PRODUCTION: Itaker in development

By Iulia Blaga

    BUCHAREST: Italian actor, director and producer Michele Placido made his first trip to Romania for the feature film Itaker, which he is co-writing together with Toni Trupia. The script is in early development. Trupia will direct the film set in the 1960's which follows the story of a boy who leaves Northern Italy in order to find his father in Germany.

    Placido said he thought for some time of making a film about immigration and found many similarities between Romania and Italy because just as Romanians are immigrating to Italy today, Italians immigrated to Germany in the 60's. "The history of immigration is the same everywhere. The Romanians, the Italians, the Spanish and the Greeks shared the same poverty, joy and hope," Placido told FNE. The script is inspired by his family history, since his grandparents immigrated in the United States, and he also has cousins who immigrated to Germany.

    The film will be an Italian-Romanian-German coproduction between Golden Art, Mandragora (http://www.mandragora.ro/) and Bavaria Film (http://www.bavaria-film.de/). The film will move into preproduction in mid-March, the Romanian co-producer Bobby Păunescu told FNE. The title is a pun. Itaker is a slur the Germans used to refer to Italians, but also refers to Ithaka, Ulysses' home.

    Placido will star in the film. Monica Bîrlădeanu (Francesca), a Romanian actress who was in his last film, Vallanzasca - Gli Angeli del male, will play a major role. The shooting will take place primarily in Romania and in Germany. The filmmakers said that more information will be available in December.