“I seek out co-productions so as to meet new talents and to work on different stories”
Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
Marica Stocchi • Producer, Rosamont
The Italian producer talks about her experience so far with the new company she has created alongside actor Giuseppe Battiston
After her experience with Minimum Fax Media, Marica Stocchi joined forces with actor Giuseppe Battiston in 2019 to create the independent production company Rosamont. The firm made its debut with Emma Dante’s The Macaluso Sisters [+see also:
film profile], which won the Pasinetti Prize both for the cast and for the film itself at the 2020 Venice Film Festival. Battiston’s directorial debut Due is due to enter into production soon but, in the meantime, Rosamont is working on Emma Dante’s upcoming film Misericordia and has signed numerous international co-productions: minority deals for Israeli films Honeymood by Talya Lavie, Here We Are [+see also:
film profile] by Nir Bergman, and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Eran Riklis, and with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia for Ordinary Failures by Cristina Grosan (news), and a majority contract with Belgian outfit Tarantula for Daniele Vicari’s Orlando. Stocchi has been selected as one of the EFP’s Producers on the Move for 2021.
Cineuropa: What stage is Battiston’s Due at?
Marica Stocchi: Shooting will kick off on 7 June. Giuseppe based the screenplay on “Bouvard et Pécuchet”, Gustave Flaubert’s unfinished novel which was published posthumously in 1881. Two copyists meet and realise they do the same job and share the same interests, especially agriculture. But Battiston’s directorial approach is far gentler than Flaubert’s, who was very critical and scathing.
Do you think co-production adds value to the final film product?
I think it’s a wonderful experience, but I prefer to be a minority partner. I like looking for films in need of a minority partner and I enjoy all the perks that come with it: looking for funding for projects which come to light in other countries, meeting new talents and working on stories in different ways. When it comes to films which are created in Italy and which I’m a majority partner on, co-production is a far more painful process. I don’t see co-productions as additional sources of funding, I think they should only be made when it makes sense for the film, for solid artistic or market-based reasons. Otherwise, I don’t think they’re worthwhile because co-production increases the cost of the film. In the case of The Macaluso Sisters, it didn’t make sense because even though Emma Dante is new to film, she’s already an established name in the theatre world; they love her in France, and she’s a director with a very personal and free approach. The film would have been held back by a mixed crew and foreign actresses, so I didn’t insist. I made an entirely Italian film. In terms of Battiston’s movie, whose protagonists take refuge in the Friulian countryside, it made more sense to co-produce with a neighbouring country such as Slovenia and with a producer, Staragara, who had already worked with Giuseppe on Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot [+see also:
interview: Matteo Oleotto
film profile]. Orlando by Daniele Vicari is mostly shot in Belgium so it’s natural we cooperate with that country.
So co-production should be of help to the film?
The beauty of this line of work is understanding the best possible path for a film based on the director’s specifications. In Emma’s case, allowing her to choose the entire cast isn’t an issue because she can direct anybody; drawing out what she needs from actors is one of her strong suits. Sometimes having famous actors, who are generally very good, helps you to bring the film to light and increase its visibility. You need to work out the best possible paths on a case-by-case basis, without ever forcing the project, but by going along with it, because a project is composed of a story and a director.
Co-productions with Israel are rare for an Italian company.
We were the first to engage in an official co-production with Israel. There was a very old bilateral co-production agreement in place, which was renewed in 2019. I was invited to Jerusalem as part of a case study, to talk about our first co-production after shooting Here We Are. I’m drawn to the complexity of that country and the different voices it represents. There’s an air of freedom there among artists who want to tell stories without political positions. I’ve got another film in development, with Eran Riklis who directed Lemon Tree [+see also:
film profile] and The Syrian Bride, which is an adaptation of Azar Nafisi’s bestseller “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.
What are your expectations of Producers on the Move and what are you bringing to the initiative?
I’ve taken part in the Eave workshop, in the Rotterdam Lab and in other gatherings, but this time I haven’t really thought about what I’m expecting. I know that I’ll get the opportunity to meet producers from other countries and compare the ways we work, hear stories, potentially find new projects to co-produce. It’s an extraordinary opportunity because the EFP puts us in touch with marketing managers, international sales agents whom I haven’t yet met and whom I could initiate a dialogue with. I have quite a few projects between my hands right now and I’m very proud of it. I’ll improvise.
(Translated from Italian)
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