberlotto, searching for a project with Kublai Film and Veneto Film Commission, thinks that Les Arcs is great to make new connections and return home with new ideas. From his point of view, meeting people from the industry in front of a coffee instead of a formal event creates better relationships, especially for the minoritarian productions, which are growing more and more in the last years. As he says, Italy is helping to increase this type of projects thanks to special funds, like the “Italian Minoritarian Fund”, which has been activated since a couple of years ago. For him, the key to make it work in financial terms is to co-produce the movies between different countries at European level. If it is complicated to produce a movie, it becomes much easier if you have international partners, for example opening paths to have a bigger distribution. But it’s not only a commercial issue: “mixing together people with different backgrounds, experiences and ways of working is healthy for the creative aspect”, Marco concludes. As a small producer, Caberlotto believes in the strong relationship with the film he’s doing, following the process from the beginning to the end and taking care about the movie. “I like to say that we producers are the artisans in the film industry and I personally have this feeling because I come from a family of crafters”.
It is the first festival for Petra Tartarotti and the first pitch meeting that she ever had too. She’s in Les Arcs representing Albolina Film, founded in Bolzano (South Tyrol) in 2012 as a support activity for other productions, working as service producer for more than forty films along with established European film companies. As for Kublai, Albolina is helped by the presence of public aid: the birth of IDM, the South Tyrol Film Commission, has been a strong push for the local cinema system, Petra says. At the same time, Albolina is trying to learn how to start their own projects, as the fortune of their first documentary (The Sunken Village, 2018) proves. In 2022, for example, as minoritarian Albolina entered for the first time in a co-production with Fenixfilm, a latvian company, for Sisters, the 38th Warsaw Film Festival winner. When they work on their own, they try to be guided by their taste and to choose what they really like, starting from the story and the theme the film can convey.
These professionals can be seen as a representation of the environment of contemporary European cinema. And also, the voices of local industries and the relationship within them. It is a community where the quality of the work is guided by not only the need of survival, but also the desire to create original proposals and discover new talents.
By Sofía Romera and Paolo Rissicini (MIOB Journalism Lab)