An Italian funeral home has pounced on flagging Italian cinema to sponsor a lighthearted Christmas film.
Taffo Funerals has paid to be central to the plot in The Worst Christmas of My Life, whose main character is mistakenly believed to have died. The film has performed well at the box office, too.
Italian cinema has traditionally been reliant on public funds, but, since these were halved in the 2007/08 financial crisis, film bosses have strived to find new ways to fund their projects and sponsors have become more savvy in their demands for sponsorship.
The move has been met with trepidation by some cinema experts, with Gabriela Rossi commenting: “I’m not sure it will work. I don’t think that, in a moment of grief, I will remember the name of a funeral home I saw in a film.”
The film, however, has proven to be the most successful in the current season. In Italy, product placements have become increasingly prominent since a 50 per cent drop in public funding for films in the past five years, according to the head of Turin’s film funding board, Steve Della Casa.
“Whoever gives money to a film wants to have their say,” Della Casa told Reuters. “But this is normal… you can’t make films without money.”
Alessandro Taffo of Taffo Funerals said the firm was delighted to have been part of the film.
“Funeral homes are often portrayed as incompetent in films. This was a chance for us to show our business in a good light,” Taffo said.