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Torino Short Film Market 2017: Interview with Jacopo Chessa

From November 29 to December 1, the one and only short film market in Italy comes back with its second edition: a small talk with its creator


Torino Short Film Market is back with its second edition. From November 29 to December 1, 2017, in the rooms of the Readers’ Club, Rai Production Centre in Turin and at the Torino Incontra Congress Centre, the one and only short film market in Italy will propose three intense days of meetings, pitch, virtual reality in-depth studies and showcases, video library, market screenings for players and a programme of short screenings open to the audience.

“Compared to 2016, there has been an increase in quantity and quality,” told us Jacopo Chessa, director of the Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio (Italian Short Film National Centre) and creator of the TSFM. “This year’s edition is bigger. Both from a strictly logistical point of view (three locations) and from a temporal point of view (three days) as well as from a content point of view.” It is enough to look at the program to see that. The first day is dedicated to digital contents, the second day to develop and distribution, the third day to production.

“The digital day, curated by Simone Arcagni, includes a round table with important players, the presentation of twelve projects to the various potential investors and talks by important market players, including Loren Hammonds, programmer for Experiential Content and Feature Films at Tribeca Film Festival. Oltrecorto, which I cure with Ludovica Fonda, remains a fundamental fixed point. In our idea, the short film is indeed a work, a commodity, an object – call it what you want – but it is also something powerful, which will find its full expression in a feature film or a series. This year we have four projects for Oltrecorto coming from Australia, Romania, Palestine, and Switzerland. Among the tutors of Oltrecorto, there’s a director who was also a great shorts filmmaker and who believes in the fundamental importance of short films – Paolo Genovese. And, as far as the real world of short films is concerned, I can tell you that we’ll have the main European buyers and some extra-Europeans, coming from Canada, China, Argentina, and Japan. We will have Vimeo, which does not buy but has great firepower in spreading the contents. We will have, in the pitch Distributors meet Buyers, seven distribution companies to which is added the Centro Sperimentale (the National Film School) with which we have established a partnership. And then, Supporting Short Films, in which producers will find three very interesting funds to support the production of short films, and All Rights, where critical issues and opportunities for the use of production music and archive materials will be illustrated. Finally, three days of screenings handled by our programmers Enrico Vannucci and Massimiliano Nardulli, and two awards given to a short screened in our programs from Mediaset Premium and Sub-T.”

Un'immagine del Torino Short Film Market 2016

Torino Short Film Market reaffirms its role as “a link between young creation and the audiovisual industry.” At the end of the 2016 market, several productions managed to kick off, according to Chessa: “From Oltrecorto we have two projects in development; from Distributors meet Buyers, and from the video library curated by Vannucci and Nardulli, I can tell you that several short films have been sold to TV networks as Canal+, France TV, and Mediaset.” Thanks to events like this, something is changing in Italy on the distribution front. “In the meantime, small producers stop, thankfully, from distributing, allowing the birth to small distributions. I can say that our work has given a small hand in this direction, but above all that it is a trend in the air, just think of the enlargement of the buyers’ basin in Italy. Today there are not only Mediaset and Studio Universal: three channels of the Rai universe have been added. And I am convinced that more will soon be added”.

The Italian short film market has its own specificity and it is far away (and fortunately different) from the Clermont-Ferrand model. “Clermont has been and is very important for the world of short films, but its market, whose main part is the exhibitors’ space, is a model that is running out of its driving force. I believe that in Clermont, too, they are realising this and their market will soon be renewed. We will not find ourselves unprepared, because we have been present in Clermont for more than ten years. Our aim is to create opportunities for those who really bring the short film world forward, be it the television buyer, the film school or the young director. It is there that a market demonstrates its importance and usefulness – in identifying partners and putting them at the same table.”

The possibility of focusing on distributing short films in cinemas is no longer a mirage. “We already distribute short films, albeit on a limited scale, but I can assure you that short films are in big demand nowadays,” Chessa explained. “We have also launched a project for schools, in which 8 short films programmes are available for screenings in primary and secondary schools. We had about one hundred requests from all over Italy.” In the publication Italian Short Film Industry. Report 2014, curated for the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo and Direzione Generale Cinema, Chessa argued that the Italian short film industry is now facing a crossroad. A definitive development on one hand, an implosion on the other. “I would say that the crossroad is behind and that the right path has been taken,” he affirms today. “A fundamental milestone will be the new cinema law, which nobody has yet seen at work. I am definitely confident on the whole line.”

The appointment is in Turin from November 29 to December 1, 2017. The complete programme of the Torino Short Film Market is available on the official website.

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Editor-in-Chief @ Good Short Films

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