×

Italian Producers Arturo Paglia, Isabella Cocuzza Risk Their Own Cash Films With Global Prospects

In Italy, where local movies are increasingly sagging at the box office, Arturo Paglia and Isabella Cocuzza represent something new -— young producers scoring solid returns with movies that can travel. But even more impressive: They’re willing to risk their own money on the projects.

It’s a novel vision for Italy, where producers typically mount movies by assembling outside financing, and then pocket only peanuts beyond a producer’s fee.

Latest in the pipeline of Paglia and Cocuzza’s Rome-based Paco Cinematografica single is Giuseppe Tornatore’s English-language cross-generational romancer “The Correspondence,” toplining Jeremy Irons and Olga Kurylenko, which started shooting March 30 in Northern Italy.

“Correspondence” marks the producers’ second English-lingo Tornatore pic, following “The Best Offer,” the 2013 thriller starring Geoffrey Rush, which grossed $13 million in Italy via Warner Bros. and was sold globally by uMedia.  “Offer” repped a major comeback for the “Cinema Paradiso” helmer, whose misguided $35 million Sicilian epic “Baaria” had flopped in 2009.

“Giuseppe had international ideas, but he was shooting most of them in Italian,” says Paglia, who invested nearly $4 million in profits from Paco’s previous pics to finance the bulk of “Offer,” rather than seek co-production partners. That choice paid off.

“Our financial model (involves us holding) onto the rights, because if you keep all rights, in the end, you get a nice payday,” Paglia says. Adds Cocuzza: “We feel a sense of parenting toward our projects.”

Paglia and Cocuzza started Paco in 2003, putting their apartment up for collateral. They scored their first breakout hit in 2010 with road movie “Basilicata Coast to Coast,” about a pop band, helmed by character actor Rocco Papaleo in his directorial debut. The film opened on 30 screens and expanded to 130 within a week. Since then, says Paglia, “All our profits from one film go straight into the next one.”

More Film

  • Amazon Developing Original Series Based on

    Amazon Studios Buys 'Selah and the Spades,' Will Develop Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to “Selah and the Spades,” a gripping look at a prep school drug dealer, Variety has learned. The film marks the feature debut of writer and director Tayarisha Poe and had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was a favorite with critics. Amazon has [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • The Wound African Cinema Berlin Film

    Finance Forum Brings African WIP Into Focus at Durban FilmMart

    The 10th edition of the Durban FilmMart, which unspools parallel to the 40th Durban Intl. Film Festival, will feature 10 fiction and 10 documentary works-in-progress taking part in its annual Finance Forum. The leading co-production market on the continent, the Forum brings together producers, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, funding bodies, and other industry players from across the [...]

  • The Lion King

    'The Lion King' Looks to Roar Life Into Domestic Box Office

    Hollywood just can’t wait for “The Lion King” to hit theaters. That’s because Disney’s highly anticipated remake is expected to draw herds of moviegoers at a time when ticket sales are seriously struggling. Box office watchers predict that the studio’s grand return to the Pride Lands could become one of this year’s biggest hits. “The [...]

  • Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky

    Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky Cinema After Management Shuffle

    Sarah Wright, Sky’s top acquisitions exec, will take on responsibility for Sky Cinema after a management shuffle at the pay-TV giant. Wright fills a role vacated by Ian Lewis, who recently left Sky after 20 years. He was one of several Sky staffers to leave after its takeover by Comcast. As director of Sky Cinema [...]

  • Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer

    Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer on Matthew Modine Slate

    Veteran actress and union activist Jodi Long is running for secretary-treasurer of SAG-AFTRA as a member of Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. She is facing Camryn Manheim, who announced her candidacy on July 9 as part of the Unite for Strength slate for the re-election of union president Gabrielle Carteris. Unite for Strength and United [...]

  • Toni Monty

    Durban FilmMart Head Toni Monty: ‘Africa Has Its Own Story to Tell’

    The Durban Film Festival’s industry program, the Durban FilmMart, celebrates its 10th anniversary as the leading confab for filmmakers from across the continent, with a lively program of panel discussions, seminars and workshops unspooling from July 19-22 in this sunny seaside city. In addition, 10 fiction and 10 documentary works-in-progress have been selected for the DFM’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content