Marco Mueller, producer of Babak Payami's Venice prize winner Secret Ballot and executive producer of Sarajevo winner and Cannes favourite No Man's Land, says he will soon start producing Italian feature films in addition to lining up South American and African titles for the production slate that will launch his new, as yet unnamed, production outfit.
In the meantime, Mueller - who left his position as the artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival last year to join Benetton-owned Fabrica Cinema - is lining up the last feature film to be made under the current Fabrica banner: The Angel Of The Right Shoulder, a fairy tale deeply rooted in the realistic social contradictions of modern-day Tajikustan, that will be directed by Tajikustan director Jamshed Usmonov.
"It will be a kind of central Asian, Arabian Nights tale with an element of [Giuseppe Tornatore's] Cinema Paradiso. But it will also be a stern and realistic portrayal of contemporary, post-revolutionary Tajikhustan - the poorest of all the former Soviet Union states," Mueller explained.
A co-production between Fabrica Cinema, Switzerland's Ventura Film, France's Pyramide and Artcam, Swiss television and French/German TV station Arte, The Angel Of The Right Shoulder starts shooting in mid-October in the mountain region of Tajikustan.
Meanwhile, Mueller is busy setting up his new, autonomous production company to launch by year's end. with headquarters in Rome and a subsidiary in Milan. While Fabrica - which is located near Treviso, in northern Italy - will continue as a research centre and incubator for new international talent, Mueller needs a separate outfit that can approach potential partners free from ties to Benetton.
While he will continue to oversee some projects at Fabrica, he expects to produce up to four feature films from his new outfit next year and one feature-length documentary.
The new company - which could keep the Fabrica name unless new majority partners step in - will maintain Fabrica's relationship with Rai Cinema - a co-producer of No Man's Land. Mueller said he also aims to strengthen ties with Swiss co-production partners and will continue searching for European television partners.
No Man's Land and Secret Ballot will respectively be the opening and closing films of next month's Beirut Film Festival. Mueller is the president of the festival's jury.