“If our stories stimulate questions and reflections, we have achieved our goal”
Industry Report: Documentary
Leonardo Barrile • Producer, Samarcanda Film
The 2022 Emerging Producer coming from Italy discusses the power of documentary film, the present and future of the industry, and his projects
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Leonardo Barrile: The documentary can always be considered as one of the noblest narrative forms of the cinematographic language. It is certainly a very powerful tool to stimulate political and social changes, especially when the story becomes authentic and sincere. I am convinced that an artistic point of view can’t be authentic without a strong connection with society and with events worldwide. If our stories stimulate questions and reflections, we have achieved our goal. This is what we are trying to do in Samarcanda Film, working hard on our artistic and creative identity.
The pandemic had an impact on the entire sector. How did it influence your work as a producer? Have the projects that you work on changed?
I believe that the pandemic has deeply changed society. Consequently, also the entire sector has been affected by this epochal change. But the biggest change has been in people and in their daily lives. The challenge that awaits us in the near future is working for a social and cultural reconstruction after this blackout. Throughout the pandemic I've tried to be faithful to my artistic identity and my professional attitude. With enormous sacrifices we waited for the right moment investing again time and finances in our projects, at the end of the story we’ve transformed the fear of those days in a new creative energy.
What do you think is the future of the distribution of documentary films?
Institutions must help the industry to create conditions for bringing people back to cinemas, helping producers and distributors to relaunch their business. I believe that we must look for the quality of the films and not market trends. We must provide the audience with new languages, and not only passive entertainment. In this sense, platforms are very important for entertainment but it’s a big risk to allow them total control of the audiovisual market.
What projects do you have underway?
My own company, Samarcanda Film, is working on several projects. In these weeks we are shooting our first fiction film Hambre, directed by debutant Joanna Nelson. It is an international co-production between Italy, Venezuela and Chile, supported by Ibermedia Fund, Cinema Chile, Centro Nacional Autónomo de Cinematografía (CNAC) and Rai Cinema. Nearing completion are The Dream and the Violence, by Daniele Gaglianone and Stefano Collizzolli about the 20th anniversary of G8 in Genoa 2001, and Daniel Pennac: Ho Visto Maradona, another feature doc – a personal portrait about Diego Armando Maradona by the French writer Daniel Pennac. Ready to start the festival tour is Lazzarone, a visionary and creative feature doc by Francesco Mattuzzi. We are also developing two brand-new documentaries for Italian TV broadcasters, and two feature docs which we are developing with the Ji.hlava’s 2022 Emerging Producers fellows – Jin Jeon from South Korea (read more) and Kristian van der Heyden from Belgium (read more).
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2023 edition is 31 March 2022.
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