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Matteo Pianezzi • Artistic Director, Olbia Film Network

“Olbia is home to the spring of cinema”


- The director of the Olbia Film Network, whose fifth edition took place on 25 and 26 June, talks about what makes this co-production market special and its future prospects

Matteo Pianezzi • Artistic Director, Olbia Film Network

Having reached its fifth edition, the Olbia Film Network took place on 25 and 26 June, in Sardinia, immediately after the Figari Film Fest, of which it is a natural extension. Indeed, while the latter focuses on short films and the related market (Figari Film Market), the OFN on the other hand extends the field to feature films and international projects, with special attention paid to emerging talents (read the news). We talked to the Artistic Director of both events, Matteo Pianezzi, about what makes this co-production market special and its future prospects.

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Cineuropa: What is the Olbia Film Network’s position in the landscape of co-production markets? 
Matteo Pianezzi: The OFN is a sort of summer office located in one of the world’s most beautiful places, Sardinia, where emerging filmmakers can meet, in an informal atmosphere, the MiC, the Rai, international sales agents such as True Colours and Fandango, and various production companies that are establishing themselves in Italy, such as Cinemaundici, Vivo Film, and Wildside. It all began with the Figari Film Fest, in 2011, when a group of friends working in cinema decided to organise a summer event to share with their colleagues short films directed during the year. The festival started in Golfo Aranci, a small fishing village, and as it grew, together with its short film market, the need rose to move closer to a big city, with an airport and a structure in place to welcome industry activities. This is how Olbia became the setting of the event, which has been expanding since 2017 with the insertion of the Olbia Film Network, which opened up to the world of feature films and first works. We’ve been trying to create a throughline between the world of the short film industry and the passage from short to feature length films, a step made by all young auteurs. We like to say that Olbia is home to the spring of cinema, as all the young producers come here to create work synergies. 

One of the characteristics of the Olbia Film Network is undoubtedly its work environment. One example is pitch on the beach, where afternoon professional meeting take place directly in the water. 
In the morning, industry activities take place at the Archeology Museum of the city and in the afternoon, in an informal atmosphere on the beach. This is because we realised that in this context, a representative of the ministry, a big sponsor, a small director or an emerging actor, stripped of their institutional clothes, find a dimension of equality. The atmosphere created there is very special, it needs to be felt to be fully understood.  

A novelty this year is the section Minor_IT, focused on international productions looking for Italian minority co-producers. 
What we’re trying to do is to go hand in hand with what are ministerial directives. If the ministry invests in a particular type of productive idea, we are going to place ourselves there: thus was born the project Minor_IT, dedicated to international projects seeking minority producers, who can therefore apply for national selective calls: we are trying to do things that have an effective application and impact. Throughout the year, we did enormous work scouting for the four international projects selected, which here have met with 30 national producers. Not to mention all the partnerships we try to organise with other industry events, in order to put young producers in contact with other people. This year, we had guest events from Venice, the Venice Production Bridge and the Biennale College Cinema. Then there is Meditalents, a French incubator of first and second films which has picked Sardinia for one of its training events, with directors who are working on their feature debuts coming from Tunisia, Morocco, France, and also one Italian female director. 

What are the next events in your calendar? 
The next event is about the documentary world, and will take place in Basilicata, with the Metaponto Film Network. It will be held in late September and is an offshoot of the OFN that is focused entirely on documentary. Opening soon is the call for projects for Primavera Doc, aimed at directors who are looking for a producer for documentary projects, and there will be the Atelier Euromed, a writing project which last year had as its tutor Francesca Mazzoleni, the celebrated director of Punta Sacra [+see also:
film review
interview: Francesca Mazzoleni
film profile
. All this work is also possible thanks to Francesco Lattarulo and Angelo Troiano of Mediterraneo Cinematografica. They came here years ago for the network, then we created this event together in Basilicata. It is all a matter of synergy. Cinema is a collective work, and so are the events related to cinema. 

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(Translated from Italian)

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