Bille August, the Danish double Palme d’Or winner known for “Pelle the Conqueror,” “Smilla’s Sense Of Snow,” and other dramas with sharp period and character details, is in early stages on “Vivaldi,” a feature about the Venetian composer of “The Four Seasons,” being developed through a new German Italian co-development fund.

The project was announced during the Locarno Industry Days’ new Alliance for Development initiative.

“The fact that Vivaldi could write such contemporary music – it’s almost like rock and roll – while being a priest in the early 18th century is something I’ve really been thinking about,” said August.

As a priest, Vivaldi worked in an orphanage for girls called the Ospedale della Pieta. He trained some of the girls and created a female ensemble orchestra which became famous throughout Europe and played his compositions.

At one point “he fell in love with one of them, and this created a big moral dilemma for him,” August notes.
And when he ran away with her he wrote “The Four Seasons.”

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But “We want to pay respect to Vivaldi the man and Vivaldi the composer, and not make a cheap love story out of it,” the director underlined. August is working on the screenplay with Irish writer Audrey O’Reilly.

Germany’s Pandora is shepherding with Reinhard Brundig and Nina Frese as producers and seeking co-production partners via ADF.

The basic concept of ADF is that “European co-development is good for co-productions and real – not just financial – co-productions are good for making better movies,” said the initiative’s topper Sophie Bourdon.

The participating co-development funds and orgs link France’s famed CNC, Italy’s MiBACT, Germany’s FFA, and Switzerland’s Federal Office of Culture.

The initiative is not a co-prod mart but rather an annual rendezvous for industryites from these four countries to discuss projects, test their positioning/market potential, and get to know each other better. Despite its four-country focus, AFD will also be open to professionals from other countries who may be interested in boarding selected projects as potential financing, sales, or distribution partners.

The other selected Alliance for Development projects are:

CNC – MiBACT: “Apres la guerre,” by Annarita Zambrano; Producer: Stephanie Douet
(Sensito Films, France)

CNC – MiBACT: “Libera Me,” by Bruno Urso, Fabrizio Urso; Producer: Vincent Brancon
(To be continued, France)

MiBACT – CNC: “L’ospite,” by Duccio Chiarini; Producer: Tommaso Arrighi
(Mood Film, Italy)

CNC – FFA: “Le garcon au cheval,” by Mikael Gaudin; Producer: Guillaume Dreyfus
(Année Zéro, France)