Italian producer adds leading local graphic novels imprint

ROME — Innovative Italo producer Domenico Procacci is adding leading local graphic novels imprint Coconino Press to his Fandango multihyphenate shingle, in a move aimed at mounting projects with greater international scope.

Procacci — whose recent pics include Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah” and Gabriele Muccino’s upcoming “Kiss Me Again,” — has long been active in books and music, in addition to film production and distribution.

But while synergies between Fandango’s book publishing and filmmaking sides haven’t so far been that strong, “there are clearly plenty of common aspects between movies and graphic novels that I intend to explore,” Procacci says.

Founded in 2000, the Bologna-based Coconino Press is the brainchild of internationally known Italo graphic author known as Igort, whose Neapolitan mob saga “Five Is the Perfect Number,” translated in 15 countries, is being made into a feature film shepherded by Venice fest topper Marco Mueller.

Fandango has taken a controlling stake in Coconino, which is also the Italian publisher of many American artists. Coconino artists include Charles Burns, known for graphic novel “Black Hole” and as one of the helmers of hot Gallic animation portmanteau pic about nightmares “Fear(s) of the Dark”; Daniel Clowes, who is Oscar-nommed for penning “Ghost World,” and Japan’s Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, whose manga “Oldboy” was famously made into the Park Chan-Wook pic of the same name.

Among European cartoonists, Coconino and Fandango have co-published Polish graphic novel “Marzi,” about drab life in 1980’s communist Poland, seen through the eyes of a child. Penned by Marzena Sowa with art by Sylvain Savoia “Marzi” has been dubbed the Polish “Persepolis.”

“Obviously, at the moment, we don’t have movie rights to Coconino’s foreign titles, but that now becomes a distinct possibility,” Procacci says.

As for Italian graphic artists, the idea is to foster a level of local excellence, which Procacci finds “somewhat below par right now in this field, considering Italy’s illustrious past.”

“I want to create a pool of young talents, because I think that there could be some potential filmmakers among the artists making graphic novels today.”

As examples, he cites Gallic comicbook artist Riad Sattouf whose hot teen sex-themed helming bow “The French Kissers” unspooled in Cannes, and also Belgrade-born Gallic illustrator Enki Bilal’s ambitious 2004 English-language sci-fier “Immortal (Ad Vitam).”

“I would really like to develop some not necessarily Italian projects of this type with international scope, or at least a strong European identity,” Procacci says.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s percolating in the Fandango pipeline:

“Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood” Daniele Vicari (“The Past is a Foreign Land”) will helm this reconstruction of the headline-making, bloody, Italian police brutality during the 2001 Genoa G-8 Summit in which dozens of international antiglobalization protesters sleeping in the city’s Diaz school were assaulted by cops in riot gear. Procacci says he is seeking to mount “Diaz” as an international co-production, since the pic’s hot-button topic makes it impossible to find funding in Italy.

Sophomore Italo helmer Matteo Rovere (“A Game for Girls”) will shoot “Gli Sfiorati,” an adaptation of an acclaimed early novel by scribe Sandro Veronesi (“Calm Chaos”) about a spoiled rich Roman girl named Belinda and her rapport with her half-brother. Francesco Piccolo and Laura Paolucci wrote the script with Rovere, transposing the 1980s-set tale to present day.

“Kiss Me Again” Gabriele Muccino’s sequel to his “The Last Kiss” 10 years later, will be released Jan. 29 by Medusa.

“Mine Vaganti” Ferzan Ozpetek’s Southern Italy-set laffer will be released March 12 via RAI Cinema’s 01 Distribution.

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