The strength of the Venice Film Festival is its ability to read the times through films, triggering filmographies, discovering new authors, creating new horizons. This attention to whatever is new is a mark one can find all around the Festival and, inevitably, it shows in the Industry section, too. New languages and new ways to enjoy the Festival define new markets and exchange, new networks for production and distribution. Venice Production Bridge is the first such signal that hauls from Venice, taking place September 1 to 5 at Hotel Excelsior (third floor), a new chance to meet, a bridge, indeed, for all professionals of the film industry, a network for promotion of new film ideas and new productions and co-productions internationally. We spoke with Pascal Diot, director of VPB.
From the Venice Film Market to the Venice Production Bridge. Continuity and evolution
This year, we have decided to undertake extensive changes on the way the Market will be carried out. The Venice Film Market becomes the Venice Production Bridge. When we created the Venice Film Market with Alberto Barbera five years ago, we wanted it to be different from all other markets: we wanted to focus on production. We believe Venice is the perfect place to welcome producers, to give them as many services as possible, and to emphasize the production aspect of filmmaking. As per the Gap-Financing Market, for instance, we increased the number of participants from fifteen to forty, including not only feature-length films but also TV series, web series, and virtual reality projects, following the modern trends of production, those belonging to the digital era we are living in.
The Book Adaptation Rights Area
We also created the Book Adaptation Rights Area, where fifteen international publishers will meet potential producers for movie adaptations of their literature. We will foster relations between the two arts. Participating publishers are Andrew Nurnberg Associates, De Agostini, De Bezige Bij, Diogenes Verlag, Gallimard, Éditions de l’Homme Sans Nom, Editorial Planeta, Elisabeth Ruge Agentur, Flammarion, Glenat, Lannoo Publishers, Media-Participations (Dargaud – Dupuis – Le Lombard), OeFA, Place des Editeurs, Ullstein Buchverlage.
Strong points of VPB
We are the matchmakers. We organize panels on different topics and we appreciate how the European Commission will participate in two of them, one on filmmaking finance and another on the future of cinema. Members from European institutions will meet producers and we are here to make it happen. Take the forty participants in the Gap-Financing Market project, we are bringing the gap closer by making the right people meet. For the first time, moreover, publishers are coming to the film market with our Book Adaptation Rights initiative. They need us to introduce them to film producers.
Cinema and new media
Nowadays, producers must not confine
themselves to either cinema or TV. Everything is interlinked. Most of
the producers within our network work on web series, TV series, feature
films, and so on – it is imperative to broaden our vision. We invited
more broadcasters to come – broadcasters have always been very important
in the production of films, not to mention their extremely relevant
role in the case of TV series. In general, there are financial
possibilities for everyone. Every professional in the field can and will
work on any media. Plus, the border between different ways to enjoy
motion pictures is narrowing by the day, growing thinner and thinner.
Producers and financiers
direct their efforts towards two fronts. One is the artistic front –
they want the best story to produce, whatever the media. The other one
is the financial component. Financiers understand this and diversify
investments in different media. Each piece of cinema, anyway, can be
enjoyed in multiple ways, and they for one know how important this is.
The core, though, is still the story. Around it, we gather all
VPB and the Festival. How do they influence each other?
always work very closely together and we cannot but influence one
another. As an example, for the first time a TV series will be shown in
the Festival – the first two episodes of The Young Pope by
Sorrentino. We work together with the panels and master classes to keep
bringing young talents to the Festival. It is always a cost to bring a
film to a festival: expenses paid for the whole team, participating in
the première, etc. If, at the same time, you don’t have an opportunity
to sell and distribute your film, it’s easy to see that as a poor
investment. If, though, there are distributors and a market you can
meet, your participation makes much more sense. Without market, films
would not exist.
How many Italian films are there in the line-up?
Several. Every year we have some Italians and they have been very successful. This year, Italian productions are Alien Food by Giorgio Cugno (Italy, Denmark, France), The Intruder by Leonardo Di Costanzo (Italy, Switzerland, France), Tierra del mal by Daniele Incalcaterra and Fausta Quattrini (Italy, Argentina), Referees by Giampiero Judica (Italy), and Nemesi (Italy).
When does your work end?
main job is putting people together. We do follow our partners after
the Venice Production Bridge days are over as our role as matchmakers
doesn’t end then and there. I participate in several film festivals in
the world and I keep helping. Out of the movies that were selected for
the Gap-Financing project last year, there is a film in competition in
Berlin, one in competition and one in the Directors’ Fortnight at
Cannes, two here in Venice…