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Manuela Cacciamani • Producer

“Technology at the service of tradition”


- Cacciamani talks to us about her new production with Onemore Pictures, the thriller In fondo al bosco by Stefano Lodovichi, made with Sky Cinema and released in Italian theatres on 19 November

Manuela Cacciamani  • Producer

The first film she produced, Fairytale, was sold all over the world and her second film production, Neverlake, was one of the 15 most watched films on Netflix USA. It’s no surprise then, that when Sky Italia came to producing its first film for the big screen, it thought of her. Manuela Cacciamani, class of 1976, studied at the NY Film Academy. In 2006 she founded Onemore Pictures, and since 2009 she has been the managing director of VFX and post-production company Direct2Brain. Recently she partnered up with Sky Cinema to produce In fondo al bosco [+see also:
interview: Manuela Cacciamani
film profile
, the second piece by 32-year-old Stefano Lodovichi (director of Aquadro [+see also:
film review
film profile
- see review), which was shot in Trentino and stars Filippo Nigro and Camilla Filippi. The film, which is a mix of the thriller, fantasy and horror genres, tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of a child – in the woods, during the traditional Krampus costume parade – and his equally mysterious return five years later. In 100 theatres from 19 November with Notorious Pictures.

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Cineuropa: How did your partnership with Sky come about? 
Manuela Cacciamani: I got a telephone call from Sky Italia. They wanted to meet me because they saw the second film I produced, Neverlake by Riccardo Paoletti, at the Cannes market, and were struck by the quality and genre, being a wholly Italian production (with Rai Cinema, in that case). I was trained in digital production, in producing pieces with strong visual impact, with international appeal. Originally they proposed a remake of a French series (Les Revenants) but then that fell through. On that occasion I suggested Stefano, and they liked him. Then this other, perhaps bigger, project came along: to make a film for the big screen. It turned disappointment into an opportunity. We sat down with Stefano and thought about what we could do that would be visionary yet feasible given the limited budget.

And yet you wouldn’t have thought that the film was made on a budget.
It didn’t cost much. It was all shot in one location over the space of four weeks, and we ran over schedule by just two hours, thanks to our fantastic young and enthusiastic team (editor’s note: the average age of the team was 28-30 years-old). There are two things that make the production value of this film higher than it actually is. The first is that it makes the most of what the characters and the environment, have to offer, the Krampus and Trentino, which are visually very rich in themselves. The other is the way these are brought together with digital visual effects, which allowed us to make the film using the most advanced technologies available on the market.

What guidelines does Onemore Pictures follow?
There are three things that are important: the plot, tradition and technology. A project won’t get off the ground if it isn’t based on a good idea. The Italian tradition of genre is very strong and teaches us that genre can work. We don’t need to ape what others are doing because we have it in our DNA, we have to have trust ourselves a bit more and be aware that technology is there to be used by this tradition, it should be acknowledged and used. You can’t produce a film in 2015 without having some grasp on new technology. Sometimes you don’t include things in the screenplay that you think might be too expensive, but then you find a way. It’s something that needs to be addressed at a cultural level.

We hear you’re already working on another project with Lodovichi?
Yes, the English title is Pip Fisher and The Secret of Otzi, and it’s about the most famous mummy in the world, the Similaun Man, which was preserved for 5300 years under a glacier and stumbled upon by a group of tourists in 1991. Today it is on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano. The film will be a fictitious, warm-hearted piece about the mummy, which comes back to life before a child with the two of them setting off on an adventure together. It will be a family film with lots of plot twists. The project is currently under development with Rai Cinema and BLS, filming will be in English and production is set to start in January 2016.

What kind of distribution will In fondo al bosco have?
We’re still in discussions over who will handle sales abroad. Everything’s happened so quickly, we only finished post-production at the end of August. The previous two films I worked on were in English, which helped them sell in just a few hours. In this case, we’ll have to see if the fact that the film is in Italian will limit its appeal. At any rate, the Krampus are very famous in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, etc. Meanwhile we’ll try our luck at the market at Berlin. 

(Translated from Italian)

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