Meeting “Financing – Welcome to the Jungle”

Baburka and The Cartel of Independents were back on Saturday 24 February with a meeting to discuss funding held at the Felt Music Club & School. The name chosen for the event “Financing – Welcome to the Jungle”, wants to emphasize the difficulty that often independent productions encounter every time they face a new project, looking for funds and financing. The aim of the meeting was to provide concrete support for smaller production companies that intend to follow the path of the independent cinema.

The Cartello degli indipendenti (Cartel of the independents) invited some organizations involved in this industry to illustrate the options available to the micro and nano companies of the Italian independent scene:

– Calls

– Joint Committee

– Crowdfunding

Veronica Baccolo, funding of Indigo Film, focused on funding calls and effective ways to submit a film project. The calls represent an important opportunity for companies that intend to start a production. The independent organizations , do not always have the economic requirements and/or structure to compete, and not all calls are suitable for all projects.

During the meeting, Veronica addressed the differences among the typologies of calls (regional, ministerial, European) that support the phases of a project: from development to production, from post-production to distribution. It is essential to understand which phase is most suitable to receive funding, according to the type of call in which you decide to participate and, above all, to know how to recognize the potential and the limitations of your project in order to better meet the requirements. The most complicated calls are often those where legal, financial and reporting documentation is required. For this reason,” said Veronica Baccolo, “it is important to pay the utmost attention to the requirements.

The second contribution was made by Andrea Canali, secretary of the Troupe Joint Commission of Anica. Canali focused on the National Contract for Cine-Audiovisual Workers and on the derogations that the Joint Commission has to assign. Very often, work in independent projects is carried out with light troupes that do not reach the numbers of a standard one, not only due to a budget issue but also, and above all due to their convenience. The independent production approach is completely different from that of a standard production, much more fluid, consisting of multi-purpose figures and hybrids. This does not imply lower quality, but a peculiarity.

The composition of the crew and the work schedule are at the heart of the Commission’s analysis, which accepts requests from producers before the beginning of the shooting, and on which it is asked to provide its opinion. For smaller productions, it is often difficult to comply with the rules contained in the national contract, which is also the reason why some exceptions can be requested to the Commission. As Canali has pointed out in detail, these often concern the sixth working day and, even more frequently, the composition of the crew in terms of numbers. For economic reasons, it is quite obvious that it are mainly small productions that ask for derogations from the social partners, but there are no differences for the Commission, which evaluates each film project appropriately according to the peculiarities of the film (by genre, plot development, number of outdoor scenes, etc.).

And lastly, crowdfunding was discussed as an alternative form of financing (or a supplement to other funds) for the cinema. The director Thomas Morelli and Elisabetta Fusco, social media manager and festival consultant, introduced to the audience the different online platforms that support crowdfunding, analysing Morelli’s documentaries as examples of successful campaigns.

Starting with the launch and operation of a crowdfunding campaign, Elisabetta Fusco illustrated the different forms of this particular system of collective financing (based on rewards for users, but not only) that has been able to raise 41 million euros in Italy in 2017, a remarkable result if we consider the poor willingness in our country to buy online. Thomas Morelli is one of the Italian directors who has focused mainly on crowdfunding for the production of his documentaries and has been able to significantly increase the funds raised over three projects, thanks to the right strategies: a good use of social media and the widespreading distribution of his films. The creation of a solid audience is fundamental, explained Morelli, to launch a campaign to support a new film project, because the user/viewer needs to “trust” the director.

Generally speaking, crowdfunding is an effective way to raise funds in the form of donations for a project; in Italy there are at least 46 platforms dedicated to crowdfunding, each one with its own characteristics, a sign that this form of financing is growing in some way.

In conclusion, we believe that it is a real priority for independent productions to fully understand the nature of their project in order to focus on their energies, which are however reduced compared to big productions, and by designing their production path from the very beginning to the distribution, together with an adequate marketing plan to support the whole process, in order to face the cinema system in a more fluid, dynamic and independent way.

Below is a link to the full video of the meeting: