Palomar, the Italian TV and film production company behind “Inspector Montalbano” and “The Name of The Rose,” is launching a unit dedicated to documentaries to be headed by Andrea Romeo, founder and chief of Italy’s Biografilm Festival.
Palomar Doc, which will become operational in March, will be developing and producing docs and doc series by Italian and European directors for theatrical and platform distribution with a special focus on tapping into new opportunities offered by streamers, the company said in a statement.
Romeo will be at the European Film Market in Berlin scouting for projects.
While Italy is quite active in terms of its overall docs output, the country has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to churning out high-profile docs that can travel such as Agostino Ferrente’s “Selfie” or Beniamino Barrese’s “The Disappearance of my Mother,” which Kino Lorber recently released in the U.S.
Palomar, which is headed by CEO Carlo Degli Esposti and Managing Director Nicola Serra, has been ramping up operations since being acquired in January of 2019 by French integrated media group Mediawan.
With this move Palomar will become a rare case of a major Italian player with a dedicated docs unit labelled as such even though pubcaster RAI recently launched a docs unit and Fremantle Italy has a factual division that is increasingly active in this sector.
Romeo has plenty of experience in the field. Besides founding and heading Bologna’s Biografilm fest, billed as a celebration of human lives and a gateway into Italy for some of the world’s top docs, he also distributes docs and feature films in Italy, via his I Wonder Pictures shingle that since 2015 has locally handled titles such as “Searching For Sugar Man” and “Citizenfour,” among others. Romeo is also active in exhibition and has previously dipped his fingers in production.
Romeo’s official title in Palomar Doc will be that of creative producer. “I am sure that Andrea Romeo’s input will be decisive in developing this production area thanks to his experience, competence and vision,” Serra said in a statement.
Romeo, who will continue his activities as distributor via I Wonder and exhibitor independently from Palomar, called his new new job “a great opportunity to put into play more than a decade of activity in this field.”
As previously announced, Leena Pasanen, former director of Dok Leipzig, will step into Romeo’s role as artistic director of the Biografilm Festival.