Italy’s TorinoFilmLab, the international film and TV series incubator linked to the Torino Film Festival, is forging a French connection with an Alpine twist.

The Torino lab, based in the Northern Italian city at the foothill of the Alps — and known in the indie community for supporting global talent and projects through a multitude of training and co-production programs — is teaming with the nearby Annecy Cinéma Italien fest to launch Alpi Film Lab, a new initiative to foster co-productions and film education programs.

The stated goal is to enhance the cross-border film industry collaborations between Italy and France, spreading knowledge of the professional opportunities in the film production field and boosting the value of Italian-French film co-productions, in particular — though not strictly limited to — those in the Alpine territory between France and Italy.

Alpi Film Lab will be dedicated to two activities: a training course for upcoming film professionals in the region, focused on the development of 8 feature film projects (fiction, documentaries and animation) with cross-border co-production potential and, separately, an educational course targeting 8,000 students from Italian and French high schools, universities, and academies in the Alpine region over the next 2 years.

“We will bring the TFL experience, which places collaboration at the very heart of the training method, to focus on the new generations and on interregional collaboration to contribute to the economic and cultural development of the area,” TorinoFilmLab managing director Mercedes Fernandez said in a statement.

The first round of the training course, in French and Italian, will take place between the end of April and the end of November 2021, and will feature 3 workshop sessions offline (unless this plan needs to change due to COVID-19 contingency factors) and 3 interspersed online sessions. The final projects will be showcased in November to an audience of select film professionals, during a Torino Film Festival industry event.

During 2021 and 2022, a total of 24 participants (12 from France and 12 from Italy) per year will be selected to work together, guided by a team of tutors and mentors, the statement said.

“We are certain that this new link between Turin and Annecy will create new opportunities for exchange between France and Italy, two countries that have historical and well-established cooperation in the film industry that we wish to further develop with this project,” said Francesco Giai, director of the Annecy Cinéma Italien, France’s top Italian cinema event, who will serve as Alpi Film Lab Head of Studies (pictured, center).  

The Alpi Film Lab’s two appointed tutors are French producer Julie Billy (pictured, left) and Italian producer Giovanni Pompili (right). In June 2020, Billy co-founded new shingle June Films following a long stint at Haut et Court, where she oversaw plenty of co-productions, including “The Lobster” by Yorgos Lanthimos. Meanwhile, Pompili’s growing Rome-based Kino Produzioni shepherded recent standout drama “Sole” by Carlo Sironi.