The film’s producers and director recount the experience of this film which will debut in theaters on October 28 on 300 screens with Eagle Pictures, and which will be distributed worldwide by Sony. But also, and above all, what we can expect in the future from the “Bonelli Cinematic Universe”.
A 15 million euro budget, 15 weeks of production, 200 actors involved, an expected theatrical release of 300 copies.
They are the numbers of Dampyrthe first film that brings a comic strip to the cinema Bonelli with the direct productive involvement of the publishing house, which has recently given life to a productive arm called Bonelli Entertainment and that with this film launches the ambitious project christened, not by chance, Bonelli Cinematic Universe.
Dampyr: the trailer and the plot of the film
The film tells the story of the genesis of the character, published by Sergio Bonelli Editore in 2000 in the first two books of the 300 that make up the comic series on newsstands every month, thus leaving the door open to the first Italian franchise completely in English. DAMPYR is set during the Balkan War in the early 1990s and follows the story of Harlan. Haunted by horrible nightmares, Harlan makes ends meet by posing as a Dampyr (in Slavic mythology, a half-human, half-vampire being) capable of freeing villages from what the superstitious inhabitants naively believe are terrible curses linked to the world of vampires. But when summoned by soldiers attacked by bloodthirsty creatures, Harlan learns the truth: he really is a Dampyr. While trying to face a terrible “Master of the Night”, Harlan will have to learn to manage his powers and discover his origins. Accompanying him is a renegade vampire and a soldier seeking revenge.
Bonelli on the bridge
“It’s a new day for us,” says Michele Masiero, who heads Bonelli Entertainment, “the beginning of a new era. Transposing the creativity that we have so far expressed on paper into a multimedia dimension is the idea that we have pursued with determination”.
In the past, he says MasieroBonelli has had “unhappy experiences” in her relationship with cinema (and the thought obviously goes to Dylan Dog with Brandon Routh) and if this happened it is because the publisher “was not part of the production process. Now instead we are on the bridge, and from there we defend our creativity, our authors, our characters and our readers”.
If the Bonelli Cinematic Universe takes its first step with Dampyr, and not with another Bonelli character, is due to “a coincidence”, explains Masiero. ”It was a proposal that he made to us Andrea Sgaravatti from Brandon Boxand which we immediately accepted, also because we believed right to present our business card through a successful brand, but not one of the most iconic ones”.
“I have always dreamed that in Italy too it would become possible to make different, ambitious films capable of reaching the world”, he adds. Sgarvatti. “As a boy I read Bonelli comics hoping that one day they would become films. And when I contacted them to present the project of Dampyr, based on the first two issues of the comic, it was coincidentally just when they had just opened their development office. The same thing happened when I had the first contacts with Eagle for distribution, i.e. when the company was starting to produce”.
“How does one of our comics fit? With a huge act of love and with a lot of professionalism”, says Vincenzo Sarno, head of development at Bonelli Entertainment and mastermind behind the Bonelli Cinematic Universe. “At Bonelli they allow you to make the dreams you bring around a table come true, and the watchwords are always respect and love. With this film we wanted to involve the viewer as the reader was involved, and to do so we have been faithful to the comic. Then there is also to say that loyalty always passes through small betrayals, and to betray you must have brilliant people who help you do it: the people who worked on this project”.
Director Riccardo Chemello: from parkour to cinecomics
Sarno refers to the production team, but also to the artistic one: from the writers Giovanni Masi, Alberto Ostini, Mauro Uzzeo and Mauro Bosellito the cast composed by Wade Briggs, Stuart Martin, Frida Gustavsson, Sebastian Croft, David Morrissey and many others, obviously up to the director, the young newcomer Riccardo Chemello.
And it is Chemello himself who expresses his gratitude towards those who “took the risk of having a young man direct such a large debut feature, and with this budget. For me, working on Dampyr has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I come from parkour, I practiced it as an athlete until an accident forced me to stop practicing that sport, and when I put the enthusiasm I had into filming my friends and their performances. My parkour videos were very popular on YouTube, then I tried my hand at advertising, and in 2018, when Andrea Sgaravatti he offered me to shoot DampyrIt was a dream come true for me. The production of the film has been an incredible journey: we started with low ambitions but everyone wanted to take this project to the next level. The team that supported me for pre-production and production was incredible, just as incredible were the energy and experience brought to the set by Italian workers who put themselves at the service of the story”.
What can we expect from the Bonelli Cinematic Universe
Dampyr, which will debut in Italian cinemas on October 28 with Eagle Pictureshas already achieved a first big success, that is its own Roberto Proia, Executive Director Theatrical Distribution and Productions of the company, to reveal: “We have closed a very important international distribution agreement: in the world Dampyr will be released under the Sony brand”.
Fans of Bonelli comics are warned.
And they also know that, as known and as reiterated by Masierothe animated series taken from will soon arrive on Rai Black Dragonis that Bonelli Entertainment is already working on a live action series on Dylan Dog with James Wan; that something is already being written about Martin Mystere And Mister Noand that you’re thinking about what to do with Tex. “Not to mention the fact that our new comics are born and will be born already multimedia,” he adds Masiero. “The road ahead of us is therefore very long and very ambitious, but always attentive to respecting Bonelli’s grammar and its particular heroes, who have particular human characteristics and are not superheroes”.
“If you want to build, you need vision and strategy,” he adds Sarno“and therefore it will be essential to understand which is the most appropriate means to realize the dream of a new adaptation”.
As if to say that Bonelli intends to conquer cinema, of course, but not only.