Two years after its launch, Italy’s Business Location South Tyrol — Alto Adige (BLS) film fund is at the EFM basking in the glow of Giuseppe Tornatore’s hit artworld mystery “The Best Offer” and a slew of Italo and German productions in various stages that it has backed.
Tornatore’s English-language “Best Offer,” which unspools today as a Berlinale Special Gala, was mostly shot in the autonomous Alpine province at Italy’s northern point, which is now flourishing on the central European film map.
Pic has scored north of $10 million in Italy via Warner Bros. since its January release.
BLS has a generous German-model funding system that allowed “Offer” to tap into nearly $1 million.
Cameras are rolling in the region’s Val Senales valley on 1875-set “Das finstere Tal,” dubbed an “Alpine ‘Django,’ ” helmed by Austria’s Andreas Prochaska (“Dead in 3 Days”) starring Sam Riley (“On the Road”) and Tobias Moretti, produced by Austria’s Allegro in co-production with Berlin-based X Film Creative Pool.
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“It doesn’t happen every day that you get a director like Tornatore shooting in your territory,” said BLS topper Christiana Wertz, who is particularly proud that “Best Offer” used interiors in Bolzano, South Tyrol’s capital, besides postcard Alpine settings.
“Promoting our territory is actually not that important for us,” she said, adding that what’s key was the amount of money and time spent in the territory and fostering the local industry’s talent and infrastructure.
BLS hands out €5 million ($7 million) yearly with a $2 million cap per project. Producers must reinvest at least 150% of spend locally.
In just two years BLS has supported 70 projects, including Fandango’s “Diaz — Don’t Clean Up This Blood,” helmed by Daniele Vicari; Austrian helmer Ernst Gossner’s “Monte Piano” from Austria’s Sigma; and Cattleya’s upcoming comedy “Il principe abusivo” by Alessandro Siani.