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BERLINALE 2022 Competition

Giovanni Pompili • Co-Producer of Alcarràs

“I became hooked on this ensemble-cast, family story”

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- BERLINALE 2022: The Italian producer spoke to us about his involvement - via his company Kino Produzioni - in Carla Simón’s Golden-Bear-winning film

Giovanni Pompili  • Co-Producer of Alcarràs

The 72nd Berlinale’s Golden Bear for Best Film was won by Alcarràs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carla Simón
interview: Carla Simón
interview: Giovanni Pompili
film profile
]
, a sincere and poetic family portrait set in Catalan and helmed by Spanish director Carla Simón. Italy’s Giovanni Pompili co-produced the movie via his company Kino Produzioni. Selected as one the EFP’s Producers on the Move in 2020, Pompili was recently involved in Silent Land [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Aga Woszczyńska
film profile
]
by Polish director Aga Woszczynska, as well as in Carlo Sironi’s award-winning work Sole [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlo Sironi
film profile
]
and new projects by Michele Vannucci, Laura Luchetti and Giovanni Piperno. A further two co-productions – one Dutch and the other Argentine - are also in the pipeline.

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CinecittàNews: How did this production adventure come about?
Giovanni Pompili: I fell in love with Carla’s first film Summer 1993 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carla Simón
film profile
]
, and I met her and producer Maria Zamora during the TorinoFilmLab, five years ago. Straight away, it was clear we had the same vision. Obviously, it wasn’t easy making a film in Catalan, but the new Italian Fund for Minority Co-Productions helped with this, and we did it. It was essential we supported the film in post-production too, and that we remained by the director’s side in that final phase. In fact, we edited it in Rome with a group of Italian professionals, including colourist Angelo Francavilla, who also works with Matteo Garrone.

What was it that struck you about this story?
Carla has a real gift for working with true stories, based on her own life experience. She also loves directing children, and you can tell. I became hooked on this ensemble, family story about different generations who find themselves in a critical situation in a changing world, which inevitably results in internal friction. There’s also a political thread running through the film, which isn’t immediately obvious, but it’s a part of a culture of ours and an agricultural tradition which has been thrown into crisis by a system which belittles the value of working the land. What’s interesting about the film is the fact that the baddie is the person who wants to use the fields to harness solar energy, a resource which actually goes in the direction of environmental sustainability. But there’s a social resource here too, and we shouldn’t forget it.

Did you run into any difficulties producing the film?
The pandemic slowed down the shooting process, so much so that we had to postpone it by a year, because if you’re looking to portray the world of peach farming you can’t only shoot in June. The casting process wasn’t easy either. We auditioned over 9,000 people before choosing the film’s actors, who were all non-professional. We travelled to different villages in Catalonia in order to find the right people.

What films are you interested in producing, generally speaking?
I believe it’s important to support authors with clearly defined visions and artistic personalities. At a time when the market is changing and there’s so much audiovisual production which doesn’t actually survive, I want to make films which stay in our minds, especially those exploring current and even political themes relating to the complexity of our era. For example, Laura Luchetti’s new film La bella estate is based on a story by Cesare Pavese about emotional education irrespective of gender. We’ll shoot it this year, as we will Carlo Sironi’s new work. But I’m also planning another two co-productions: one Dutch and the other Argentine.

How difficult is it to be an independent producer in Italy?
It’s difficult, very difficult. But it also gives you the freedom to choose projects without having to compromise on account of clients’ editorial or commercial needs. I focus more on creating and establishing authors, supporting them as we grow together. Obviously, it’s an ongoing challenge, but if it leads to results like Alcarràs’ then it’s worth it.

Will Alcarràs be released in Italian cinemas?
It will be released in May via I Wonder Pictures. The film world is going through a difficult time right now, but I’m sure films with clearly defined personalities and identities, like Alcarràs, will be rewarded by cinephile audiences. It’s a sincere film which is bound to move viewers in a very real way, guiding them through the Solé family’s world.

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(Translated from Italian)

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