Riccardo Tozzi • Producer
'The emphasis is on quality'
The Italian production company Cattleya has been very successful in the past few years, as proves the selection of La Bestia nel cuore [+see also:
film profile] by Cristina Comencini in competition in Venice. It produced, for instance, Viaggio chiamato Amore [+see also:
film profile], The Most Beautiful Day of my Life, Caterina va in città [+see also:
film profile], I am not afraid [+see also:
interview: Gabriele Salvatores
film profile] by Gabriele Salvatores, A corps perdus by Sergio Castellitto, and Once You're Born [+see also:
interview: Marco Tullio Giordana
interview: Riccardo Tozzi
film profile] by Marco Tullio Giordana. The list will soon be added Romanzo criminale by Michele Placido (release: 30 September), N by Paolo Virzi starring Daniel Auteuil and Monica Bellucci, as well as the next films of Roberta Torre (Mare buio), Edoardo Winspeare (La guerra privata del tenente Guillet), Cristina Comencini (La Mia mano destra), and Gianni Amelio (La stella che non c’e). The artistic director of Cattleya, Riccardo Tozzi (who owns the company, together with his partners Giovanni Stabilini and Marco Chimenz), unveiled for us the strategy of the company and described the current state of the Italian film industry.
Does Cattleya have a specific style?
We like arthouse films, quality works the public can be delighted with, films with strong themes, excellent cast or good production value. We think the Italian public has good tastes for films. For instance, it is one of the countries where Almodovar makes more profits. One of the main characteristics of our company is that we love adapting literature and thoroughly follow what happens in the literary spheres —we often know beforehand what books are going to be published. The average budget for a film here is fairly low; it represents less than 50% of the average European budget for a feature. Our purpose is also to augment the value of films to improve their quality, spend more on films than the Italian industry can afford. We invest 25 to 30 million euros in film production every year.
What is your strategy in terms of business plan?
Distribution-wise, we have a good agreement with Rai Cinema and also work with Medusa (for instance for I am not afraid by Salvatores) and Warner (Romanzo criminale). For sales, we usually collaborate with international sales company such as Capitol (for the Salvatores) and TF1 International (for La bestia nel cuore, Romanzo criminale, and Once You're Born. We would also like to revive the European network which worked very well until the 1970's, find European co-producers for our films (Cattleya often works with Babe Films in France, Aquarius Films in the UK, and Alquimia Cinema in Spain) and co-produce foreign films as well, as we did for Live and Become by Radu Mihaileanu (French production by Elzévir)
What do you think of the current state of the Italian film industry?
The new law on state aids is good, better than the previous one which was a disaster. However, there will never be enough money to solve all our problems. The Italian film industry is under-capitalised. We need to find new types of financers, maybe have a tax-shelter system. Besides, the sums we receive from pay-TV (Sky) are too low, considering how many people subscribe. I also think multiplexes work against Italian productions; there are definitely some improvements to make in terms of exhibition.
In what direction is Cattleya going now?
This is an unpredictable trade. After all, we started as TV producers (with the mini-series on Dalida). However, I know we will soon have to decide whether we want to move into distribution or not. We would need more money if we chose to do so; Cattleya is indeed the biggest company in Italy but it is not enough. On the positive side, Italian cinema is now getting out of the coma it has been in for twenty years. Now we need to build more bridges in Europe and understand one another better.
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