New Italian arthouse distributor Fil Rouge Media is making its debut at Venice with three titles in the fest’s official selection: Kim Ki-duk’s “One on One,” Hong Sang-soo’s “Hill of Freedom” and David Gordon Green’s “Manglehorn,” which it acquired from WestEnd Films in partnership with Stefano Jacono’s Movies Inspired, another recent new entry in Italy’s changing distribution scene.
Fil Rouge Media, which is based in Rome, is headed by Andrea Cirla, a former buyer for Good Films, Bolero and Eagle Pictures. One of the things Cirla is interested in are editorial projects that comprise packaging auteur-driven movies with publication of its script, a book or the soundtrack.
He is doing this with his first title, the Claude Lanzmann docu “The Last of the Unjust,” which will be complemented by a book to be published in Italy in which key conversations from the Holocaust-themed docu will be transcribed. Meanwhile, “One on One,” which opened the Venice Days section, has already been released in Italy via Fil Rouge in a 14-print niche outing. Cirla is hoping it will gain steam over the weekend.
An Italian web release of “One on One” will follow shortly. Cirla is negotiating a deal with an Italian Internet platform. “Manglehorn” will go out in Italy next year.
Cirla said one of his goals is to try to release films in their original language on more screens than they currently get in Italian cinemas where most pics still go out dubbed.
“Dubbing is really expensive. If we in Italy could do away with it entirely, as they’ve done in France, it would make things much easier, though I realize this won’t happen anytime soon,” Cirla noted.
Cirla also said that, while prices for arthouse titles for Italy may have decreased in recent years as the Italian economy nosedived, “the perception that sales companies outside Italy have of what a movie can make here is still not in line with the real market situation, which has gotten worse than they realize.”
The reason new players are surfacing in Italy’s arthouse scene is that medium and larger distributors can no longer dedicate the necessary energy to overcome the distribution difficulties that real arthouse films pose.
“But smaller players, with much fewer titles, can,” Cirla confides.