Fold mountains

Fremantle is planning a major film after ‘Hand of God’ and ‘Eight Mountains’, reveals Andrea Scrosati (EXCLUSIVE)

Content Giant Freemantle takes big leap into feature films as it broadens its horizons, says group COO Andrea Scrosati who is also the co of the multi-pronged companyhead of ntinental Europe.

At last year’s Venice Film Festival, Fremantle, known for its talent shows ‘X-Factor’ and ‘American Idol’ and TV series such as ‘The Mosquito Coast’, waved the flag with several photos, including “The Hand” by Paolo Sorrentino, award-winning and Oscar-nominated. of God.” Most recently at Cannes, the Fremantle-produced film “The Eight Mountains” won the Jury Prize. All that, Scrosati boasts, is pretty good for the past nine months alone. silence, expect several more films from Fremantle to Venice in September.

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More importantly, there are currently a total of 33 films that Fremantle’s myriad companies are set to deliver in 2022, although some are being co-produced with other teams. That’s a pretty big leap, considering that in 2018 when Scrosati joined the company, Fremantle only produced eight films.

Fremantle’s business model is based on investing in labels and companies that they wholly own or in which they are majority investors. As part of a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions, the media conglomerate belonging to the German group RTL recently acquired Irish production company Element Pictures, the producers of “Normal People,” “Conversations With Friends” and Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favorite,” who is currently wrapping up her new drama, Emma Stone-starring “Poor Things,” also under the Element – and now Fremantle – banner.

“The acquisition of Element has obviously strengthened our presence in the feature film business,” says Scrosati, given that Element is a prolific producer of high-profile stills. They just finished Joanna Hogg’s ‘The Eternal Daughter’ with Tilda Swinton playing a dual role, among other high-profile photos in their pipeline. (see the Fremantle films slate below).

But film production is now also intensifying within the old Fremantle labels and there are several justifications behind this push.

“One is creative talent-driven logic,” says Scrosati. Exactly the same way there are stories that need to be told through high drama – because they need several hours – there are stories that are best told in 90 or 100 minutes. “With the kind of talent we work with, we want to be the place and the home where they know they can tell the story, whatever the format,” he notes.

For Fremantle, securing major talent deals is the name of the game. It’s what brought Sorrentino – whose personal pic ‘The Hand of God’ was fronted by Italian Fremantle label The Apartment – into the fold. of Fremantle in several forms, including as executive producer of Stefano Sollima’s upcoming “Ferrari” series for Apple. Angelina Jolie recently signed a three-year contract with Fremantle under which she is currently in Rome filming her passion project “Without Blood” with Salma Hayek.

Scrosati cited “Without blood” as a good example. “We are now partners with Angelina Jolie in production and project research,” he says. “But I think the fact that we wanted to support her on this specific film project is one of the key things that brought us together: films are a key part of our talent relationships,” Scrosati points out.

Then there is another aspect is that the market demand for movies has increased tremendously as all streaming platforms are looking for them.

“Ultimately, platforms are realizing that if you want to provide a shared experience, drama is more difficult because people will be watching different episodes at different times and the time commitment a viewer has to put in is harder,” says Scrosati.

The head of Fremantle Europe stresses that “films are more of a shared experience and they [the streamers] are looking for that.

Also, from a marketing perspective, he notes, movies can involve a higher level of talent since shooting a movie takes up less time on talent schedules. “Soon on that side, there is a market value,” says Scrosati.

Fremantle now works with a roster of high caliber directors, many of whom are Oscar nominees or winners, including Luca Guadagnino, Sebastian Lelio, Michael Winterbottom, Kirill Serebrennikov and Rungano Nyoni, to name a few.

Interestingly, Scrosati says mMore than 50% of films in Fremantle’s pipeline will be released in theaters and only around 15% will be released globally directly to a streamer.

In terms of the economic model with which these photos are financed, it is title by title. But “the biggest sponsor of these films is Fremantle,” he says, “which means we’ll be taking a lot of risk on all of these projects.” This risk ranges from the studio funding a large portion of the budget to not having to fund them at all because they were pre-sold or pre-packaged.

Many films in Fremantle’s pipeline are made in joint venture with Pathè – Serebrennikov’s ‘Limonov’ and Emanuele Crialese’s ‘L’Immensità’ are among them. Others are with FilmNation and some, like Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” are with MGM.

“Today there is a vast combination of ways to monetize a film across theaters, TV, platforms and transactional VOD,” Scrosati notes. “And the local tax credit systems in some countries, mainly Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Malta, make financing films in Europe more feasible” than in the United States, he adds. he.

That said, Scrosati is quick to point out that “youScripted shows such as “X Factor” and “Idol” are still the main component of Fremantle’s revenue and will continue to be. »

“The reason we can do film and TV is because we do those kinds of shows,” he says.

An overview of the selected films that will be delivered or produced this year by Fremantle-owned companies:

Wildside (Italy)

“L’Immensità”, directed by Emanuele Crialese. Cast: Penelope Cruz

“Siccità” (“Drought”) directed by Paolo Virzi. With: Monica Bellucci, Silvio Orlando

“Limonov”, directed by Kirill Serebrennikov. Actor: Ben Wishaw

New film by Saverio Costanzo

The Apartment (Italy)

“Bones and All”, directed by Luc Guadagnino. Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell

New film by Paolo Sorrentino

“Without Blood”, directed by Angelina Jolie. With: Salma Hayak, Demian Bichir

New film by Stefano Sollima

UFA (Germany)

“Thousand Lines”, directed by Michel “Bully” Herbig

Element (UK/Ireland)

“The Eternal Girl”, directed by Joanna Hog. Cast: Tilda Swinton (plays two characters: mother and daughter)

“knight”, ddirected by Stephen Williams. With: Kelvin Harrison, Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton

“The Wonder”, directed by Sebastien Lelio. Actor: Florence Pugh

“The Poor Things”, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Starring: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe.

“Becoming a guinea fowl”, directed by Rungano Nyoni

Miso Film (Norway)

“Blasted”, directed by Mr.Artin Sofiedal

Fiction Valley (Holland)

“The Take Over”, directed by Annemarie van de Mond

The immigrant (Mexico)

“Adolfo”, directed by Sophie Auza

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