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Giovanni Pompili • Producer, Kino Produzioni

"In future, those who manage to inject emotive value into their works will do well"


- Chosen as one of the EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move, Italy’s Giovanni Pompili of Kino Produzioni talks to us about the challenges he is facing at this time of crisis

Giovanni Pompili  • Producer, Kino Produzioni

Giovanni Pompili took over as head of Kino Produzioni in 2012, changing the agency’s core business from TV service production to cinema. He has worked with such emerging talents as Carlo Sironi, Laura Luchetti, Ali Asgari and Farnoosh Samadi and is now co-producing new films by Carla Simòn, Aga Woszczynska and Cristina Picchi. As a main producer, Giovanni is currently raising finance for La Bella Estate by Laura Luchetti and Delta by Michele Vannucci. Now selected as one of the EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move, he talks to us about the challenges he is contending with during the crisis.

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Cineuropa: The pandemic is turning out to be a real challenge for the entire film industry. How are you experiencing it?
Giovanni Pompili: Before the lockdown, we were in the pre-production stage as minority co-producers of two films which were supposed to be shot between April and July: Dry Land, Aga Woszczynska’s first work, co-produced with Lava Films (Poland), and Carla Simòn’s Alcarràs, co-produced with Avalon and Vilaut (Spain). Now, not knowing when or how we’ll be able to resume filming, we’re focusing our energies on developing new stories and new formats. The crisis is upon us, whether we like it or not. We’re learning new skills and questioning what we thought we knew. Our creativity is reawakening, it’s a time for discovery and for developing excellent strategies. Undoubtedly, this crisis has helped us rediscover the true meaning of resilience, the ability to take on adversity and overcome it. We hope to come out of it stronger. That said, at this time of great uncertainty, I hope that financial support for those working in entertainment and for the industry itself will be made available as soon as possible.

This year’s edition of Producers on the Move will be fully digital, with no human contact or glasses of rosé. What do you hope will come of these virtual meetings? Are they a good opportunity for you, despite everything?
It’s a variation on the BYO theme: I’ll be holding meetings on Zoom with a glass of rosé by my side; or, even better, a chardonnay. Jokes aside, I believe the EFP has taken up this challenge and has seen this emergency situation as an opportunity to devise a new form of networking. Clearly, we won’t have the same level of connection and human contact, but on the flip side we’ll be far more attentive and focused on the projects we’ll each be presenting during the meetings. The greatest challenge for me will be fitting them in around my children’s online schoolwork! (laughs)

What ideas and projects are you proposing?
I have two projects in the financing phase: La Bella Estate, Laura Luchetti’s new film based upon a story by Cesare Pavese, and Delta, a modern-day western which is the second work by Michele Vannucci. They’re two very different films but they’re both part of the same journey that I set out on with the authors. In terms of ideas, there are many others which go beyond storytelling and relate to the functioning of the sector as a whole.

What’s been the biggest problem you’ve had to resolve as a producer in recent years?
The main problem has been being acknowledged by the system. I started out as an assistant cameraman working on TV documentaries and then I shot my own things as a filmmaker. With Kino, we’ve proven with the value and the results of the projects we’ve produced that we’re capable of making good films. But to be recognised in your own right doesn’t come easily and sometimes it’s easier outside of your own country. And, obviously, there have been a lot of sleepless nights over cash flow issues...

You’ve got some challenging documentaries under your belt and films confronting highly emotive ethical themes such as Sole [+see also:
film review
interview: Carlo Sironi
film profile
by Carlo Sironi. Do you play any part in the creative and artistic aspects of filmmaking?
Always. I like to think that the work of a producer should unfold within a Socratic context, with the authors; a dialectic which helps to create the best possible project. My starting point has always been motivations, both the director’s and mine. Producing a film can be a long and tiring journey, and your destination and travelling companions need to be chosen carefully: it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat: you don’t want to find yourself regretting your choice half-way there. For me, producing has a political meaning in the purest sense of the word. We need to find stories which can instil doubt, change viewpoints, show us what’s right there in front of us but which we can’t often see.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time and how would you like film and the audiovisual world to evolve in the future?
In ten years’ time I see myself with grown-up children and a few extra kilos! In truth, it’s doesn’t matter what I want; I’m a romantic, I would like to keep going to the cinema and reliving it as an endlessly new experience. But technology is evolving, as are narrative forms and storytelling options. There’s no sense in trying to keep the world as we’ve always known it, fearful of what might be. Instead, we should understand how social and technological developments are changing they way we watch films and take advantage of them, rather than trying to fight them. At this point in time, we have lots of options for accessing content, so many offerings and a huge uptake among the wider public. But percentage wise, there aren’t many products which remain in the collective imagination. In future, those who manage to inject emotive value into their visions will do well.

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(Translated from Italian)

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