Sundance: Fiat Heir Lapo Elkann Reveals Scenes From His Juventus Soccer Team Documentary
PARK CITY -- At the height of the Sundance Film Festival frenzy on Saturday night, Fiat heir Lapo Elkann rolled up to Main Street’s Rock & Reilly’s pub in a black Ferrari California. It may have been the most un-indie entrance, but he’s in town to promote an independent film: Black and White Stripes: The Juventus Story, a documentary about the legendary Italian soccer team.
Dressed in an elegant gray suit and sporting his signature heavy-rimmed specs, Elkann and filmmakers Marco and Mauro La Villa gave The Hollywood Reporter a bit of background about the film and a sneak preview of some scenes.
Elkann’s family, the Agnellis, have owned Juventus for nearly a century. The team has endured a tumultuous history and has Italy’s most loyal fans. “I’d say Juventus has a story as legendary as the Yankees,” said Elkann. The story behind the team’s rise, demise and resurgence, he said, is one filled with “passion, extreme challenges and tragedy” — including the shocking, sudden death of his great-grandfather, Edoardo Agnelli, who brought Juventus in 1923.
Italian-Canadian filmmakers La Villa were connected with Elkann in New York through artist Marco Perego (who produced short Me + Her, showing at Sundance this year) and Giovanni Tognozzi, owner of New York City’s Bar Pitti. “We met over a good plate of pasta,” Elkann said. “Good things don’t have to happen in a board room.”
The La Villa brothers have a personal connection to Juventus through their Italian-born father, who was a huge fan of the Turin-based team. After La Villa Sr. died, the brothers decided to develop a film about the team, in honor of their father. With help from Elkann, his brother John Elkann (who is Fiat’s chairman), and their cousin Andrea Agnelli (who is president of Juventus), the La Villas are close to completing the doc, which they say will be 75 percent archival footage (animated, The Kid Stays in the Picture-style) and 25 percent talking heads. The film’s main investor is Juventus fan and actor Damien Mastroprimiano.
Elkann has plans to unveil more from the film during Oscar week in Los Angeles and the Tribeca Film Festival in April, and a completed cut during Cannes in May. His indie film distribution company, Good Films (which he launched recently with his sister, Ginevra Elkann), will bring Black and White Stripes to audiences in Italy toward the end of the year.
Pictured below, from left: Marco La Villa, Lapo Elkann and Mauro La Villa