At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, a film called Blue Night premiered. The cast features such actors as Sarah Jessica Parker, Renee Zellweger, Taylor Kinney and Common. The film was produced by the AMBI Group which is run by Lady Monika Bacardi and Andrea Iervolino. I had the pleasure of speaking with these two individuals and to talk to them about how the AMBI Group came to be and what drove them to enter the world of film.
Monika Bacardi, Lady of Bayfield Hall, was born and raised in Italy. Growing up she had an interest in the arts and studied them in her education. She has spent the last twenty years living in Monaco while also traveling the world to pursue her love of the arts. Monika married Lord Luis Bacardi, a descendant of the Bacardi family, and had a daughter named Maria Luisa.
Andrea Iervolino was also born in Italy to an Italian father and a Canadian mother. Andrea spent his childhood working with technology and doing various jobs in the film industry in Italy. At the age of 15 he left home and was soon producing his first film with the help of local investors who were willing to sponsor him. After a rocky start to his production career, Andrea created an initiative within the school system in Italy known as Cineschool Day which allowed students to see his films and have the opportunity to discuss and debate them during school. This brought him into the spotlight and would set him on the path that led to the creation of AMBI.
Getting to talk to both Monika and Andrea, there was one thing I noticed immediately. The comfort level between these two people was that of siblings or lifelong friends. Monika spoke of Andrea as if he was her “big brother” who has been the true genius of their business venture. She referred to him as a “dinosaur” because he has been in the film industry since he was very young. They both explained to me that the trust between them is what enables the AMBI Group to function as well as it does. They trust the decisions that each other make and support them in any way.
Both Andrea and Monika have a tremendous love of film and the process of making a film. What makes them different from other production companies today is the structure of the AMBI Group. Most production companies are strictly production and nothing else and, in most cases, films can have several production companies and producers on board at once. The AMBI Group is designed to be a vertically integrated set of filmmaking assets that range from production to distribution. Monika and Andrea share a strong drive to be the most productive company in the film industry that filmmakers in countries all over the world will come to.
Being different and having more than one service to offer is what Andrea sees AMBI as. It allows creativity between different countries to mix, like having a Hollywood actor star in an Italian film. He stressed that the AMBI Group is not a singular project and that has shown since the company’s inception in 2013 when Monika and Andrea first met. In 2015 AMBI was able to acquire an extensive film library and rights to remakes and sequels from the Exclusive Media Group. This would allow AMBI to expand upon films like Donnie Darko, Cruel Intentions, Memento,and Rushto name a few.
With a company as expansive and determined as AMBI has become, there has to be some sort of plan or ideology that holds all the pieces together. All of the members involved in an AMBI Group film are treated as family according to Andrea. Each person, regardless of position, has the ability and is encouraged to speak up and voice their opinion on an aspect of the film. Monika and Andrea have a great sense of pride over their personal relationship with each other and the relationship with all their coworkers. Monika expressed that film is such an important medium today because of its ability to evoke emotions and convey messages. She believes that the films that she and Andrea make have a message that the world needs and that hopefully audiences can gain something from.
The AMBI Group hopes to one day be the model that other production companies and filmmakers use in their own projects and the model that schools can use for education purposes. Andrea and Monika are more than film producers, they’ve become film pioneers through the evolution of their company. They are true lovers of movies and, with the exception of horror films, they are open to all genres of stories to tell and all types of messages to be sent within these projects. Based on the how much AMBI was able to accomplish in these first 5 years, I can only imagine what the years to come will bring for Monika and Andrea.