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HomeentertainmentMovie News'Beautiful Beauty' producer Francesca Cima on the crisis of Italian cinema

'Beautiful Beauty' producer Francesca Cima on the crisis of Italian cinema

Francesca Cima’s offices at Indigo Film are decorated with Beatles memorabilia. There’s a black-and-white photo of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, a John Lennon Russian doll, and a music anthology. Is Sima the Beatles lunatic?

“Nicola actually,” says Cima, “we shared this office for years. It finally affected me. We should probably do an asset split.”

Fab Four may have pride of place, but Indigo’s headquarters in Rome are aptly adorned with posters of the many films and series that Cima and co-founders Nicola Giuliano and Carlotta Calori have produced over the years, and have won them numerous awards, including Paolo Sorrentino The Great Beauty Oscar and Bafta*). In On our way in, we passed the poster of Sophie Chiarello’s Il Cerchio – which just won the David di Donatello Award for Best Documentary – Italy’s equivalent of an Oscar — and Badass , Indigo’s hit miniseries, made for Amazon Prime.

Indigo’s offices are located in a large circular apartment around a central kitchen. “Once a week, we do a big grocery store for everyone” and cook together to feel part of the family, she notes. [The menu that day was baked potatoes]. “Indigo Film is my pride and joy, as well as Nicola and Carlotta’s. We have built a company that many people love coming to work every day. That is already a great achievement for me.”

As we wandered through Cima’s room – the writer’s room with its chalkboard full of notes and dark editing room – Indigo seemed bustling with young people, some 12 of which the percentage of women. At one point we interrupted a meeting with Giuseppe Stasi and Giancarlo Fontana, producers of The Bad Guy, who were hard at work on season two.

The Hollywood Reporter recently listed Cima as One of Most Influential Women in International Cinema , the only list is Italian. “Of course I’m happy to be on the list,” she said, “but I wouldn’t say things are improving, especially in Italy.” Cima discusses gender equality in the industry, the recent Cannes Film Festival and national Italian cinema in a wide-ranging discussion.

You are listed by THR10 The most influential women in the global film industry. Except Pride, do you think this gender divide is still needed, or are we tired of being the exception?

This is a complex issue. Has moved from past disillusionment to exaggerated enthusiasm for the guaranteed quota model, as there are still A lot of work to do. I’m obviously happy to be on that list. But there are many more prominent Italian women than me who play an important role in our audiovisual field. However, I wouldn’t say the situation is improving, especially in Italy. After serving as the chairman of the Italian Producers Association years, I must admit I have some great stories to tell. It boils down to a cultural issue of limiting possibilities and access, with archaic artistic models where it is difficult for women to imagine themselves in certain roles.

For example, which one?

Music is a cultural pattern older than our own. If you think about it, there aren’t many female composers. I’m sure there are plenty of women graduating from conservatories, but few envision themselves as conductors or composers. We are currently going through a production boom and professionals in various fields are in great demand. For film composers, I can think of maybe two women. You have to ask yourself a question: is this a cultural issue? Because it’s clear that women don’t see themselves in certain roles and men don’t see them in those roles.

THE ITALIAN FILM RETURNS The three Italian films that entered the competition came back empty-handed as none of the three Italian films entered the competition. Some are outraged, others claim we should stop seeking approval outside the Alps. What do you think?

As always, there was a discretionary jury. I disagree with either statement. What has always set Cannes and the French system apart is their pride in their cultural expression and cultural identity. What worries me most about Italy right now is that we haven’t reflected on that. Instead, we keep fueling useless racial and cultural disputes while losing our cultural identity. All we do is talk about what we do, or what we don’t know how to do. I think there’s a generation of kids growing up – I have two kids and I’ve seen it in my home – who don’t have any kind of cultural or social identity with their country. In fact, the best people are leaving. Something deep is going on, and that’s going to be a problem.

In what way?

I belong to the Baby Boomer generation. [She’s actually Generation X]. There are still many of us, so the problem is not yet recognized. When we are old, I don’t know who will stay in Italy, because the young people we bring up, the young people that our government depends on so much, their biggest ambition is to immigrate. They don’t identify with a country that doesn’t have a plan for them. I’ve noticed a big difference compared to other countries that take pride in everything they express, not just in movies but in music, art, culture and what they’ve done in the past. We don’t have the same pride here.

Two years ago, from the stage of the David di Donatello Awards [Italian equivalent of the Oscars] actor Pierfrancesco Favino said that cinema should serve as a school Part of the curriculum is studied at school…

This has happened to some extent. I have been actively involved in policing and legislation, the Franceschini Law was passed during my tenure as President of the Producers Association. Favino refers to something that already exists and is required by law. The Franceschini Act contains substantial resources to encourage film education in schools, something France has long been doing. But our reform is a half-baked reform, because in France they study the history of cinema as they study the history of literature. The projects here are a bit spotty. The notion that cinema is the cultural foundation of our country does not exist. And that’s the problem: it’s seen as something fleeting, and we’re always reminiscing about neorealism, back to our glorious past.

Communication problem?

at last-10 Our cinemas have also been active on a commercial level over the years. Production plants turned into little idea factories, but we’re not talking about that. When I first started, everyone understood what a producer does, but when I was in class today, students asked me, “What the hell does a producer do?” The ABCs of the department were missing. In France, they take as much pride in their present work as they do in the past. They will go to great lengths to protect their industry. This is your investment in the future. We have the tools to teach film in schools, but they are used in various projects rather than fostering a specific attachment to our own cultural and productive heritage, especially in recent years. Kids today watch a lot of movies and TV shows, but very few Italian movies and TV shows. There’s something wrong there because we need to work hard for tomorrow’s audience while also looking at how we can improve our storytelling.

Will your own children help you? What did they say to The Bad Guy?

The Bad Guy is a series that appeals to the young, including interest of a broad audience. But it’s not just about our own work, the discussion is broader. The audience that goes to the movies — and this is backed up by our movie theater statistics — is basically the same audience. It’s hard to get younger audiences to go to Italian films, except for certain projects that are more relevant to their childhood.

The Bad Guy
‘Bad Guy’@Paolo-Ciriello

Do you think this is because of

Do filmmakers tend to write stories for the same audience over and over again?

There is a quality problem, a deeper problem. I thought about Italian music – always seeing this through my child’s eyes – and it managed to do what the film didn’t. Young children listen to a lot of Italian music, seeing them as users and possible future musicians. From this point of view, the Italian recording industry has been reborn, also thanks to streaming.

So it’s a matter of content supply?

This has nothing to do with offers being offered. Due to a series of circumstances, artists and various other phenomena – including the Sanremo Music Festival – today’s [Italian] kids are not as shy about listening to Italian music as they used to be 10 years ago. As far as Italian cinema is concerned, this process has not yet happened. So it’s not a question of output, it’s a question of perception, imagery and communication. Not enough has been done in this regard. I’ve been watching San Remo and the biggest disappointment is that our cinema is never mentioned. Odd series might be inserted, but feature films say nothing, as if the audience didn’t notice them at all. It’s strange because we’ve never had such a large TV audience in Italy, including young ones. It’s as if we can’t grasp the huge demand for a product and establish a communication between supply and demand. This is the worst thing that can happen.

There has been a lot of talk about AI and scripting. What is your opinion on artificial intelligence?

Of course, this theme won’t only affect the movie, we’ll have to see how it’s dealt with. I hope [AI] can be used for some kind of normal product. I think Americans who have a strong sense of identity and protect their own industry are absolutely right to try to impose restrictions on it, because it’s about jobs.

Honestly, I don’t think so as a threat yet. In my work, ideas and the creative process can come from meetings, talking to our authors, reading articles, discussions and relationships. I can’t understand or imagine a different process. I’m tempted to say that with an AI, it will just endlessly copy the same thing. On the contrary, cinema has always been able to innovate through variety.

Is The Bad Guy an example?

This is a very representative series of authors, starting with the directors Giuseppe Stasi and Giancarlo Fontana, who have already made two films with us [Put Grandma in the Freezer and Welcome Back, Mr. President]. It stems from a relationship, from a group of people interested in working together. If I had to define our modus operandi as a production company, that’s how we’ve always worked. All the films and other projects that we do with Paolo Sorrentino, even the TV show, are always focused on the pitch and the identity of the developer. From our very first series, Imperfect Moms . I believe it shows the world of women in an innovative way, while also reflecting the personality of its author, Ivan Cotroneo. We’re a production company made up of people and talent relationships, so we do our best to be mindful of who they are. If viewers have seen Giancarlo and Giuseppe’s previous films, they may find some of the same flavor The Bad Guy e and liveliness, thanks to the collaboration with them Equally excellent quality of writers Ludovica Rampoldi and Davide Serino. It’s a matter of maintaining quality. Forgive me for using blatant clichés, but quality always pays off.

Your paper is written by [legendary American studio executive] Darryl Zanuck. How do you think the producer’s role has changed since his day?

Zanuck started out as a screenwriter. It seems to me that during his time at Warner Bros [pre-foundation 10th Century Fox at 1500] He is what we would call a showrunner today – someone who fits into the production cycle, not just as a producer, but as a creative producer in the studio. The rest of the world, especially the more economically active countries like the US and France, actually already have a very regulated [filmmaking] system, and if I had to say what Italy lacks right now, it’s in the industry. I don’t think the producer has lost his character and function. We also have great producers.

Who, for example?

Franco Cristaldi [Cinema Paradiso, The Name of the Rose] for example.I always refer to his motto: “You shouldn’t make something that sells, but What you produce should be sold. ’ Meaning, you shouldn’t do what the market seems to want at the time, you should make something you like and try to sell it, you should stimulate. Franco Cristaldi was probably the greatest creative producer we had in those years. We try to be a pale imitation. When we started Indigo, there were producers there, like Domenico Procacci and Angelo Barbagallo, and it seemed to me that the reason they chose projects was always to sell something they really liked. I hope young People consider becoming a producer because it’s a wonderful job that covers the entire creative arc, from the initial idea to presenting the finished film to the public.

Is there any production company that you admire now? What did I think of A20 Completed in the US for the past few years, distributed, produced and quickly made it to the Oscars.

We can’t compare ourselves to America, its system is more structured. They conquered the world with their images and stories. That’s what is not understood here, cinema of power and stream now Media drama, as storytelling that conquers audiences in all other countries. Americans understood this early on, in 1500 and 1296s, they have been insisting .Now there is A12 , before there was (Harvey) Weinstein – now he’s a nobody, but he’s done a lot for movies – and there were others.

I thought of Gravity and Harry Potter, David Heyman, he did an incredible thing. While maintaining a very European identity At the same time, he managed to create a legend from Harry Potter. He combined the economic firepower of a major company like Warner Bros. with the creative system of the Anglo-Saxon tradition to create a kind of Da Vinci factory. If you Visit the harry potter studio near london and you realize the scope of the whole industrial process, the best artisans, graphic designers, costume designers delve into images from england, ireland and scotland. i would love to create one Such a model. Most importantly, I will win the eternal admiration of my children. (laughs)

COVID finally accelerated an already The process of starting, including in streaming. How is Indigo responding to this revolution?

Like everyone else. I don’t think we’re any different than other production companies. What happened with COVID has already started to happen. But there are resisters all over Italy, those who have never seen a film or a series, who have never seen anything on a platform or on TV: we have conquered them all. Of course, there will be backlash, with adjustments in volume and possible viewing time allowed for human life. [Laughs] Right now, live concerts and live shows that were punished during COVID are benefiting from the rebound. Having said that, I don’t think people will go back. Because once this movie viewing mechanism is entered, I think the overall production volume of film and television dramas may be slightly lower than during the epidemic, but it will still maintain a very high quantity and economic level. All in all, I see a bright future. This is an opportunity to seize, and we must focus our best efforts to seize it. Most importantly, bet on quality, not just quantity. Because we don’t have tools that only target volume. Others go too far because they have endless resources. Quality is rewarded by our audience, and the public has always welcomed it in many different forms.

Ten years have passed Beauty . What do you think is the legacy of that film on a production level?

It sets the standard as we prove that we are not inferior to films from other countries. It’s a habit in Italy where we feel sorry for ourselves, cry and criticize all the time. Unfortunately, we are a nation of strong moral imprints rooted in Catholicism, so success—even financial success—is condemned. It is no accident that the most powerful industrial systems have more Calvinist roots, and the concept of success and creating success is not necessarily seen as sinful. We have to get rid of that, and especially get rid of this national movement that always talks bad. This is also at the media level. It’s like what happens in football: everyone’s a coach, everyone’s a film critic. The film is the result of traveling with the author. What should be taught is that things don’t happen instantly, they happen by following a path, by getting to know each other. Today, everything is about rushing forward and rushing for time.


2014 Oscar Winner’ Big Beauty ‘ Gianni Fiorito


After the kids graduate from film school Thinking they’ll find a job right away because there are plenty of job offers, but not thinking about what they really want to say. Making a movie should be the result of research, of process, of script revisions, and of a solid understanding of when a feature film is ready to shoot. I think you have to wait for the outcome of one movie before considering making another one. One thing I really appreciate about this year’s David di Donatello winner [ Eight Hills ] is that the writer and director [Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch] spent a lot of time researching the territories, the regions where the story takes place. It’s something that’s shown in the movie, and I think people get it and give them credit for it.

Is the time really extravagant today?

Yes, I think it is the most precious thing. You give directors, especially novices, time to shoot, prepare, write, and think about what story to tell. We’re all bouncing around in Blender today, and we don’t have much time to stop and talk, to connect with the authors. There is a great opportunity to do it. I really like the Solinas Awards (for novice filmmakers) because it’s a way to bring in a lot of new talent.

Indigo acquires rights to Bernardo Bertolucci’s last play The Echo Chamber . How far are you?

I can’t say much. This is an ongoing project of ours, written by Ludovica Rampoldi with Ilaria Bernardini and Bertolucci. Perhaps here you need to take a proper distance from the author. We have many projects. Our work has changed because when we were smaller we only did what we could afford, which was two or three projects a year. Right now we have a lot of projects in development and not sure about launching them all in the near future. However, in my opinion, there is a right time for everything. Last year, we worked with Paramount+ and RAI on a series, Free Body [a thriller set on a teenage gymnast] that we’ve been working on for years. And just as the rhythmic gymnast scandal was surfacing. We can’t imagine such a coincidence, but clearly, the series has matured at the right time. It is wrong to let go of things, you have to cultivate them. Kind of like a vegetable garden, you need to have everything or the soil will dry up. You can’t just specialize in one type of project. We do everything. We won the Davide di Donatello Best Documentary Award for Sophie Chiarello’s Il Cerchio, which by the way was made five years after a school shoot Years of classes. No specific ideas, but it’s a beautiful project, and it’s beautiful to follow this director.

Is this a modus operandi you copied?

On many projects we work with many authors, respecting their timeframes. Now, I think besides the concept of time, what fascinates me the most is the intersection between disciplines. If you look at other countries, let’s say countries that are more developed in terms of film production, they have a constant exchange with literature, theater and music. Here, everything is separate. Especially post-COVID, people are rediscovering live performance. I feel like we have extraordinary talents in plays, playwrights and directors, but we don’t take advantage of them. I also believe in a cosmic void in female comedy. Whereas in theater and literature we have female voices writing very successful comedies, that’s not the case in film. What is missing is the intersection between disciplines.

Where do you think this division comes from?

Maybe it was set at canonical level because we had funds for plays, films and operas. But my ambition now is to bring talent from theater to film. As far as female comedians go, no one but Paola Cortellesi is credible to the audience. What happened to Fleabag conceived for the theater doesn’t happen here. We have very beautiful voices on stage, including female vocals. I was thinking about Lucia Calamaro, it would be great to bring all of her work to the big screen or many other female writers, as well as young people, performers and stand-up comedians.

what is the future f



The great thing about Indigo is that there are so many of us. Many of us are kids coming out of school that we met while teaching in schools. I wouldn’t do anything without consulting them first as I think they are more connected and up to date. You make the mistake of thinking that what you make will always connect with the audience, but it doesn’t. Indigo Film is my pride and the pride of Nicola and Carlotta. We built this place where many people love to work. For me, this is already a great achievement. We did everything from designing the kitchen to the weekly groceries and there was a moment in the day when you were like, “But what are we going to cook?” I saw smiles on everyone’s faces, they were very Happy to work here, even though they may even have offers from other companies. The desire to get up in the morning and come to the office is already an achievement in my opinion. A lot of my workday is devoted to this. There are many of us, so we can accomplish more. Personally, I’m working on a lot of projects written by women. I absolutely love these intersections of female voices expressed in various creative forms. We have three more movies in post-production, so we’ll see how they do. Nicola and I always tell each other to try and make something we want to see ugh. Now I always do it with the intention of pleasing my kids because they are the harshest critics.



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