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Visions du Reel: Italy’s Kino Produzioni Set for Apocalyptic Sundance-Backed Doc ‘About the End’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Northern Lights (Aurora borealis), near Myvatn,
Moritz Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Italy’s Kino Produzioni, which is in competition at Visions du Réel with Sicily-set “Il Mio Corpo,” has teamed up with Sweden’s Fasad on “About the End,” a timely apocalypse-themed doc.

Described in promotional materials as being “about the apocalypses that we have survived, and those that we are still waiting for,” this creative doc backed by the Sundance Institute is being prepped by Italian filmmaker and visual artist Cristina Picchi.

Picchi’s previous docs have screened in Venice, Locarno and Nyon where her “Cinetrain: Russian Winter” won a Visions du Réel audience award in 2014.

Fasad, which originated the project, is the shingle behind “The Raft” which won Germany’s Prix Europa for best doc last year.

Kino is now in talks for a top Italian broadcaster to come on board “About the End” for which the original plan was to start shooting late this summer,” says Kino chief Giovanni Pompili. He added that due to the coronavirus outbreak he now “needs to understand” when cameras will be able to roll.

Prior to the pandemic, Picchi did research in Quebec, Indonesia, and Tuscany for the project that intertwines three narratives.

The basic idea behind “About the End” is to immersively explore “the concept of ‘apocalypse’ in its emotional, metaphorical, philosophical and socio-political manifestations,” according to the synopsis, “ultimately touching on themes such as human transiency and vulnerability.”

In Quebec viewers will see a post-apocalyptic community of activists who are dismantling radar stations that had been installed in the Arctic region during the Cold War. The Indonesia shoot will look at how people live under the country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi, their rituals to placate the gods and how they decide it’s time to evacuate. The Italy portion is set in an abandoned Tuscan monastery, the “Bug Out Location” chosen by an ascetic former nun named Teresa to prep for impending doom by praying, doing martial arts and wishing she had a gun.

“As a producer I always use narratives steeped in social reality as the starting point for my projects,” says Pompili who also has another doc in the works, titled “Abbiamo Vinto Noi” (“We Are The Winners”). It’s being helmed by veteran Italian documaker Giovanni Piperno who co-directed “Le Cose Belle” with Agostino Ferrente (“Selfie”).

“We Are The Winners” – on which Matteo Garrone’s Archimede is a minority co-producer – is set in youth centers on the impoverished outskirts of several Italian cities. It involves film laboratories held by Piperno with street kids who make shorts about life in their hoods. The ongoing black-and-white project has already spawned several prizewinning shorts shot in Rome’s Tor Sapienza quarter.

Meanwhile in the scripted feature film realm, Kino recently made Carlo Sironi’s “Sole,” the love story intertwined with baby trafficking that’s been making an international splash after launching last year from Venice and Toronto (Sironi is among Variety’s 10 European Director’s to watch).

Kino’s new narrative feature film projects include “Delta” by Michele Vannucci (“Il Più Grande Sogno”) and “La Bella Estate,” a free-form adaptation of Cesare Pavese’s eponymous collection of short novels to be directed by Laura Luchetti whose drama “Twin Flower” is among Italy’s recent standout titles.