POV associate producer Andrew Catauro reports back from Italy, where he attended the 2009 Italian Doc Screenings event.
Last week I attended an event for Italian documentary filmmakers called Italian Doc Screenings (IDS). IDS is a presentation of Doc/it (the Italian Documentary Filmmakers Association), and this year marks the first time POV has taken part. As a representative of our series, I attended alongside delegates from 24 other countries, including foreign broadcasters, commissioning editors, producers, distributors and festival programmers. The panels and pitch sessions offered some guidance through the waters of the international documentary market — which has more outlets than an Italian filmmaker may be able to find domestically.
For a variety of reasons, Italy is lacking in opportunities for television pre-sales and funding for documentary film (unlike in many other European countries), and theatrical opportunities can also be limited. Notably, IDS convened on the heels of a very controversial moment in Italian filmmaking this past month: after a documentary critical of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi premiered at the Venice Film Festival to wide acclaim, the trailer of the film was subsequently barred from Italian television.
The film is Erik Gandini‘s Videocracy, and in addition to a successful run in Venice, it recently topped an indieWire critics’ list of top documentaries at the Toronto International Film Festival. New York doc fans should jump at the chance to see the film on October 13th as a part of the Stranger Than Fiction series in New York City. (Be sure to check back at the POV blog later this week for an exclusive video interview with series host Thom Powers).
Videocracy isn’t the first time an Italian documentary has made a big splash stateside, and after a week of meetings with many other promising projects, I’m sure that it won’t be the last.