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Jacopo Chessa • Director, Torino Short Film Market

"A market and hotbed for talent"


- Jacopo Chessa talks about the Torino Short Film Market, Italy’s only short film market, which is due to take place from 29 November to 1 December as part of the 35th Torino Film Festival

Jacopo Chessa • Director, Torino Short Film Market

Pitches, market screenings, panels, and particular attention paid to digital content and the discovery of new talent. The Torino Short Film Market takes place from 29 November to 1 December at the 35th Torino Film Festival (read the news here) under the direction of Jacopo Chessa, who is also the director of the Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio. A place where filmmakers, producers and distributors of short films can come together to exchange ideas and content. 

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Cineuropa: This is the only short-form market in Italy. How did the Torino Short Film Market come about?
Jacopo Chessa: It was created to fill a void. There are short-format markets in other large European countries but there wasn't one in Italy. Along with the Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio, which also promotes national productions in foreign markets, we deemed it necessary to develop an Italian promotional event. So, seeing as we're based in Turin, we asked Turin Film Festival if we could collaborate with them. Last year we launched a pilot edition, but I’d say we’re only really getting it off the ground this year. It worked well last year, it attracted many Italian and foreign productions and the market was immediately identified as a point of reference for short films. This year we've opened our doors to digital content. The common thread is still short format content, but we're not necessarily limiting ourselves to cinematographic shorts. 

What do you mean by "short" format content?
Short format content encompasses short films, the ones we see at festivals, 90% of which are narrative in nature, with a good amount of experimentation. Then there is a whole galaxy that you can't easily categorise, that of the web and virtual reality, which are always undergoing technological developments. We try to keep up the best we can, which is why we've dedicated a day to it, curated by Simone Arcagni, an expert in new media and digital content. The Torino Short Film Market is a venue for the sale and purchase of shorts, but it is also a hotbed for talent. We wanted to create a place where people who want to invest in young talent can find raw material.

Could the short film be defined as the bridge between creation and the industry?
Absolutely. We've actually devoted a section to this, Oltrecorto, curated by Ludovica Fonda. The idea being that many feature films originate from shorts, think of A Ciambra [+see also:
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by Jonas Carpignano, which is in the running for the Oscars: it was a successful short and became a successful feature-length film with the same atmosphere, structure and characters. It's an increasingly widespread trend. We therefore decided to set up pitches for shorts that already have a development plan for a feature film or TV series. Last year it was a huge success, this year we’ve put some slightly tighter restrictions in place. We’ve selected four projects from Australia, Palestine, Romania and Switzerland, which already have a screenplay set out for a feature film. As a producer working with a short, you find yourself dealing with a glimpse into what could be, a certain mise-en-scène, a way of writing. It’s so much more than a trivial teaser, it is already a work of art in itself and gives you an immediate idea of what it could become.

What sort of outlets do short films have?
Short films are broadcast more frequently than you might think, such as on pay-for film channels, for example, even in the early evening. Mediaset Premium has a small slot called Cortocircuito, Canal+ produces and distributes them, as does France Télévisions. Then there is the whole world of VoD, Mubi for example, a platform for cinephiles that purchases experimental shorts films. 

How does the short film production system work in Italy?
The production situation is difficult, there's not much public intervention. And now there's the new Italian cinema law, we'll need to wait and see how they’re going to use the money. So far, with the old law still in place, there has been no central support for short films, only a few regional funds. Other countries have funds. On Friday morning we’re holding a panel called Supporting Short Films, with three regional funds, one Italian (Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund), one Swedish (Film i Skåne) and one French (Région Bretagne), which have substantial funds. Let's just say that Italian producers wanting to make short films with certain characteristics, respecting the industrial production process, currently have to look abroad.

(Translated from Italian)

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