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Birgit Oberkofler • Head, IDM Südtirol - Alto Adige Film Fund & Commission

"We support young talent and promote locations with a tour"

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- Cineuropa met up with Birgit Oberkofler to take stock of IDM Südtirol - Alto Adige Film Fund & Commission's numerous activities, starting with its PLACES Location Tour

Birgit Oberkofler • Head, IDM Südtirol - Alto Adige Film Fund & Commission
(© Armin Huber)

Birgit Oberkofler and Renate Ranzi took over IDM South Tyrol from Christiana Wertz back in May 2017 as the Provincial Fund and Film Commission Head and the Territory and Film Industry Development Head respectively. One year after taking charge, Cineuropa met up with Birgit Oberkofler to take stock of IDM's numerous activities, starting with its PLACES Location Tour.

Cineuropa: Are you satisfied with the growth of the South Tyrol market, which has attracted several international productions?
Birgit Oberkofler: We are very happy, given that spending in the region has increased. For the first time in years we’ve seen a 200% increase. That means that production companies have chosen to spend twice as much money in the region as they were allocated by our fund. The province’s first post-production house has also opened, a Berlin-based post-production house that has entered into a joint venture with a local firm, investing in the construction of an actual cinema inside its post-production house, used for colour grading work, with the ability to display images directly on the big screen – these are just a couple of examples of the region’s growth.

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Cannes Film Festival Market was an important event for IDM, as well as the market at Venice. At Cannes, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story by Ron Howard, the second spin off to the Star Wars saga presented by Disney out of competition in world premiere...
It went well at Cannes, too. We also had In My Room [+see also:
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by Ulrich Köhler – winner of a Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2011 Berlinale – which competed in the Un Certain Regard section. We didn't take any films to Venice this year, but we attended with two spokespeople for our fund, who were available to meet up with producers with film, documentary or TV series projects in mind who are interested in shooting in South Tyrol.

IDM organises various important events, one of those being PLACES*, now in its seventh edition, which will be held in October and is particularly interesting thanks to its "location tour," which allows productions to go and visit some of the potential shooting locations available in your province, as well as to find out more about the services on offer.
We organise a location tour every year, managed by Irene Ammaturo, and we do so because we don't want to limit ourselves to just promoting locations at various festivals. We also want to invite producers and directors to come here. This year we’ve chosen the Alta Val Venosta, South Tyrol’s most western valley for our "location tour." A borderland, drastically destroyed, but also a place of contamination, reconstruction and reinvention. We’ll be showing off wonderful mountain scenery, but also marble quarries, bunkers, monasteries, fortifications and contemporary renovated houses in a valley famous for artists and creative minds who go "against the grain." A tour that lasts two and a half days, and which should be very special and interesting. There will also be some opportunities to network with and meet local professionals and suppliers (producers, production services, technical equipment hire companies, location scouts), as well as some personal advice from previous productions that have made use of the Film Fund.

There’s been a bit of a return to genre, historical and costume films of late, and certain non-urban locations tend to lend themselves well to certain projects...
We have seen an increase in demand. The tour is by invitation only (the deadline to apply expires on 15 September*/details below), but our Film Commission, which consists of a small all-female team, is always available for ad hoc requests. We have a database which can be used by productions to find locations for their projects. 

There is also the RACCONTI screen development lab this year, which including of a Writers' Room. The lab is mainly aimed at young people, with a particular focus on TV and the web. Numerous projects fall down at the writing stage, so the opportunity to meet international professionals is very important.
We’ve previously stated that we intend to support young talent, with a Film Commission that is a reliable partner in a somewhat unstable financial world. We want to give young people a chance to demonstrate their talent. This is evident in all of our initiatives, including STORIES. The project is actually managed by my colleague Renate Ranzi, along with Alessia De Paoli, but I will say that our #7 RACCONTI Writers' Room consists of a team of four screenwriters in collaboration with a production company in Monaco, Lieblingsfilm. We know them well as they’ve previously shot in our region and received a prize at the Berlinale last year forMountain Miracle [+see also:
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, by Tobias Wiemann, co-produced with the Bolzano-based helios sustainable films. Jana Burbach will be the head writer. We are currently in the process of selecting people who have applied to participate. There will also be a digital think tank, slightly more experimental, with three production companies as partners: the French outfit Black Sheep Films with Mathieu van de Velde, the Polish company Bahama Films with Wiktor Piatkowski and the German company Endemol Shine Beyond with Kristian Costa-Zahn. We will work on various short digital series to attract VOD platforms, such as an eight-minute episode series which can be watched vertically on mobile devices. 

*If you are interested in participating in the Location Tour, please send an email application to the programme's contact person, Irene Ammaturo, by 15 September: irene.ammaturo@idm-suedtirol.com

(Translated from Italian)

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