03/12/2018 The World Premiere of Nanni Moretti’s Latest Documentary, Filmed in Chile, Was Met with Strong Acclaim

The world premiere of Santiago, Italia this past weekend was met with an ovation that lasted over 7 minutes, closing the Turin Film Festival. The prestigious Italian filmmaker’s latest feature-length film will be released this week in over 40 theaters across Italy, and its Chilean producers, Storyboard Media, will release it in our country during the second semester of next year, at a date that is yet to be determined.

A year after its shooting, the latest film by prestigious Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti (1953), a documentary filmed in Chile entitled Santiago, Italia, had its worldwide premiere this past weekend, as the closing film of the 36th edition of the Turin International Film Festival. And the audience received it with enthusiasm, as they demonstrated by giving the filmmaker a standing ovation that lasted over 7 minutes last Saturday night, once the film was over. The film, which has generated significant interest in the Italian press, with articles and interviews to Moretti in media outlets such as RAI and the newspaper La Repubblica, will also have its commercial release in over 40 theaters in the country starting from Thursday, December 6th, and will debut in French theaters in this coming February.

Produced by the director’s production company, Sacher Film, along with the French production company Le Pacte and the Italian company Rai Cinema, the Chilean shoot was produced by local production company Storyboard Media (El Pacto de Adriana), who as the film’s Chilean executive producers have already confirmed that the Chilean premiere will take place during the second semester of 2019, at a date that is yet to be defined. And as its title suggests, the subject the film addresses establishes a strong bond between Italy and Chile’s recent history: by combining archive footage with interviews filmed over 12 days in September of 2017, Santiago, Italia reconstructs the Italian embassy’s role in Santiago during the months that followed the military strike in 1973, in particular, as an asylum for hundreds of political refugees that opposed Pinochet’s dictatorship, offering them assistance in order to abandon the country.

In the presentation that took place before the Turin Festival screening, Moretti explained how he came up with the idea of making this film when, a year and a half ago, on a visit to Santiago for a lecture and a gathering with Chilean audiences, the Italian ambassador in our country, Marco Ricci, gave him a detailed account of what happened at the embassy. This was a reality that Moretti, who back then was just 20 years old and was keenly following what was happening in Chile from a distance, had heard about, but had then forgotten, until he heard of it once again.

That was the story he wanted to tell in the documentary, which at first only considered interviews in Italy, but which he finally decided to come and shoot in Chile: “This is an Italian story that we must be proud of, a story of hospitality,” the filmmaker explained, “And I would like to be able to tell it today, when a large portion of Italian society is leaning precisely in the opposite direction of hospitality and solidarity. I want to tell this story in a simple and essential way, which is something that also requires work; there were many analogies between Chile and Italia, but instead of interviewing history scholars or experts, I chose to interview people who went through these experiences in September of 1973, and I preferred for them to be the ones who spoke, with their humanity and their emotions.”

One of the projects most striking aspects is that throughout Moretti’s film career, which is more than four decades long and during which he has been received international recognition as one of the most prominent auteurs in European film, he has developed a filmography that is almost exclusively centered on fiction, with 12 feature-length films, the latest being, up until now, Mia Madre (2015). His incursions in documentary film have been very sporadic, with more limited diffusion, including titles such as La cosa (1990), or short films such as Il giorno della prima di Close Up (1996), all of which are typically filmed in Italy, with few exceptions, such as the short film The Last Customer (2002), shot in New York, and now Santiago, Italia.

De izq. a der.: Carlos Nuñez (dir. ejecutivo de Storyboard Media), Nani Moretti y Gabriela Sandoval (dir. ejecutiva de Storyboard media)

 During the shooting days in Santiago, Moretti visited and toured the Italian embassy, located in Santiago’s Providencia area, and also visited different spots in the capital city (including locations such as Estadio Nacional and Punta Peuco, a prison facility), using the opportunity to interview not only people who experienced those days inside the diplomatic precinct in person, but also other figures as diverse as Carmen Herts, a lawyer and currently a member of Congress, and filmmakers such as Patricio Guzmán, Miguel Littin, and Carmen Castillo. The result: 40 hours of footage, which were finally reduced to an 80-minute film.

Known for his particular sense of humor and his keen insights into Italian politics and society, and awarded at the official competitions of some of the world’s main film festivals, such as Berlin and Venice, Moretti has received particular distinctions at Cannes, where he not only was chosen as Best Director in 1994 for Caro diario and obtained a Palm for La habitación del hijo in 2001, but also presided over the jury in 2012. For Santiago, Italia, he worked with a team that consisted mainly of Chilean, and the only people who travelled with him from Italy were his director’s assistant, Loredana Conte, who worked with him on La habitación del hijo and El Caimán, and his director of photography, Italian/Chilean cinematographer Maura Morales Bergmann. The film’s montage was carried out by Italian editor Clelio Benevento, who has been nominated twice for the David de Donatello Award, on one occasion with his previous work with Moretti, Mia Madre.

Founded in 1982 and currently directed by film critic Emanuela Martini –one of the few women in charge of a film festival in Italy—, Turin is Italy’s second most important film festival, after Venice, and has a line of programming that is centered on independent or more experimental films, and especially on discovering new talents. Without going any further, in recent years, the festival has awarded filmmakers such as Damien Chazelle (the man behind La La Land and El primer hombre en la luna, currently showing, who received recognition at the 2009 edition of the festival for his debut film, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) and Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín, who was recognized for Tony Manero exactly one year ago, in 2008, and was part of the festival’s official jury last year.

For their part, in addition to founding the Santiago International Film Festival, SANFIC –organized and produced together with CorpArtes— in 2005, a film event that has already had 14 editions, Storyboard Media has developed diverse film productions since 2014, with particular emphasis on its first documentary, Lissette Orozco’s El pacto de Adriana, a film that has had an acclaimed an awarded run in festivals of the most diverse latitudes since its world premiere last year in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section, as well as being nominated for the Fenix and Platino awards. This new incursion in the documentary genre, now driven by a such a world-renowned talent such as Nanni Moretti, will precede the premiere of the other new fiction and documentary pieces that this production company is working on at the moment.

“To Storyboard Media, it has been and continues to be very relevant to be a part of this new Nanni Moretti film,” commented Gabriela Sandoval and Carlos Núñez, the documentary’s Chilean producers, who were also present at the Turin screening. “It was very exciting to see the theater packed for the screening, and for it to be received with a 7-minute standing ovation. As co-producers, we are very happy and excited about the film, and the audience’s reception reaffirmed to us that it’s a very important documentary, not only for Chile and Italy, but also for the rest of the world. We’re confident that it will have a widespread circulation on an international level, not only at festivals, but also at theater screenings and other platforms, including of course the Chilean premiere during the second semester of next year.”

 

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