CANNES Q&A: AN­DREA IER­VOLINO AND MONIKA BAC­ARDI

Cannes Market News - - NEWS - AN­DREA IER­VOLINO AND MONIKA BAC­ARDI ARE CO-FOUNDERS AND PRIN­CI­PALS OF AMBI GROUP, A CON­SOR­TIUM OF VERTICALLY IN­TE­GRATED FILM DE­VEL­OP­MENT, PRO­DUC­TION, FI­NANCE AND DISTRI­BU­TION COM­PA­NIES

How im­por­tant is Cannes for you and your busi­ness?

We are a mul­ti­fac­eted com­pany op­er­at­ing in many sec­tors within the movie in­dus­try as a whole. As such, the im­por­tance of Cannes, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties it pro­vides as a plat­form for art and com­merce, can­not be over­stated. We are very ac­tive pro­duc­ers and also have a ro­bust global sales op­er­a­tion, so Cannes nat­u­rally presents tremen­dous value for us be­cause many busi­ness goals can be achieved over the course of a week and a half. It’s a fes­ti­val and mar­ket we sim­ply must at­tend.

What other mar­kets and/or fes­ti­vals do you at­tend?

Our level of ac­tiv­ity dic­tates that we move at a very fast pace and there is never a time when we are not busy work­ing on our film slate. This trans­lates into a hec­tic travel sched­ule that sees us at all the ma­jor stops on the cir­cuit – Toronto, Ber­lin, AFM, Venice, Dubai, Tribeca, etc. as well as nu­mer­ous trips to and through­out Europe and Asia –, namely China of late.

What type of prod­uct is in de­mand cur­rently? What are the films you think work best to­day?

With more con­tent avail­able to­day than at any point in history, it’s im­por­tant to make dis­tinct films that: play to a de­fined au­di­ence; tell amaz­ing sto­ries, wor­thy of a cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ence; and are of the best qual­ity and pedi­gree. It’s a daunt­ing task but we’ve worked very hard to cre­ate a slate of films – all in var­i­ous stages of de­vel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion and re­lease –, that we feel meet our own strin­gent cri­te­ria and are ea­ger to share them with the world.

What is your mis­sion in Cannes?

A key mis­sion at any film mar­ket is do­ing ro­bust sales and we have an amaz­ing slate that will at­tract a lot of at­ten­tion from in­ter­na­tional buy­ers. This in­cludes Black But­ter­fly star­ring Antonio Ban­deras; To the Bone star­ring Keanu Reeves; James Franco’s In Du­bi­ous Bat­tle; the ro­man­tic com­edy mu­si­cal Bas­mati Blues star­ring Brie Lar­son; the 3D CGI fam­ily an­i­mated film Arc­tic Jus­tice: Thun­der Squad; the sci-fi thriller Rup­ture; the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller Laven­der, and quite a few more!

How was the past year in busi­ness for you/or what was your ob­jec­tive?

We’re ex­tremely pleased with the busi­ness and the ex­e­cu­tion of our long-term blue­print for growth and ex­pan­sion. Ev­ery year sees us with more on our plate than the year be­fore! We’ve re­ally grown in ev­ery way pos­si­ble. Our ob­jec­tive has been to grow into one of the lead­ing fi­nanciers and pro­duc­ers of movies across the stu­dio and in­de­pen­dent land­scapes, and we feel we have done that this year. We have the nec­es­sary as­sets to source the best projects and ma­te­rial, as well as col­lab­o­rate with var­i­ous part­ners around the world to build a very com­pelling slate.

What are your goals for the com­ing year? What is the fo­cus of your com­pany?

Our ul­ti­mate goal is to mold Ambi into a for­mi­da­ble mini ma­jor stu­dio with a pipe­line of high qual­ity com­mer­cial movies that will be at­trac­tive on a global scale. The old stu­dio model is an­ti­quated and frac­tured in sev­eral key ar­eas. We are ex­plor­ing a new, mod­ern, stu­dio model that re­flects the ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy and al­lows for greater ef­fi­cien­cies in the mak­ing and distri­bu­tion of movies glob­ally.

How many Cannes have you at­tended?

It’s hard to be­lieve, but Ambi is only a 3-year-old com­pany. This is the third Cannes for Ambi as a com­pany, but we (An­drea and Monika) have per­son­ally at­tended many times in the past.

Best Cannes film ever?

The best is yet to come. The next Ambi film in Cannes will be the best Cannes film ever!

Worst Cannes film ever?

The worst ones were im­me­di­ately erased from our mem­ory.

Big­gest gripe on the Riviera?

Sim­ply get­ting around – nav­i­gat­ing a busy meet­ing, screen­ing and event sched­ule. Crowds are mad­den­ing and cars are slow. Walk­ing or driv­ing is pick­ing a poi­son. In the end, we all man­age to get from point A to point B, and if you get the re­sult you want, the ag­gra­va­tion tied to how you ar­rived is mag­i­cally for­got­ten very soon there­after. Liza Fore­man

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