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New initiative to foster film production in Southern Italy

 

As part of our ongoing series, “Basilicata: Land of Cinema,” we take a look at a new initiative aimed at promoting the work of local filmmakers and productions taking place across the region.

Since we started this series two years ago, television and film production in Basilicata has increased even more. Just last year, the international production of Mary Magdalene, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus and Rooney Mara as Mary Magdalene was shot in the regions of Basilicata, Campania and Sicily. The film is slated for a Thanksgiving release in America.

Scenes from Matteo Rovere’s 2016 film, Veloce come il vento, starring Stefano Accorsi, who American audiences will recognize from his recent part on Paolo Sorrentino’s HBO series The Young Pope, just cleaned house at the Italian Oscars.

Sorelle (Sisters), a widely popular Rai series, which has been leading in the ratings every week since it aired last month was shot entirely in Matera. Many local actors were cast in the series including Nando Irene, who has a lead part, Antonio Andrisani, and the brothers Walter and Vito Nicoletti.

Enter Rete Cinema Basilicata. Headed by Basilicata-born filmmaker Antonello Faretta, RCB was founded to connect the film professionals and companies of the region. Its mission is to recognize the needs of the local industry and communicate those needs with the local institutions; thus, creating better conditions for growth through cinema and production in general.

In March, The Meeting Internazionale del Cinema Indipendente (MICI), an annual conference organized by AGPCI (Associazione Giovani Produttori Cinematografici Indipendenti) took place in Matera. There, Faretta along with Paride Leporace, the director of the Lucana Film Commission, officially joined forces in a collaboration that will benefit not only the filmmakers of the region, but also the economy of the region in general, as its aim is to increase production in the southern Italy. The MICI conference was the ideal place for the creation of such an important partnership because it serves as a haven for indie executives and distributors to have an open dialogue about the possibilities of reaching a wider audience.

Antonello Faretta is no stranger to Fra Noi. We have spoken with him on several occasions about filmmaking in the region of Basilicata as well as the international success of his own film, Montedoro. So we caught up with him again for information on this new initiative and its recent partnership with the Lucana Film Commission.

How did the idea of Rete Cinema Basilicata come about?

In 2010 when the national television network Rai was producing a series about the Brigantaggio (infamous southern Italian outlaws during the mid-1860’s), some of the shooting was done in Basilicata and a group of regional actors on Facebook started to criticize the local institutions and Rai for not involving local film professionals and also for the cultural inaccuracies of the series. The first accusation of the local people was the language. The characters were speaking a dialect which was not spoken in Lucania and people started to consider our region culturally neglected. That manifestation of a few people became a real movement of protest. The local film professionals started to ask with strong determination for a local film commission that would regulate the film production in Basilicata. That movement became an association after one year.

Tell me about this partnership between Rete Cinema Basilicata and the Lucana Film Commission.

Rete Cinema Basilicata and Lucana Film Commission are two distinct entites. RCB is an association, a network of film professionals and industries. LFC is the local film commission, a foundation that promotes the locales as production sites. They are distinct parts that need to work together On one side, we have the world of the workers and on the other side, the institution that works to encourage local film production.

 

Paride Leporace and Antonello Faretta at MICI, Photo: AGPCI

 

What does Rete Cinema Basilicata have in development now?

Rete Cinema Basilicata is developing many projects. The first one is a permanent census of the local film professionals and industries. We’re also developing an important project about the Euro-Mediterranean zone of film production. In addition, we are working on a project that will provide training to regional filmmakers. It’s not only important to give opportunities to the film professionals of our region, it’s also important to keep them competitive and up to speed on the new advances in technology

What do you see in the future for Rete Cinema Basilicata?

I see a very bright future for RCB. We’re sort of pioneers in the south of Italy. Our efforts of networking and having a constructive relationship with the world of filmmakers and institutions has opened up the lines of communication with other parts of the south, including Sardinia and Calabria, where you can now find Rete Cinema Basilicata and Rete Cinema Calabria. With them, we’re creating a bigger network that in the long run, will bring together all the associations of workers in the Mediterranean area. Our intent is to create a Rete Cinema Mediterraneo.

Follow all the latest news and activities of Rete Cinema Basilicata on its website: www.retecinemabasilicata.it and also on social media.

About Jeannine Guilyard

Jeannine Guilyard is a longtime correspondent for Fra Noi and the Italian-American community newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. She has also contributed to the Italian Tribune of New Jersey, Italian Tribune of Michigan and L'Italo Americano of Southern California. Jeannine wrote and directed the short film "Gelsomina," which was selected for the Screenings Program of the 59th Venice Film Festival, and she won Emmy and Peabody awards as an editor of ABC's "Special Report" following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Jeannine is also a writer and editor for Italian Cinema & Art Today, a publication and blog she founded in 2005 to bridge culture between New York and Italy. Follow her on Instagram at Italianartcinema and on Twitter at @ItaloCinema2day.

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