Michele Fornasero, Italy – Switzerland, 2014, 96′
The Messina brothers own Yesmoke, a small cigarette factory in Settimo Torinese, Piemonte, Italy.
Yesmoke.com was originally a website selling cigarettes, based in the Swiss free trade zone of Balerna but run from Moscow, where the brothers were living in 1999 and where the business started. Thousands of people a day bought cartons of Marlboro, Camel and Lucky Strike online at slashed prices. The two brothers soon had an annual turnover of $100 million. It seemed they had created an innovative and legal business model, when Philip Morris decided to sue them for $550 million. The brothers initially ignored the lawsuit and carried on meeting their clients’ requirements, until, with the help of the USA government, Philip Morris successfully had them closed down in 2004.
With their online business stubbed out, the brothers decided to start afresh and give the American giant a run for its money.
They founded Yesmoke, in Italy, but how their operational methods failed to win the approval of the Italian State and they found themselves embattled against the system. They decided to take on the State itself, launching their own lawsuits…
The documentary is shot like a gangster movie, and recounts the battle for a share of the free market through the eyes of two cigarette-industry insiders at a time when the whole world is promoting a new no-smoking era… Who will win this battle?
Michele Fornasero was born in Torino in 1980. He graduated in Business Studies at the Università di Economia of Torino. His passion for cinema and documentaries drew him into the audiovisual world of advertising and cinema in 2005. He co-founded the Indyca production house in Torino in 2007 with a number of friends and colleagues. Indyca has given Michele Fornasero broad experience as producer, film-maker, editor and director of production, working on various shorts and documentaries, including Frontline is Everywhere, Uno Scampolo di Paradiso, La Leggenda del Pesce Azzurro and La Paura SiCura,
drawing on the experience of world-renowned directors including Gabriele Vacis and Peter Greenaway.
Monday, April 27
h 8.15 pm Grenoble
Tuesday, April 28
h 8.0 pm Paris
Friday, May 8
h 6.30 pm London
Sunday, May 24
h 4.00 pm Berlin