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Italy’s Indiana Launches Comedy Movies Strand in Tandem With ‘Quo Vado’ Director Gennaro Nunziante (EXCLUSIVE)

Italy’s Indiana Production – which is part of pan-European studio Vuelta Group – is making a significant move into the comedy space by forging a multi-picture deal and a creative collaboration pact with multihyphenate Gennaro Nunziante who has directed top local hits including “Quo Vado” that is the country’s all-time highest grosser.

Nunziante – who is a writer/director and sometimes actor – and Indiana are jointly mounting a pipeline of theatrical movies with smart storylines rooted in present-day social issues that, at least in some cases, will seek to travel outside Italy.

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The Indiana comedies strand being shepherded by Nunziante, has two lines of development. One dedicated to established talents, the other to discovering and nurturing up-and-coming comics, including from the stand-up sphere, as well as young comedy writers and creators.

New Italian comedy talents they have recruited comprise the Milan-based comedy group Contenuti Zero who have a broad TV and social media fanbase.

Indiana is known for working with Italian directors on the cusp between being auteurs and commercial draws such as Paolo Virzì (“The Human Capital”) and Andrea Di Stefano whose thriller “The Last Night of Amore” premiered last year in Berlin.

“We’ve spotted this gap in the Italian market,” said Indiana’s Marco Cohen (pictured, left) who noted that local comedies are either made for TV or anchored to a single comic star who is a big draw, or otherwise tend to be “low grade products that just string together a bunch of cheesy skits,” he said.

The effort to fill this gap aims to “give Italian cinema a new lifeblood with comedies featuring fresh talents that tackle contemporary life and universal themes with original ideas,” noted Nunziante (pictured, right).

Both pointed to France as a country that, unlike Italy, is able to consistently churn out a stream of comedies, often ensemble concept movies that are made for theatrical and perform well at the home box office and, in some cases, travel widely, either as originals or remakes. One example is French blockbuster franchise “Serial (Bad)Weddings” that’s done gangbuster biz at home and travelled to a dozen foreign markets despite critical drubbings.

The first title in Indiana’s new comedy pipeline is a still untitled coming-of-age comedy to be directed by young adult pics specialist Luca Lucini (“My Brother And I”). It features local heartthrob Nicolas Maupas who stars in the Naples-set prison drama “Mare Fuori” (“The Sea Beyond”) that’s a major pop culture phenomenon in Italy.

Shooting is set to start on May 20 on this sentimental laffer written by Nunziante with Amina Grenci and Teresa Fraioli that will target the youth audience segment. Storyline details are being kept under wraps.

Next up is another Indiana-produced comedy, also untitled, co-written by Nunziante with Sicilian standup comedian Angelo Duro, with whom he has been collaborating for years. Duro, who has a large local social media fanbase, is currently filling Italian theatres with a live tour thanks to his distinctive brand of desecrating humor. Shooting will start in early June on this movie in which Duro will make his feature film debut. The director is still being kept under wraps.

Nunziante and Indiana are also developing a Paris-set comedy shot primarily in French that will star a mix of Italian and French actors and seek to travel beyond those markets. With this project, “we are venturing beyond our comfort zone” said Nunziante and looking to put Italy back in the global comedy market arena.

“It’s not like the French or the Brits are so much better than us [at making comedies],” Nunziante noted “It’s just that they they have a deeper belief in their comedies and that’s what we’ve been lacking,” he went on to add.

Nunziante, who has co-written and directed four movies starring Italian comedy sensation Checco Zalone – their “Quo Vado” collaboration scored more than $75 million in Italy” in 2016 – has since directed two other films starring comic duo Pio and Amedeo to lesser, but still decent, returns.

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