Donato Rotunno (Tarantula): Making Tinseltown in Luxembourg
Despite its size, Luxembourg punches above its weight in the movie production. We asked Donato Rotunno, the CEO of Tarantula and President of the industry body, Union Luxembourgeoise de la Production Audiovisuelle (ULPA), to explain how a dream turned the Duchy into a source for the silver screen.
How did Luxembourg develop a movie-making industry?
Thirty years ago, there was a clan of people who dreamt about Luxembourg being on the international landscape of cinema. We had a dream and there were other people who just understood the dream and gave us the tools. I guess we had the right people at the right moment. With their help, we have been able to produce works that reflect the quality of the skills in the Duchy. We have reason to be very proud of Deux where we ended up at the Golden Globes; Harka, which took us to Cannes, and Blanquita in Venice. I mean, there are a few! As a director would say of my latest feature film “Io sto bene” - I'm very proud.
“They had this dream and there were some people who just understood the dream”
Is becoming a director a new element in your career?
No, no, I started, by being a director. And then somehow, I got the virus and I liked producing other talented people, definitely more talented than I am. Producing is fun, it's a lot of work. But it is totally different from directing. The roles are complementary and that makes everything possible in the industry. We don’t always start with our own ideas; we also have people pitching to us. It all depends on who you meet when you meet them, and what kind of topic is in the air! It can be a director coming up to us, or a producer, but mainly it is producers whom we have known each other for a long time or newcomers we meet at markets and festivals.
What is the status of filmmaking in Luxembourg and what are your plans?
The Luxembourg film sector is doing well. We had four films in Cannes, this year, Luxemburg will be present in Locarno, Venice and San Sebastián Although we have the same problem that everybody's facing, inflation and rising prices, we must think more about the new generation of filmmakers. Despite the challenges, we have loads of movies in post-production. We have started a very nice, very strong series in cooperation with Portugal. In October, I'm shooting a documentary as a director as well. We have two or three different movies, one will be shot in Georgia. The other one is going to be shot in Luxembourg.