You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

International Exec You Should Know: Movie and TV Producer Pietro Valsecchi

Idiosyncratic Italian film and TV producer Pietro Valsecchi has long been churning out hits on his home turf. His 2013 comedy sensation “Sole a catinelle,” which riffed on local economic woes, is Italy’s all-time top grosser at almost $70 million, while his 2011 comedy “What a Beautiful Day” took in $59 million in its Italian run. But the prolific producer turned to more a serious subject when he debuted “Call Me Francesco,” a biopic about Pope Francis that premiered at the Vatican’s 6,300-seat Paul VI Hall ahead of its local theatrical release earlier this month.

Now the filmmaker, whose Taodue shingle is part of Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset/Medusa powerhouse, is setting his sights on the international arena. And he’s doing it his way.

Instead of seeking international partners for several high-profile English-language TV series — including art thriller skein “Michelangelo’s Secret,” contempo Mafia drama “Buscetta” and New York-set period crimer “Once Upon a Time: The Mafia” — he says he’s simply going to fully finance them himself.

“I pitched some of my projects to American broadcasters in the past, but if you don’t have a name director like (Paolo) Sorrentino, you go nowhere,” Valsecchi says. “I have a name in Italy — I produced the most successful (Italian) films and TV series of all time; but not in the U.S. So I said to myself: ‘Let’s show them the finished product instead. When I do, I’m sure they will like what they see.’ ”

For “Michelangelo,” centered around a secret artwork that’s a potential powder keg to the Vatican, and is being tracked down by a female Brit art historian, Valsecchi has recruited “New Tricks” scribes Julian Simpson and Matthew Thomas. The four-part “Buscetta,” about the first Sicilian Mafia boss who turned informant, is penned by multihyphenate Claudio Fava, whose journalist father was killed by Cosa Nostra.

Valsecchi is proud that “Call Me Francesco” got the thumbs up from the Pope’s close collaborator, Guillermo Karcher, after he saw the completed film. “That, and getting to open it at the Vatican, have been my biggest accomplishments,” he boasts. The pic, shot in both theatrical and TV versions, is helmed by Daniele Luchetti, the Italo auteur whose “My Brother Is an Only Child” and “Our Life” competed in Cannes.

While praising Luchetti, Valsecchi notes that he doesn’t usually like working with auteur filmmakers. “I make the kind of cinema that people can feel — emotions are everything in my films — and very few Italian auteurs can do this.”

There are other aspects of the filmmaking process that Valsecchi likes to keep close to home as well, even on a project like “Call Me Francesco.” In line with his do-it-yourself philosophy, Taodue is handling world sales.

More Biz

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content