Riccardo Tozzi • Producer
by Camillo De Marco
12/12/2005 - The Italian production company Cattleya has been very successful in the past few years, as proves the selection of La Bestia nel cuore [trailer] by Cristina Comencini in competition in Venice. It produced, for instance, Viaggio chiamato Amore [trailer], The Most Beautiful Day of my Life, Caterina va in città [trailer], I am not afraid [trailer] by Gabriele Salvatores, A corps perdus by Sergio Castellitto, and Once You're Born [trailer, film focus] by Marco Tullio Giordana.
What was the genesis of this film?
Riccardo Tozzi: We had wanted to work with Marco Tullio Giordana for a long time, but he was always busy directing other things for other producers. Finally, at the beginning of last year, Marco Tullio told me the plot of Once you're born..., a film adapted from Maria Pace Ottieri's book with a very original title indeed. We immediately understood that this was exactly what we were looking for: a story involving teenagers, an adventure which is also about growing up, about kids who enter the adult world, a personal story in which the characters lead us to get a glimpse of something larger, that is, of the world they live in.
How did you handle the production work?
Marco Tullio and we first decided of a release date and then he started planning his writing and shooting. The whole time, Rai Cinema —convinced by the success of The Best of Youth— supported us, providing good business advice, for they completely understood how special this project was. Rulli and Petraglia —obviously the best choice for the scriptwriting— worked very fast, with the complicity of Marco Tullio, whom they already knew (they wrote The Best of Youth). Before Summer, we had a great script, just a little too long.
What kind of difficulties did you meet?
We knew it was going to be complicated, for a third of the film takes place at sea, where it is always difficult to shoot. In the beginning, we considered using the famous water pool available for filmmakers in Malta, but we realised this complex structure would have affected Marco Tullio's work, kept him from framing the scenes the way he wanted and deprived him of the freedom he needed to work with the kid. We therefore decided to really film at sea, near Puglia and around Greece. We had a yacht, a gorgious 'Swan', plus the boat people's wreck, a boat for all walk-on parts and one to transport them, one for the cameras and others for security and communication with the continent —our fleet was based in the port of Gallipoli. The weather was nice so we did not run aground but it did take 14 weeks to shoot the whole film. It was an expensive movie, and we could not have made it if, besides the involvement of Rai Cinema as a co-producer and distributor (with 01 Distribution), we had not signed coproduction agreements with France and England and found someone to handle international sales.