Producer Domenico Procacci Talks Chiller ‘Pantafa,’ Other Projects

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Italian producer Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango shingle is developing Elena Ferrante’s “The Lying Life of Adults” for Netflix, has several new films in the pipeline, including chiller “Pantafa” toplining Kasia Smutniak (“Devils”) as a strong-willed mother trying to protect her haunted young daughter.

“Pantafa,” which takes its cue from an ancient Italian legend involving an evil spirit that stifles women in their sleep, has just ended principal photography. Pic is directed by Emanuele Scaringi, who has long worked with Fandango in various guises: as writer, creative producer (“Bangla”), and director of graphic novel adaptation “The Armadillo’s Prophecy,” Scaringi’s feature film debut that went to Venice. He also directed TV crime series “L’Alligatore” for RAI.

“Fandango has never made a horror film in 30 years [of our existence] because I’m personally neither a big fan [of this genre] nor an expert,” Procacci tells Variety. But Scarigni “really believed in this project, so I went with it,” he adds, noting “it’s a rather particular type of horror film that mixes naturalism with horror,” and could therefore surface on the international fest circuit.

Procacci said Smutniak, who plays Marta, an independent career women and single mom, whose daughter Nina becomes haunted at night, puts in a striking performance (see first look picture). He also praised young actress Greta Santi, who plays Nina. The girl claims she is visited in her sleep by an old lady who sits on her chest, and causes her to wake up bruised.

Procacci also underlined that for “Pantafa” he was able to recruit Oscar-winning costume designer Gabriella Pescucci (“Penny Dreadful”). He met Pescucci while visiting Smutniak on the set of Sky series “Domina,” which looks at Ancient Rome through a female prism. In “Domina” Smutniak, who is Procacci’s partner, plays the lead, Livia Drusilla, wife of Emperor Augustus.

“Pantafa,” which is written by Tiziana Triana, Vanessa Piccirelli and Scaringi, is produced by Fandango and RAI Cinema. Fandango Sales is handling international sales.

These are other projects in the Fandango pipeline in various stages.

“Il Colibrì” – Shooting is expected to start in June on this adaptation of the eponymous novel by Sandro Veronesi, winner of Italy’s Premio Strega 2020, the country’s top literary prize. Francesca Archibugi (“A Question of the Heart”) will direct the time-traveling romantic drama in which Pierfrancesco Favino (“The Traitor”) is set as the lead, a tormented character named Marco Carrera; multihyphenate Nanni Moretti will play a psychoanalyst; and Smutniak will play Carrera’s estranged wife, Marina. Fandango is producing with RAI Cinema.

“Il Muto di Gallura,” a drama about a real 19th century Sardinian bandit, involving fierce family feuding and also romance, directed by first-timer Matteo Fresi and shot in Sardinian dialect. In post.

“La Mia Ombra è Tua,” based on the eponymous novel by Edoardo Nesi about a famous middle-aged writer and a college graduate who embark on a road trip that becomes a cross-generational counterpoint. “The book is a lot of fun and I think the movie can just as much fun, if not more,” says Procacci. He has attached Italian A-lister Marco Giallini (“Perfect Strangers”) to play the writer character, named Vittorio Vezzosi, and Eugenio Cappuccio (“One Out of Two”) to direct.

“The Lying Life of Adults,” Procacci, who served as executive producer on the “My Brilliant Friend” series, said plans are underway for cameras to roll this year on the previously announced series adaptation of the latest novel by globally bestselling Italian author Elena Ferrante being produced by Fandango and Netflix, which is scheduled for a 2022 delivery date and follows their collaboration on skeins “Luna Nera” and “Luna Park.”

Procacci has produced more than 100 independent films since opening Fandango in 1989, including Pietro Castellitto’s dark comedy “The Predators,” which won the screenplay prize in Venice’s 2020 Horizons section and Nanni Moretti’s upcoming “Three Floors,” expected to surface in Cannes.