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Martha Capello • Producer

AGPCI: young, independent and with their eyes set on Hollywood


- Cineuropa met up with producer and president of the AGPCI (Association of Young Independent Cinema Producers) Martha Capello

Martha Capello  • Producer

In June the AGPCI – (Association of Young Independent Cinema Producers) signed a partnership in Los Angeles with the Producers Guild of America, the prestigious American producers union, which will allow its associates to strengthen relations and projects in co-production with America. Cineuropa met with 33-year-old Martha Capello, president of the AGPCI.

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Cineuropa: Five years on since the birth of your association, this is an important achievement.
Martha Capello:
We see this agreement with the PGA as the beginning of a new phase in our association. In the first five years we shaped the identity of the emerging independent producer in Italy, we know that in order to ensure that this industry can grow and become increasingly stronger we must do business on an international level. Since many member producers had already started co-productions with the USA, the association wanted to put itself forward as an advocate of partnerships between the European and global Guilds.

What will you do exactly?
The greatest value in our sector is the exchange of information and contacts. Specifically the two associations will promote projects, networking, conventions, and master classes between producers and, in more general terms, they will facilitate a venue exchange for the associations themselves, like the one we have at Cinecittà Studios, which will be open to American producers. They will be able to receive information, to meet, to have access to a work station with computer and translations. All of this to create new business opportunities.

What did you think of the decree which provides for an increase in tax credit for foreign productions from the 5 to 10 million ceiling?
We had supported the request to raise the upper limit and so we’re satisfied. Two comments to make: firstly, we believe that such financial support should not weigh on the cinema fund, which supports production and cinema theatres; on the contrary, it should be placed in a specific fund within the Ministry for Economic Development since it attracts investment to Italy. This is the only goal; it’s not about culture or supporting the independent industry in Italy, rather it’s about attracting investment. And there shouldn’t be any ceiling involved.

What are in your opinion the political and legislative priorities?
We want to see more work done on the tax credit, it’s a fantastic tool, it’s automatic, it doesn’t create disparities and it’s accessible to the whole industry. The internal tax credit should be raised for independent companies, because the smallest companies need greater support. We would like to see the rate brought from 15 to 25% for all smaller sized companies with lower turnover. As for the foreign tax credit, we would like foreign investors to be given the opportunity to invest even during the distribution phase, so as to offer additional resources to the weak links in the industry, by providing new investments for P&A (Print and Advertising) and film prints. In this way if I obtain €500,000 from an investor to distribute my film, I have a stronger product and I can more easily access grater investments for production. 

In the past you’ve spoken about a distribution model that breaks with the classical tradition, about new distribution models...
We have put in place two initiatives. One of our working groups is assessing the possibility of extending the number of screens and spaces available for independent cinema. In addition, I am personally in talks with the FICE- (Italian Federation of Art house Cinema) and I am assuming that there are recognised circuits that fill cinemas for the entire yearly schedule.  Rather than creating new cinemas why don’t we create a summer cinema circuit, using the same cinemas but allowing them to remain open during the summer and thus live off a new independent circuit, with different films on offer?

What would you say to a young producer wanting to start out?
You can try to make a film with €100,000 and hope to make a good film, or you can choose a different path, like I did. I spent years building a clear and comprehensive financial plan, based on various items, including regional funds, the MiBac (Ministry of Cultural Heritage), Rai Cinema, for a bilateral co-production between Italy and Austria, with a budget that wasn’t huge but that had lots of items within it. But making a film depends above all on the enthusiasm, the passion and the heart of a single entrepreneur.

(Translated from Italian)

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