Domenico Procacci • Producer
by Camillo de Marco
31/07/2008 - Domenico Procacci is the founder and heart of Fandango, one of Italy’s most innovative independent production companies, which so far this year has enjoyed box office success with Quiet Chaos [trailer, film focus] and Gomorrah [trailer, film focus] and will be in competition at the upcoming Venice Film Festival with Ferzan Ozpetek’s Un giorno perfetto (“A Perfect Day”).
Procacci was asked for the rights to an English-language remake of Gomorrah, which he did not concede. Before its release in France, the film had already earned over €10m at the box office and had been exalted by the local and foreign press for its Grand Jury Prize win at Cannes this year. Yet Procacci is very cautious: "After the success at Cannes and the box office results, I feel torn. I’m immensely satisfied about the recognition the work has received but I’d like to ask everyone to be prudent at the same time".
His message, spoken during a conference organized by Venice Days on June 5 at Villa Medici in Roma, is clear: "It is wrong to condemn Italian cinema for earning 3% less at the box office but it is just as wrong to applaud it and celebrate excessively. This is merely sensationalism. Perhaps these are just a series of coincidences. The director of the Cannes Festival, Thierry Frémeaux, could have invited just one of the two Italian winners, the Italian juror could have been unfavorable towards the two directors. And if we don’t achieve the same results at Venice perhaps people will speak of the death of Italian cinema!"
For Procacci, the process that leads a film to success is a long one. "Take, for example, Gabriele Muccino,” he says. “No one saw his first films, which I produced. Each of those titles was accompanied along its entire path because perhaps success would come later. Today, Muccino is in America making box office hits, yet even he experienced some flops. An independent producer must have a very broad perspective. He or she must believe in their path and not stop at just one film.
“Unfortunately, the state does not support long-term perspectives. And yet that’s all that cinema needs. There is a tendency for everyone to follow the same path – if a film is successful, similar films are made. This is fine for the commercial film industry but independent producers should base their work on previous results. You can achieve good results even by making mistakes".
Promotion is also fundamental to Procacci. "There is work to be done that goes beyond our individual international relationships. There is the work of the promotional agencies, such as FilmItalia, and I’m terrified about what will happen now that they’ve been absorbed by Cinecittà Holding. I studied foreign marketing strategies with them. This kind of promotion should be increased: cinema should be seen, it is a slow by continuous operation".