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Tommaso Bertani • Producer

"We're going for films that are linguistically evolved and have a contemporary vision"

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- We caught up with Italian producer Tommaso Bertani, the founder of Ring Film, who has been selected for the 2017 edition of the European Film Promotion’s Producers on the Move

Tommaso Bertani • Producer

Tommaso Bertani founded Ring Film in 2010. Alongside short films and videos for Missoni, Bulgari, Vogue & Vespa, and Pinacoteca Agnelli, Ring Film produced the documentaries Il Solengo [+see also:
trailer
interview: Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matt…
film profile
]
by Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis, which won awards at the Turin Film Festival and DocLisboa 2015, and The Challenge [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Yuri Ancarani, which was co-produced by Arte France Cinéma and won the Ciné+ Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 2016. In 2015 Tommaso Bertani also produced a fictional feature film, Arianna [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlo Lavagna
film profile
]
. Directed by first-time director Carlo Lavagna, the film won the Nuovoimaie Talent Award and the FEDEORA award for the performance of the protagonist Ondina Quadri at Venice Days, the Prix du Jury Etudiants at Toulouse, the Amilcar du Jury and the Amilcar du Jury Jeunes at Villerupt, and the Foreign Press Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and Special Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival 2016. The production choices of Ring Film are, as Tommaso Bertani explained to Cineuropa geared towards films that are “linguistically evolved and have a contemporary vision”.

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Cineuropa: What new project are you taking to Cannes for this year’s edition of the European Film Promotion’s Producers on the Move initiative?
Tommaso Bertani: The latest film by Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis, the directors of documentary Il Solengo, which we produced back when Ring Film was born. It’s called Re Granchio, and is a story of migration, the evolution of a fairy tale through film which moves from the other side of the world, transforming itself into legend. It opens with an improv battle between poets, a tradition born in Central Italy, on a character in love with a girl whose affections the Prince is also vying for. The film continues with Luciano, who at the end of the 19th century, in the small town of Vejano in Upper Lazio, a disorderly drunkard, breaks the rules of the community. But he goes one step too far and is exiled, ending up in Patagonia, where he becomes an adventurer in search of his destiny, à la Lord Jim. Hot on the trail of the treasure of a brig which sank a century previously, his story is superimposed over that of a biologist studying crabs. The film turns into a descent into the beyond, a bit like Jim Karmusch’s Dead Man, and at the end we see modern-day fishermen in Ushuaia recounting the legend of the Crab King, their protector, who was shipwrecked with his treasures centuries ago. It’s a story broached in the style of Roberto Bolaño, for which we already have an Argentinian co-producer while the Chileans are showing interest with some very good actors.

Ring Film started out with documentaries, for which it searched for partners abroad.
Our generation is all about experiences abroad. Everyone who works with Ring has had some sort of experience beyond Italy’s borders. Me, Alessio Rigo in Argentina, Matteo Zoppis in America and Germania, and Carlo Lavagna who lived in the USA for several years for example. Although we focus our energy on products which come out of Rome, we have a wide-ranging field of vision, and want to communicate and work with people, professionals and audiences abroad. It’s a question of identity. Otherwise you set off without really knowing where you want to go. Even Arianna, a film which is completely Italian, had an English promo, which we used to launch a fund-raising campaign.

Arianna, the film that got you noticed, broaches some complex issues, like hermaphroditism and androgyny. Did you find it hard to secure funding for the film?
We were relatively confident because the film broaches the overwhelming issues of sexual identity delicately, without bias or “militancy”. Arianna is a small film with a lot of research behind it on the part of the director, who worked in America with a group of intersexuals for a documentary. On a production level we try to make films with international appeal, even though this brings the usual problems with it: problems associated with language, subject matter and realism. The projects we currently have in the pipeline broach issues a lot more rooted in literature, in pure storytelling and universal issues. Film lives through the identities of different languages and cultures, supported thankfully by a number of funds for audiovisual products. We have to find how to dialogue with this reality: on the one hand with the pure focal point of our work, with people from other countries. On the other hand, we tackle issues like language without forcing things or making them unrealistic. 

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(Translated from Italian)

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