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Raffaella Delvecchio and Roberto Corciulo • International production manager and film fund manager, Apulia Film Commission

“A model for the good use and proper spending of European funds”


- Raffaella Delvecchio and Roberto Corciulo of the Apulia Film Commission talk to us about the advantages of shooting in Puglia and the new funds made available by the FC

Raffaella Delvecchio and Roberto Corciulo  • International production manager and film fund manager, Apulia Film Commission

A system which sees services, locations and funds come together to winning effect, consolidating Puglia’s position as the film and audiovisual region of Italy. Since 2007, the year of its inception, the Apulia Film Commission has welcomed 549 projects, directly financed 413 and allocated 32 million in funds, with an overall economic impact on the region calculated to be in excess of 100 million euros. Authors who have themselves chosen to film in the region include Ermanno Olmi, Paul Haggis, Daniele Ciprì, Sergio Rubini, Patty Jenkins, Mario Martone, Goran Paskaljevic and Carlo Verdone. We spoke with Raffaella Delvecchio and Roberto Corciulo – respectively international production manager and film fund manager of the Apulia Film Commission – about the so-called Sistema Puglia on the occasion of the 10th Apulia Film Forum (10-12 October), which drew to a close last Saturday in Brindisi.

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Cineuropa: Is it fair to say that Puglia is increasingly on the radar of national and international productions?
Raffaella Delvecchio:
Last year, we welcomed our first Netflix production to the region, 6 Underground, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ryan Reynolds, which was filmed in Taranto and is due to be released on the streaming platform on 13 December 2019. This year, Matteo Garrone shot his work Pinocchio in Puglia, which will be released in cinemas next Christmas. Just two weeks ago, it was Daniel Craig’s turn, who travelled to Gravina in Puglia to film No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie. Let’s just say that under the regional government of Nichi Vendola, which places a particular focus on cultural policies and the younger generations, Puglia has undergone a rebirth of sorts and today, after 12 years of activity, the results are clear for all to see: we now have a Film Commission that is known throughout Italy and Europe, and which is seen to be a model for the good use and proper spending of European funds. We’re now looking more concretely towards North America off the back of the various international productions we’ve hosted since 2014, back when we launched the first fund for international productions (which then became part of the wider Apulia Film Fund). But we’re also keeping a watchful eye on small and medium-sized ventures based on a more local level, in order to generate investment, jobs, development and growth in the region.

What is it, in particular, that attracts international production teams to Puglia?
People come to Puglia to film outdoors. What’s striking in this region is the light, and the possibility – depending on the season – to see the same place in different colours, in a natural way. Then there’s the fact that the region is hospitable, welcoming filmmakers rather than putting them off; it’s something we’ve noticed while hosting the various film sets. This makes it easy for foreigners to work on our soil and allows them to manage their workflows more comfortably. Our departments have grown over the years, English is now a widely spoken language, many national companies have opened subsidiaries in the region as a result of the particular specificities of our fund... So, Puglia can offer film crews everything they need in order to work to the best of their abilities.

Are the funds that are available to productions equally attractive?
Roberto Corciulo: We were the first in Italy to introduce the cash rebate system, back in 2014; this meant that, for the first time, producers with a detailed budget could know how much they could hope to be reimbursed by the fund, giving them a clearer idea of the financial picture, whereas before, there was less clarity over potential subsidy amounts. Since 2015, when the Puglia Region began managing the Apulia Film Fund, the latter has grown from 1.5 million to reach 3 million euros in 2016 and 5 million euros in 2017, with the most recent fund - which closed in August - reaching the 10 million mark. In respect of the latter, we received 145 applications - up 88% on 2017 - and we financed almost half of the projects that applied. It was originally intended to be a three-year fund, but it’s gone so well that almost all of it has been allocated already. That’s why Apulia Film Commission is planning to launch a further fund of 5 million euros in January 2020, introducing a new category: virtual reality.

In the meantime, you’ve also re-introduced the development fund…
RC: Having founded it in our very first round of funding in 2013, it was closed in 2014 and is now being resuscitated and totally redesigned. It’s been online since 2 August (it totals 238,000 euros). It really is a new fund, which places greater emphasis on the film’s story focusing on Puglia over and above the production team spending money in the region: at least 50% of the plot should be set in Puglia. The fund will reimburse 70% of monies spent on script development and writing (other admissible expenses include the cost of participating in training courses co-financed by Creative Europe MEDIA- or of registering the project for international markets and co-production forums), but the real novelty is that at least 60% of the subsidy should go towards authors and creatives. In this way, we’re looking to benefit the weakest part of the chain.

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(Translated from Italian)

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