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Sow the Wind

Danilo Caputo, Paolo Benzi

Italy, France, Greece

synopsis

Taranto, southern Italy. An ancient farm, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, shelters within its walls a stone which was once the heart of a pagan cult. Until not too long ago, a woman still lived on the farm and everyone in the village thought that she was a witch.

That old woman was Nica’s grandmother. Having grown up with her, Nica inherited her unsettling manners and her mystic love for nature. Now, after three years of agronomic studies abroad, Nica (24) has come back to her rundown village. Her project is simple: she wants to give new life to the farm and to the lands surrounding it.

But the situation is difficult. Her mother spends her days in bed, talking to a bird that she believes to be a reincarnation of her own mother. Her father, a former factory worker and a heavy gambler, does everything he can to hinder Nica’s work in the fields.

Gradually, Nica finds out the truth behind her parents’ odd behavior: in order to make some money, her father has started dumping truckloads of industrial waste on the family lands, mixing toxic muds and fertile soil.

The mounting tension between Nica and her parents is now ready to explode in all its ferocity.

intention

“The future is not what it used to be”. It is a sentence that can often be read on the walls of Taranto, the city where I come from, and it is a sentence that gives a good idea of the resignation felt by those young people who cannot imagine a future on their land. Some give up trying, others just pack their bags and leave, just like I did.

Nica, she is different. She studied agronomy abroad, but then decided to come back to her small village in order to work on the lands that for centuries have belonged to her family and that now lie abandoned. Because even farming is not what it used to be: fifty years ago, one of Europe’s largest steel factories opened in Taranto and, in a few years time, the majority of the farmers abandoned their lands in order to go work in the factory.

Slowly, concrete buildings replaced traditional stone houses, the dreams of industrialized Italy buried the values of rural culture, the Italian language spoken on the TV started contaminating dialects, ritual magic became a futile superstition. “An anthropological mutation”, commented Pasolini.

Now, after fifty years, that era feels so far away from our lives that it is difficult to imagine it even ever existed. But for Nica it is different because, having grown up with her grandmother (and not any grandmother, but a woman who people in town considered a witch), she somehow inherited that extinct culture: Nica knows the land, she loves those values, she can give voice to those obscure magic formulas.

Her sensibility is out of her time. Nica cares about the future and senses that, in order for the future to become again what it used to be, young people need to look behind and restart where the generation of our grandparents stopped, leaving behind the broken promises of industrialization.

Nica’s life project is doomed to clash with her father, a son of the economic boom, a man who has recklessly polluted the family lands in order to make some easy money. But, unlike her resigned mother, Nica rises up against him and she does so in the most violent way. But she is not Oedipus: she does not stand against her father in order to take his place. She rebels in order to avoid a catastrophe. Her father’s death will mark the end of a cycle and the birth of a new future.

budget & financing

Danilo Caputo is a young director with an atypical path. He was born and raised in a village near Taranto, Apulia. He has directed and produced his first feature film Late Season (La Mezza Stagione), which won as Best Italian Film at the Rome Independent Film Festival 2015 and was selected in numerous festivals (in competition at Karlovy Vary, Beijing IFF, Montreal Nouveau Cinema, etc.). Late Season is a promising first film, well conceived and well executed, showing a confident miseen- scene and a convincing direction of (nonprofessional) actors. These are some of the reasons why we, Okta Film and JBA Production, decided to accompany Danilo in this new project. Sow the Wind explores the conflict between generations, in a context torn between a decaying industrial machine and surviving ancient traditions. The budget of the film will remain moderate, thanks to a small number of characters and to the fact that shooting will mainly take place in natural locations. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to give Danilo the right amount of time: time to cast his actors, to prepare, to shoot and edit with a smaller crew which will allow him to work in all freedom. Sow the Wind will become possible only through the union of different countries. A co-production agreement already exists between Italy (Okta Film), France (JBA Production) – the fund for the development of co-production between France/ Italy having been already acquired – and Greece (Graal Film), but one or two more countries should be involved in the project (Switzerland, Germany or Belgium, for example). Such a scheme of international co-production becomes equally relevant in terms of marketing and distribution.

distribution & sales

For this kind of cinema and for this young talented director Danilo Caputo, the best thing would be to accompany the film as far as possible and try to see it selected in a large, A-category, festival. A selection in Cannes, even in one of the parallel sections, Berlin or Venice would really make the difference. Such a selection would then become the cornerstone of the film strategy concerning sales and distribution. The sale and distribution goals and the film positioning towards the public will then have to be determined, and these choices will translate concretely into the visual material, the texts, the notes, the loglines, the trailer and all the promotion material. And all of this should happen in a tight collaboration among director, producers, sales and press agencies. In large festivals like those already mentioned, the concentration of journalists and festival directors from the whole world will be the best jumping board for the film’s life.

videos

Apulia, south of Italy. Set among olive trees and industrial wrecks, a story of rebellion and rebirth.
130-danilo-caputo
Danilo Caputo

Film Director

danilo.caputo@taratatafilm.it

82-paolo-benzi
Paolo Benzi

Production

zero@oktafilm.it

production notes

original title
Semina il Vento

directed by
Danilo Caputo

in co-production with
Graal Films – Greece

total production budget
€ 800.000

current financial need
€ 700.000