Francesca Palleschi and Ayumi Filippone • Project Manager at Alliance4Development and Matchmaker at Match Me!, Locarno Pro
“Collaboration with partners is essential at all stages of our programme”
- The two heads expanded on the goals and working methods involved in the industry initiatives planned for this year’s Locarno Film Festival
On the eve of the opening of the Locarno Film Festival, we met with Francesca Palleschi and Ayumi Filippone, Project Manager at Alliance4Development and Matchmaker at Match Me!, respectively. The two heads expanded on the role of the two initiatives and the efforts they have made when it comes to developing talent and promoting partnerships and collaborations within the film industry.
Cineuropa: What is Alliance4Development’s mission? How will it unfold?
Francesca Palleschi: Alliance4Development (A4D) was born with the aim of encouraging and fostering creative and business collaborations between countries which share geographical borders and an established co-production tradition. Initially focusing on four countries [France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland], the alliance expanded in 2022 to also include Austria, testifying to the success of this initiative and the desire of film talent and producers to step outside of their comfort zones and enhance the ways in which we make European co-productions. The selected projects are invited to take part in a rich programme composed of pitching sessions, one-on-one meetings, masterclasses, and conferences on relevant, topical themes in the audiovisual industry. And that’s without forgetting the numerous networking opportunities we organise in order to provide participants with an opportunity to expand and consolidate their own network of contacts outside of our meetings, in a more relaxed atmosphere within the magical setting of Locarno.
How did you choose this year’s projects?
F.P.: Over 70 producers hailing from the five different countries in question responded to our call. We received a considerable number of projects, all of which were high-quality. In the face of the relatively slim number of finalists (11 projects in all, two from each country and three from Switzerland), we decided to focus on the creative value of each project, on its potential for global distribution, on the solidity of the producing companies and on the possibility of co-production between the countries in question.
Who are your partners?
F.P.: A4D is possible thanks to the crucial support of the French CNC (National Film and Animation Centre), the Italian Ministry for Culture’s Film and Audiovisual Department, the FFA (Filmförderungsanstalt), the Federal Office of Culture, the Swiss MEDIA Desk and the Austrian Film Institute.
Collaboration with partners is essential at all stages of the programme, from content creation to releasing and promoting our calls for projects, which are published directly by each of our partners in their own countries. Their wide-ranging knowledge of local players, not to mention their powerful communication methods and promotion of our initiative, are indispensable to the success of our programme. A4D is also possible thanks to the support of Eurimages, who are co-organising one of our networking events and the European Producers Club, which is promoting our initiative via its communication channels. This year, moreover, we’re embarking on a new collaboration with Alphapanda by way of the Alphapanda Market Breakout Award. For the first time, in fact, our eleven selected projects will compete for a prize put forward by Alphapanda, which amounts to consultancy services to the tune of €3,000.
What advantages have participants of previous editions enjoyed? How has the event supported their careers?
F.P.: The main aim of our activity is that participants always benefit from rapid and objective feedback on their projects from international professionals. Whether positive or negative, they’re given the personal and direct opinion of a professional person experienced in analysing international projects. Some projects have found partners via A4D, while others were subsequently able to identify their own weak points, enabling them to modify their offering. All feedback is helpful!
One of our most recent success stories is Continental Drift (South) [+see also:
interview: Lionel Baier
film profile] by Lionel Baier, produced by Pauline Gygax and Max Karli on behalf of Bandita Films. Selected for A4D in 2018, the film debuted in Cannes 2022 before being presented out of competition in Locarno in 2022. Renaissance by Caterina Mona, which was produced by Michela Pini for Cinédokké, also took part in A4D in 2018 and was selected for Locarno First Look’s WIP section in 2021 - which focused on Switzerland – and became Semret [+see also:
interview: Caterina Mona
film profile]. It’s due to be presented in the Piazza Grande this year.
And how about MatchMe!? How will it unfold? How did you choose the 32 producers taking part in the initiative?
Ayumi Filippone: This year, the Match Me! networking platform, which is now at its 7th edition, will revolve around 32 emerging producers hailing from 12 different countries, both within (Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK) and outside of Europe (the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Taiwan), and boasting impressive gender parity. Between 5 and 7 August, the selected producers will get the chance to take part in individual meetings with international industry professionals, as well as participate in more informal activities, such as networking lunches and the various events organised by Locarno Pro. Match Me! will support these selected producers with the aim of broadening their horizons in terms of collaborations, relationships and partnerships: an essential step for getting on in the thrilling world of international co-production. Just like the other Locarno Pro projects, Match Me! can rely on essential collaboration with partner institutes, which allows us to gain access to local producers in each of the countries where our official calls are launched. Submissions are then assessed by the Locarno Pro team.
(Translated from Italian)
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