Producer on the Move 2008 - Italy
by Gabriele Barcaro - Camillo de Marco
Cineuropa: Many of the films that you’ve produced were debut features or shorts by filmmakers who are well-known today: Cristiano Bortone, Davide Marengo, Francesco Munzi (this year at Cannes with his second film). What guides you in choosing projects?
Daniele Mazzocca: For me, each film is a prototype, unique. I don’t really have set guidelines – above all it’s the director, the subject and the quality of the screenplay. This combination is the first synergy that guides me. It’s a cocktail, a comparison/confrontation in which I like to actively participate. If we all ultimately have the same film in mind then we begin the artistic and production analyses, which are often synonymous with challenge and adventure, which I really like.
In general, I try and produce films that I’d like to see in the cinema. I’m interested above all in current stories, even better if they’re symbolic and universal, of our society, of everyday life. Stories that are close to us, that belong to us, but the existence of which we sometimes ignore (or forget).
Has it been difficult to find funding for your projects?
Always! It may be that in Italy everything seems more difficult than in other countries but we’ve had to work very hard for each film. Not only to produce them – to distribute them as well. Those who know the Italian market and its dynamics know that being an independent producer in Italy is equal to crossing the Mediterranean in a canoe. That is to say, it can be done, but what a struggle! I hoped that with the across-the-board recognition Saimir [+see also:
film profile] received and the David di Donatello award (our Oscar) for Bortone’s Red Like the Sky [+see also:
film profile] things could change, but that’s not how it was. It’s a continuous uphill climb and there is no meritocracy...but we don’t give up.
How do you feel about selected as a Producer on the Move? Will you bring a project in development to Cannes, perhaps to find international co-producers?
I’m extremely satisfied. I know Producers on the Move and think it’s a very important initiative, not only in that you can concretely compare the projects that the participants are developing, but also to consolidate the network of contacts with our European colleagues. If we meet, we can develop films together, collaborating on them from their inception. This makes it more probable to have more concrete results in various territories.
This year we’re taking to Cannes The Lost World Cup, a.k.a El Mundial Olvidado, a film that from the start was conceived as a European co-production. Given the difficulties we encounter producing within and for the Italian market, the production philosophy adopted for this project was to work on a film with great international appeal, for a wide audience and very much tied to the media machine of the next World Football Championships of 2010. It is a co-production conceived for sharing the production strain and risk with foreign partners, in order to give the project secure visibility in more territories. Marketing people seem to very much like it and we have no lack of interesting production and commercial offers.
What is the film about?
It is a true and incredible story of the 1942 world football championships. A comical mockumentary that helps to rediscover the identity and universal values of the sport that today’s football has forgotten, market-oriented and globalised as it has become. It’s also an opportunity to depict Europe and its people during WWII, which did not spare the 1942 championships. The film is inspired by Osvaldo Soriano’s famous short story "El hijo de Butch Cassidy” (literally, “Butch Cassidy’s Son”), which reconstructed the events behind that championship, which was played in Patagonia and never officially recognised. Through the research conducted and the surprising archive material found from that era (that viewers have never seen), the film successfully depicts the matches that are today shrouded in legend. The main characters include many of today’s well-known football players.
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