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Berlinale: Rai Com Takes World Sales on Fresh Batch of Italian Films (EXCLUSIVE)

ROME – Italian pubcaster Rai’s sales unit, Rai Com, has boarded a trio of promising pics by young Italian directors, including “The War of the Yokels,” a contemporary Romeo and Juliet tale set in southern Italy that just premiered in the Rotterdam fest’s Bright Future section.

Rai Com will also be kicking off sales at EFM with market premieres of World War II romancer “In War For Love” by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, aka Pif, whose “The Mafia Kills Only in Summer” made an international splash, and “There Is a Light” by Fabio Mollo, whose “South is Nothing” played in Toronto and Berlin.

1970s-set “Yokels” (pictured) is a tragicomic class-struggle satire pitting two groups of boys against each other, country bumpkins against rich kids. One of the rich boys has feelings for a pretty girl in the other camp, who becomes the pic’s Juliet. This first feature by directorial duo Davide Barletti and Lorenzo Conte, founders of Rome-based Fluid Video Crew collective, boasts Italian A-lister Claudio Santamaria (“They Call Me Jeeg”), in the cast, and ace film editor Jacopo Quadri (“Fire at Sea”). Produced by Minumum Fax Media, it will soon be released in Italy.

“In War For Love” turns on a Sicilian worker in a New York restaurant who is compelled to go to Sicily to propose marriage during the 1943 Allied invasion of the island. Produced by Wildside and released by Rai Cinema, the movie has earned almost $4 million at the Italian box office. Pif’s “The Mafia Kills Only in Summer,” which scored more than $6 million, was released in the U.S. by Distrib Films.

“There is a Light” is a road movie pairing a gay man and a pregnant singer, played by Isabella Aragonese (“Sun, Heart, Love”), both in their 30s. They travel through Italy trying to track down the father of her unborn child after meeting in a gay nightclub in Turin. Produced by Donatella Botti (“The Best of Youth”), this is Mollo’s second feature after the assured Mafia-infused “South is Nothing,” which traveled widely on the fest circuit.

At EFM, Rai Com will also be screening the market premiere of Francesco Amato’s now-completed “Let Yourself Go,” toplining Toni Servillo (“The Great Beauty”). It’s a comedy in which Servillo plays a Jewish psychoanalyst who lives next door to his ex-wife, with whom he is still in love. After a minor illness, he encounters, and  becomes entangled with, a smoldering personal trainer named Claudia, played by Spanish actress Veronica Echegui, who recently starred with Gael Garcia Bernal in Mexican comedy “You’re Killing Me Susana.” “Let Yourself Go,” which is produced by Cattleya, was introduced to buyers at AFM in November.

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