Film folks to stand out at the fest
Besides running Cattleya, which is Universal’s Italo production outpost and the outfit behind Italy’s single Cannes competish entry, Daniele Luchetti’s “Our Life,” Tozzi is also head of Italian producers org Anica. He knows everything about how to tap into Italo tax credits and the complexities of European co-productions, and is looking to make more English-language movies.
Tozzi, who named Cattleya after Marcel Proust’s favorite orchid, is a lover of literature who has been instrumental in having an increasing number of books adapted into Italian movies. He has also been key to winning back local auds to cinema Italiano.
– Nick Vivarelli NICOLA GIULIANO
Giuliano operates Italy’s Indigo Film in partnership with Francesca Cima. He had great success with Paolo Sorrentino’s “Il Divo,” and is currently mounting Sorrentino’s English-language debut, Sean Penn starrer “This Must Be the Place.” Indigo is also looking to intensify its Stateside ties via a bunch of other projects, including a remake of widely sold “The Double Hour,” a sophisticated thriller by first-timer Giuseppe Capotondi. In a rare case of an Italian producer with a sharp transnational vision, Giuliano does not shy away from shepherding small eclectic gems, but is also increasingly looking to break out of arthouse constraints.
– Nick Vivarelli GERMANY MICHAEL WEBER
Since launching the Cologne-based sales outfit Match Factory in 2006 with producers Karl Baumgartner and Reinhard Brundig of Pandora Film, managing director Weber has shaped the company into a leading international partner for filmmakers from Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Weber served as co-producer on Thai helmer Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cannes screener “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Match Factory’s slate also includes Benedek Fliegauf’s upcoming “Womb,” starring Eva Green and Matt Smith; Tom Tykwer’s Berlin-set love story “Three”; and Geraldine Bajard’s French drama “La Lisiere” (The Edge).
– Ed Meza CHRISTINE BERG
As project manager of the $80 million German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), Berg oversees one of the most attractive financing incentives in Europe.
While independent producers worldwide were hit hard by the financial crisis last year, the DFFF helped buck the trend in Germany, where it backed a total of 104 local and international productions — more than any other year since its launch in 2007.
The DFFF finances up to 20% of German-based production costs for pics shot entirely — or at least partially — in Germany.
High-profile international productions that received DFFF coin last year include Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” and Christopher Smith’s medieval thriller “Black Death” starring Sean Bean.
– Ed Meza FRANCE VINCENT MARAVAL
Handling more than 50 films from freshman and sophomore helmers, Maraval and Wild Bunch helped usher Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”), Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Orphanage”) and Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”) onto the world stage.
Going against conventional industry wisdom — a frequent practice — Wild Bunch bowed “Months” the first Thursday of Cannes, then brought in other Romanian helmers for roundtables.
“We created context, made ’4 Months’ more mainstream, provided distributors with marketing tools,” Maraval says.
Sales “aren’t only about finding directors, (they are) about repositioning, carving out a market, creating a network of distributors,” he adds.
– John Hopewell MANUEL ALDUY
The Canal Plus film topper, a self-proclaimed geek in his 30s, has opened doors to a whole new crop of filmmakers tackling genre fare — actioners, thrillers and horror — that is still snubbed by most of the Gallic film industry.
“There’s this new generation of French folks, like me, who’ve grown up watching American blockbusters from the ’70s and enjoy popular comedies or genre films,” says Alduy. “At Canal Plus, we make room and encourage these directors who venture off the beaten paths and come up with films that don’t necessarily have the French New Wave as point of reference.”
His most prized pre-buys include zombie pic “La Horde,” horror film “Martyrs,” offbeat comedy franchise “OSS 117,” social satire “Neuilly sa mere” and Philippe Lioret’s immigrant drama “Welcome” — all of which needed Alduy’s imprimatur to get made.
The paybox is the “back and bone” of French cinema. Last year, the group pre-bought nearly 60% of all Gallic films, including 121 French-majority pics.
– Elsa Keslassy U.K. TANYA SEGHATCHIAN
Seghatchian controls the U.K.’s largest subsidy pot as head of the U.K. Film Council’s newly restructured £15 million film fund. This replaced the org’s three separate production and development funds, with a mandate to support “emerging, experimental and world-class” filmmakers. Seghatchian previously ran the UKFC’s development arm, and before that produced the BAFTA-winning “My Summer of Love” and developed the “Harry Potter” franchise. Her taste and experience made her the obvious candidate for the job. But Seghatchian isn’t a bureaucrat by instinct. She’s an innovator and a creative idealist, so she faces a formidable challenge to shape UKFC policy in her image — particularly with half the staff the three old funds employed.
– Adam Dawtrey PETER CARLTON
Carlton left Film4 last year to spearhead a new European arm of the innovative Brit production outfit Warp Films. Warp, best-known as the home of Shane Meadows, specializes in youth-oriented, cultish and experimental twists on commercial genres. Carlton’s job is to connect with filmmakers and audiences in other countries who share a similar sensibility to create bigger international projects. His first is Peter Strickland’s “Barbarian Sound Studio,” about a Brit sound recordist working on an Italian horror movie, which is conceived as a live touring event as well as a conventional film. He’s also overseeing Paddy Considine’s feature directing debut, “Tyrannosaur.”
– Adam Dawtrey SPAIN GUILLERMO DEL TORO
Does del Toro ever sleep? When not in pre-pre-production on “The Hobbit,” he’s writing screenplays, updating fanboy sites and juggling multiple projects in development — website Del Toro Films lists 25.
Or he’s filing notes to Rodar y Rodar on Guillem Morales’ sophomore pic, “Julia’s Eyes,” singing the praises of Eugenio Mira’s “Agnosia,” or just helping out amigos.
On “Babel,” the film that confirmed Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as a world-class director, del Toro sent script notes. They were used.
” ‘The Orphanage,’ ” says Juan Antonio Bayona, “would have been impossible” without del Toro. His praise of the film, used in a Wild Bunch brochure, helped create a buyer stampede. And there are few more down-to-earth people around.
– John Hopewell GHISLAIN BARROIS
Over the last decade, in B.O. terms, Telecinco Cinema under Alvaro Augustin and Barrois has become Spain’s foremost production house, bankrolling “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Che” and “Agora.”
It launched the careers of helmers Juan Antonio Bayona and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, co-producing “The Orphanage” and “Impacto.”
But “if Telecinco Cinema has a talent, it’s detecting directors’ potential,” says Barrois, citing Daniel Monzon’s B.O. sleeper “Cell 211,” a sales hit for France’s Films Distribution.
Telecinco Cinema brings a lot to the table: huge domestic marketing muscle via its Telecinco channel, European-style creative freedom, “sufficient finance to implement directors’ vision,” says Barrois, and blue-chip international connections with Wild Bunch, Focus and Summit, with which it’s financing “The Impossible,” a film that looks set to take Bayona’s career to another level.
Cordial, knowledgeable and with sharp business acumen — the exec bought “CSI” for Telecinco, which became a huge hit — Barrois now heads up not just a production house but a brand.
– John Hopewell