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Marco Valerio Fusco • Head of Acquisitions & Production, Intramovies

"If it goes ahead, Cannes will be a weakened version of itself"

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- Marco Valerio Fusco, Head of Acquisitions & Production at Intramovies, talks to us about festival postponements, the eventuality of an online Marché du Film and post-virus changes to the film market

Marco Valerio Fusco • Head of Acquisitions & Production, Intramovies

One of Intramovies’ titles (Israeli film Asia, directed by Ruthy Pribar) was scheduled to compete at the Tribeca Film Festival. The Italian international sales firm is still waiting to hear whether the New York-based festival will be cancelled entirely or simply pushed back. Most of the challenges Intramovies has had to contend with in recent times concern its dealings with foreign clients: “with the heightened restrictions on movement introduced by the government, it will be increasingly difficult to keep things moving forwards. A great number of laboratories, in particular, have had to suspend their activities in order to adapt to the new safety norms, so it will become increasingly difficult to supply material for foreign contracts," Marco Valerio Fusco, Head of Acquisitions & Production at Intramovies, explained to Cinema & Video International.

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Cinema & Video International: The unknown quantity that is Cannes remains key, and there is still much uncertainty surrounding it.
Marco Valerio Fusco: We’re monitoring the situation, but we’re also playing things by ear. They’re talking about these dates (end of June /beginning of July), which are probably the only ones the festival has been able to book in Reed MIDEM’s chock-a-block diary. It just so happens that these were the dates originally scheduled for the Cannes Lions Festival (the international event dedicated to the world of publicity, n.d.r.), which announced it was postponing the day before the Cannes Film Festival made their announcement. Cannes Lions moved their event to the end of October because they considered the end of June to still be too risky. In all honesty, I fully expect the Cannes Film Festival to be pushed back at least one more time.

And if the festival goes ahead at the end of June, as theorised?
In that case, we would try to attend, albeit with a smaller team so as to avoid putting our staff at risk. But first we’ll need to see how the situation evolves, which restrictions on movement will still be in place (in Italy or France) and, therefore, whether it will be possible to travel.

Undoubtedly, it would be a weakened version of Cannes, with far fewer buyers, sales agents, journalists… So it’s well worth weighing up the costs and benefits of taking part. The great thing about an event like Cannes is the fact that it combines a festival with a market, and that it involves the large-scale presence of all those working in the sector. If this vital component were missing, it would be a real problem for all of us.

What are your thoughts on an online Marché du Film?
I’m not convinced by the idea of a digital market. Without a physical presence or meetings in person, I honestly don’t see the value of it over and above the work we’ve already been carrying out via email, phone or skype (or any other means of communication) in recent times. The most worrying thing right now is the fact that the Cannes Film Festival seems determined, despite the uncertainty surrounding the feasibility of the event, to go ahead and announce the festival selection via the usual press conference. In so doing, it’s actually harming the chances of titles hailing from established authors as well as newcomers, which, in the best case scenario, won’t enjoy the usual, immense exposure the festival offers, and, worst case scenario, will end up in limbo without sufficient press coverage but bearing the same little Cannes palm on their posters. It feels more like an attempt to mark territory than anything else.

How do you see the situation evolving post-crisis?
When this health crisis is over, many aspects of our work are likely to change. It will take some time before theatrical rights, in particular, are exploited to the same level as they were pre-Covid-19, and it’s likely that physical markets and festivals will take a while to find their feet again. Who knows, perhaps they’ll take on different forms? As for films which have been at a standstill these past few months and are still looking to premiere in a festival, we’ll need to find the right place for these, and we’ll also need to quantify the delay in relation to new productions.

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(Translated from Italian)

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