Country Focus: Italy
Olivier Père • Managing Director, ARTE France Cinéma
- We interviewed Olivier Père about ARTE France Cinéma, a production company focuses on auteur films
(This article has been published in Le Film Français - Supplement Italy 2016)
ARTE France Cinema boasts an editorial policy based on auteur films with a European twist, so it’s only natural to try to help and co-produce not only Italy’s grandmasters, but also its young auteurs as well.
Among the most recent Italian co-productions supported by ARTE Cinéma France last year, feature most notably Nanni Moretti’s My Mother [+see also:
interview: Nanni Moretti
film profile], Roberto Minervini’s The Other Side [+see also:
interview: Roberto Minervini
film profile], and Gianfranco Rosi’s world-renowned Fire at Sea [+see also:
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile], winner of the Golden Bear this year that will be released in France in September.
Of course, those aren’t the only ones you’ll find. We also co-produced Alessandro Comodin’s Happy Times Will Come Soon [+see also:
film profile], which should be ready sometime this year. So, as you can see, we have an editorial policy based on auteur films, and not just French ones. The European dimension is something that runs to the heart of ARTE. It’s only natural for us to try to support and co-produce both grandmasters and young auteurs of Italian cinema alike. We are paying particular attention to this new generation, we love Minervini and Comodin’s work, and I hope that in the future, we are able to help other names in this new Italian wave.
So Italian cinema has renewed appeal when compared to the past?
Yes, we noticed that there were a lot of talented new directors, and not just Romans, represented at big international festivals. I’d also suggest that there is a new “southern school” of Neapolitan and Sicilian cinema. I’m talking about films like Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s Salvo [+see also:
interview: Fabio Grassadonia and Anton…
interview: Sara Serraiocco
film profile], which we supported, Leonardo Di Costanzo’s The Interval [+see also:
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
film profile], and Comodin’s Summer of Giacomo [+see also:
film profile], for example. We’re keeping an eye on these filmmakers’ projects. I think that in Italy, as in other countries like France, Spain and Romania, that we celebrate any new artistic wave in the film industry. It’s obvious that we continue to support and take an interest in the work of directors such as Nanni Moretti, Marco Bellocchio and others. So I think that partnerships with these new filmmakers is a lot more attactive, though.
How does support from ARTE France Cinéma take shape?
We don’t work directly with Italian producers, before we can do anything we need a French co-producer to be on board, who will act as our direct contact. There are some tight-knit bonds between Italy and France and a strong tradition of co-production. In France, we have a lot of producers who specialise in the area and are more interested in Italian cinema than others. So, in general, those are the ones who bring us the projects. I think that there is always a desire to see a special story play out, something original, that distances itself from the commercial or productions destined for the small screen. We have a very definite focus on auteur films. We are looking for art that has been developed in an environment, which we know, isn’t easy, due to the current crisis the film industry is going through. But the fires of creation are starting to burn in new regions, and not necessarily ones known for their cinema tradition. I think that there are also a lot of exceptional young Italian producers, such as Paolo Benzi, who has done some excellent work and supports these new directors. So, we often throw or support behind new filmmakers’ ambitious projects and stories, who have a much stronger vision than classical cinema.
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