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Marzia dal Fabbro • MICI market director

"The market is an opportunity for training as well as business"

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- The vice-president of AGICI, Marzia dal Fabbro, chatted to Cineuropa about the market at the 7th edition of the MICI (International Independent Cinema Meeting), which took place from 15-16 March

Marzia dal Fabbro  • MICI market director

The 7th edition of the MICI (International Independent Cinema Meeting) – promoted by the AGICI (General Association of Independent Cine-audiovisual Industries), which is directed by Marina Marzotto – took place on 15 and 16 of March in Rome at the Casa del Cinema. This year’s edition included two days of conferences and workshops, as well as a structured pitching programme. We talked to the director of the MICI market, and vice president of the association, Marzia dal Fabbro.

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Cineuropa: How is the MICI market structured this year?
Marzia dal Fabbro:
 We’ve tried to create well-defined sections, taking into account the fact that our participants are both directors and producers, and that our projects range from the very early stages of development to distribution. We have a section dedicated to broadcasters, so everything related to serial production and TV films, a section for foreign sales, including both series and feature films, and we also have film commissions and external investors in attendance, so the individuals involved in the search for funding for financial plans and budgets. We also have a section devoted to the distribution of feature films in cinemas and on OTT platforms. Speaking of which, Netflix will also be in attendance, a presence that we hope to develop further as it’s a form of distribution that really needs to become involved in the process for projects that are already in the development phase. 

What is specific about the MICI market?
We put indie productions directly in touch with individuals who know the market and can give direction on what the market needs. It seems obvious, but productions absolutely need to take into account what the market demands are, and if the two sectors don’t communicate, you run the risk of having products that are not useful to the broadcaster, distributor, or foreign sales. The market is an opportunity for training as well as business. We need to try and focus on the same end goal.

Can you give us an example of this?
We’ve hosted a discussion with broadcasters on feature films that lend themselves to serialisation. There are also series that work well as feature films: which is the case with docu-fiction, for example. Many independent producers start with a documentary, and it’s important to gauge what kind of doc is being requested and also how to potentially serialise it. 

What kind of subjects lends themselves to serialisation, within the context of documentaries?
As an example, we have a project that was born out of a long documentary about millennials and their way of seeing the world. When speaking with producers we realised that it could potentially be developed into a docu-fiction, and work very well, because it follows millennials around for the world. We also have an interesting docu-fiction about wine, something more Italian, very exportable, which is fundamental. It’s worth keeping in mind that our independent productions are very good for foreign sales. The docu-fiction format lends itself well to Italian issues: there are certain niches of Italian culture that are very exportable, not just series on the Mafia, but Art and music, for example. We have special features on ancient Sardinian music, on Tintoretto, and many others. All this has an international appeal and therefore a high level of production. This is another important point for the market. As we reach our fifth year, we're receiving good feedback from our listeners, in terms of project presentations, preparation, letters of intent from actors and crew members, financial plans and detailed budgets. 

What are your initial thoughts about this year’s edition of the market?
We’re very happy. We have about forty listeners who have come to listen to pitches, including broadcasters, sales teams, film commissions, funds, distributors and OTT platforms. We have about 60 projects in total, ranging from docs and docu-fiction to feature films (genre, romantic, historical, comedy). About thirty producers and directors are participating. We have a total of around 200 pitches, all one-on-one, lasting ten minutes each. It’s worth remembering that our independent producers are developing the genre a lot, and work on visual effects is important for that. This year we’re also hosting a workshop with the Italian-Spanish VFX producer and supervisor Felix Balbas

In 2017 the AGPCI (Association of Young and Independent Film Producers) changed to the AGICI (General Association of Independent Cine-Audiovisual Industries). What general direction is the association going in?
The association originally focused on producers, but this change in statute will help us to bring together more aspects of the independent audiovisual sector supply chain: production and technical industries (a very important sector that is somewhat forgotten by associations), as well as national and foreign distribution. The future is all about a group that brings together indie film players so that they can discuss issues and continue to fight battles to support more fragile productions. We have roots throughout Italy, as well as producers who are doing wonderful things in the North East, North West, Centre and South of Italy, as well as on the islands. We’ll be happy if we can carry on organising useful events: training, meetings and masterclasses for young producers on subjects that they suggest to us, from the MEDIA and ministry announcements to product placement... Our mission is to do something that is actually useful for our members, and therefore for the sector as a whole.

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(Translated from Italian)

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