Piedmont sets up $32 million fund

Italian film org promotes region at Berlin

BERLIN — A $32 million fund for film production is being established in the Piedmont region of Italy, the first non-state run entity of its kind.

The moolah will be managed by the Piedmont Film Commission and will be doled out to movies that shoot at least partially in the region, whose capital is Turin.

The commission held a lunch Tuesday at the Berlinale to talk up the fund and to announce plans to open an office in Rome, so as to better liaise with government entities and be closer to the film buzz in the capital.

The money for the fund is from American private equity backers but Italy’s Bank of San Paolo and Citibank also figure in the deal.

Film commission execs said projects that wish to tap the fund must be of sizeable budgets, nothing under $3 million, and, as one of them put it over dessert, “no amateurs please.”

There also was supposed to be an appearance at the luncheon from director-actor Nanni Moretti, who has committed to helming the Turin Film Festival next November.

He has influenza and stayed in Rome, where he was summarily dialed by cell phone from the podium.

Moretti flummoxed the room of Italian journos by speaking in German, some of it presumably an inside joke. When asked from Berlin whether he would have enough energy to both direct the festival and continue his film projects (now that he’s split from his former production partner at his company Sacher), Moretti was deftly ambiguous, but seemed to suggest he’d be able to manage it all.

Lending the proceedings gravitas was the appearance of director Giuliano Montaldo, who said he was about to begin shooting his latest epic, “St Petersburg” in and around Turin.

“The architecture of Turin lends itself beautifully as a stand-in for the Russian city,” he said. “I’ve always had a great time working in Piedmont.”

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