Duo revive Fellini’s Yaqui talkie

Romano, Shane team with Bartoccioni on 'Tulum'

Federico Fellini has returned to Cannes.

Nearly 15 years after the filmmaker’s death, “Catch Me If You Can” exec producers Tony Romano and Michel Shane have teamed with Italian filmmaker Marco Bartoccioni on “Journey to Tulum,” which will be based on Fellini’s relationship with Carlos Castaneda.

“Journey” is based on Fellini’s little-known relationship with Castaneda, the author who first wrote of his experiences with mysticism in 1968 with “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.”

Bartoccioni is working with Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra, who received Oscar noms for co-writing Fellini’s “Amarcord” as well as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blowup.” Bartoccioni also plans to add an American and a French scribe to the project.

Fellini, who died in 1993, described his adventures with Castaneda and his struggle to turn them into a film in six articles that appeared in Italy’s Corriere della Sera. The articles were published in 1986 and illustrated by Italian artist Milo Manara.

Bartoccioni obtained rights to Fellini’s work through 98-year-old screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, Fellini’s collaborator on films such as “La Dolce Vita,” “8½,” and “Juliet of the Spirits.”

Fellini spoke at length of his relationship with Castaneda in a two-part interview that appeared in the 1994 and 1995 editions of the Bright Lights Film Journal.

“Phenomena and wonders popped up,” Fellini told interviewer Toni Maraini. “When he came to my hotel, he brought along some women. I never saw him again, but after that I found strange messages in my room and objects moved around. I think it was black magic.”

The film will be shot on HD and combined with animation from Manara.

Bartoccioni, who is in Cannes working to assemble financing on the pic, told Variety that he would shoot the picture at Italy’s Cinecitta studios in addition to Los Angeles and Mexico.

Although Bartoccioni has made a short film for Cinecitta, “Journey to Tulum” would be his feature-directing debut.