True Colours AFM Lineup Shows Range of Shades in Palette

Nick Vivarelli
·4-min read

Since True Colours launched in 2015, it has rapidly doubled the size of its lineups to roughly 20 titles per year, while continuing to carefully curate distribution strategies for each film and made lots of global inroads.

The company is known among Italian producers for transparency and providing rapid sales reports, while foreign buyers like working with execs “because they always make things easy,” says Nicolas Zumaglini, head of content at prominent Latin American distributor Telefilms, who notes that “they have definitely helped spread Italian cinema in the region.” As for True Colours giving cinema Italiano more global reach, the most poignant recent example is “Il Testimone Invisibile” (“The Invisible Witness”), a remake of Spanish thriller (“Contratiempo”), directed by Italy’s Stefano Mordini. “Invisible Witness” is the European title that’s scored the highest gross at the Chinese box office, roughly $5 million, since movie theaters re-opened in China post-pandemic.

The True Colours lineup at AFM shows the range of shades in their palette, including some promising non-Italian pics.

A Bookshop in Paris” is a Paris-set drama about a rare books dealer with a paraplegic daughter and an exuberant young woman who bursts into his shop one day. It is based on a screenplay by Italian master Ettore Scola and stars Berenice Bejo and Sergio Castellitto, who also directed. The aim is to premiere at a major 2021 fest. It’s also been presold to 15 countries based on a promo.

Fortuna — The Girl and the Giants” is a dark fable directed by Neapolitan first-timer Nicolangelo Gelormini, starring Valeria Golino as the mother of a 6-year-old girl in a highrise on Naples’ outskirts. Due to trauma she lives in a fantasy world where she is an alien princess chased by giants. “One of our missions is to discover new talents — sometimes even with commercially challenging works — and take them to audiences around the world,” says Giulia Casavecchia, head of sales at True Colours. Pic, which has a distinctive visual style, just premiered at the Rome Film Festival’s Alice in the City sidebar and will likely soon surface at other fests.

Freaks Out” is a new genre-bender by Gabriele Mainetti, whose offbeat hit, the 2016 superhero pic “They Call Me Jeeg,” sold widely. Among Italy’s hottest upcoming titles, it is set in 1943 Rome where four “freaks” who work in a circus are left to their own devices when the Eternal City is bombed by Allied Forces. True Colours is handling China, Latin America, Spain and festivals on this title.

Psychological thriller “The Guest Room” is an elevated genre pic directed by Stefano Lodovichi, who recently helmed legal thriller “The Trial” streaming on Netflix.

I Am Santa Claus” is a Christmas comedy, a sub-genre that are the company’s specialties. In the title role is the late great Gigi Proietti.

Love Under House Arrest” is among the latest Italian comedies handled by True Colours that have made this genre its strong suit.

Puntasacra” doc about a shantytown near Rome won top prizes at the Visions du Réel and Annecy Cinema Italien fests. True Colours reteams with director Francesca Mazzoleni whose 2017 fiction feature debut, “That’s Life” (“Succede”), was also sold by the company.

“We’ve believed in her from her first work,” says Casavecchia, noting that sometimes “there is this misconception that True Colours only handles Italian comedies.”

Superheroes” is from “Perfect Strangers’” writer-director Paolo Genovese, who has come up with a strong concept for his latest film: “What superpowers must a couple have to stay together and love each other for a lifetime?” Presold to 21 territories ahead of its early 2021 Italian release.

Drama/road movie “200 Meters” marks the debut of Palestinian helmer Ameen Nayfeh and is about a Palestinian construction worker who, due to a red tape issue, must take huge risks to find a way to cross the West Bank wall to reach his hospitalized son. Casavecchia notes they took the pic before it went to Venice where it landed the audience prize in the Venice Days section. “We’ve been increasingly dipping our toes in non-Italian films,” she says, “and consider this a key aspect of our evolution going forward.”

Why Not You” is one of nearly 10 LBGTQ titles in the catalog. “We like that color,” says Casavecchia. This one is an Austrian/Belgian co-production by writer-director Evi Romen that premiered in Zurich, where it won a prize, and explores the tragic consequences of a deadly attack in a gay club in Rome. It’s a project they boarded at the script stage.

Zanka Contact” is an edgy romancer by Moroccan first-timer Ismaël El Iraki, pairing a faded rock star with a drug problem and a musically gifted prostitute, played by Khansa Batma, who won a Venice Horizons prize for her performance. It also testifies to True Colours’ increasing expansion beyond Italian confines “a key aspect of our evolution going forward,” says Casavecchia, who calls this pic “’A Star Is Born’ meets Tarantino in ‘Casablanca.’ ”

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