Fabrizio Mosca started his Titti Film shingle 12 years ago in Rome after cutting his teeth in various capacities in London and Paris and unsuccessfully giving it a go in Los Angeles, where he spent several months meeting “big-shot executives, agents and lawyers,” hanging out with Nicole Kidman before she became a star and sleeping on friends’ couches.
Rome being Rome — eternally slow, that is — it took him six years of docu producing before being able to shepherd his first feature, the anti-Mafia drama “The One Hundred Steps,” a critical and commercial hit that traveled widely.
Helmed by Marco Tullio Giordana (“Best of Youth”), who at the time had not worked in five years, “Steps” is the true tale of Peppino Impastato, a young Sicilian who in the 1970s started a local radio station from which he spoke out against the Mafia, a defiant act that cost him his life.
“Very few people believed in the project at the time,” Mosca recalls. But after “Steps” won three Venice Film Fest awards, was picked as Italy’s Oscar contender in 2000 and also nominated for the Golden Globes that year, he felt “as if I had a lucky star.”
A native Roman whose mother is French-American, Mosca then leaped into the international co-production arena, at first boarding prolific Portuguese producer Paulo Branco’s arty drama “Water and Salt,” helmed by Teresa Villaverde. “The Golden Door,” a $17 million project that stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and “Respiro’s” Vincenzo Amato, is co-produced by Titti Film with Alexandre Mallet-Guy’s Paris-based Memento. It was set to unspool in Venice and Toronto.
“I can’t think of another young producer in Italy with a comparable worldliness in developing and financing different sorts of projects,” says Giancarlo Leone, chief of RAI Cinema, which is distributing “Door” in Italy.
Other projects in Mosca’s pipeline include “Return to Haifa,” a drama by hot Palestinian helmer Tawfik Abu Wael (“Thirst”), about Israeli/Palestinian tensions, in co-production with Tel Aviv’s Lama Films (“Paradise Now”); and a French-language adaptation of bestselling Belgian writer Amelie Nothomb’s novel “Mercure,” which Giordana will direct.
Model producers: Jeremy Thomas, Domenico Procacci, Tilde Corsi
Hard lesson: “Don’t do it if you don’t really believe in it. I need to feel very strongly that all the elements of a project are right. The times when I have not heard this little voice inside me saying ‘I really love it’ but instead made a movie for the wrong reasons, I failed.”
Now playing: Venice and Toronto selection “The Golden Door,” by Emanuele Crialese, an Ellis Island immigration drama that is the “Respiro” helmer’s follow-up on a grand canvas.