by Neil Paul
April 19, 2018
At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I had an opportunity to sit down with the dynamic duo that founded AMBI, a growing international powerhouse in the film industry. Lady Bacardi and Mr. Iervolino were in New York supporting the world premiere of Blue Night, a film about a singer who receives a harsh medical diagnosis that changes everything in her life.
In an era where the film industry seems to be continuously disrupted by technology, growing tastes for shorter content, and scandal, AMBI is only ramping up their growth and production of medium to large budget international films featuring Hollywood talent, including their latest venture into 3D CGI animation with Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad.
What I found through this conversation was a truly unique dynamic between two partners with a strong vision and ethos of simply being “good people” and creating films that provide a message for the “heart and soul”. In today’s world, successful partnerships are rare as we often hear more about individual success in entrepreneurship. These two seem to genuinely define what a partnership should look like.
In this conversation, we discuss a variety of topics ranging from the power of film to business and making the most out of life.
Just the day before, we heard that Saudi Arabia had lifted their film ban, representing a major win for freedom of culture and expression. Iervolino, having been to Saudi Arabia, agreed that this is an important event, an opportunity for the film industry, and a representation of the world becoming “one.” We further discussed how movies are a powerful way to communicate a message in telling a story in 90-100 minutes, which can change someones day, influence many people, and even change a vision on life. This also demonstrated why longer film content pieces will continue to play in an important role in video.
In discussing how films and projects are chosen, Lady Bacardi spoke about her preference for a message that “gives you something for the heart and soul.” This is why horror movies are not a part of the AMBI collection. Blue Night was very much chosen for this reason as it intends to deeply convey that “life can end at any moment for anyone, for us, and for the people we love…it makes us change the vision for life….it opens a lot of questions.”
When I asked them how they lived their lives to the fullest, Lady Bacardi responded,
“We live our lives as much as we can, we make as many movies as possible. AMBI is our baby. We are best friends, like brothers and sisters. We are different, compatible and complimentary at the same time. We try to live every day our best as if it were our last day and give our maximum to this business.”
I was curious about their unique positioning as a truly international film company catering to global audiences and how that translated into their business and creative practices. Iervolino again discussed how we are becoming one world and the world is “ only one city.” This is particularly true of young people who are being influenced similarly across the globe. AMBI combines diverse professionals and talent from around the world and Lady Bacardi spoke about how they embrace diverse talent so “we understand each other better.”
In discussing their partnership and how they handle disagreements, they both discussed a natural synergy in their relationship as if they are both best friends and siblings. While they may see things differently, they always end up on the same page and know each others tastes inside and out. Most importantly, they live being “good people [and] only can do good things… the business thing, [the] creative thing, [should be] good for us and good of the other person[s]…in reality, this is the secret of our partnership…when you have this essence in side of you, when you are in harmony, the rest follows.”
I asked Lady Bacardi to discuss social causes and what people should be thinking more about or talking about as she is deeply involved with them. To paraphrase her message: in this world, we should be positive, good people, and communicate more in person, not via text. We should see each other over a pizza and look each other in eyes…it is important that we don’t become machines…we have everything we need, should be happy and not complaining..we should be thinking about good people, sick people, people in populations in war, especially the children…give love as love is a big element in our life…like Mother Theresa said, little drops make a river and all of us should put in our drops.”
To conclude, I asked Iervolino what advice he would give to aspiring artists and entrepreneurs given how much success he had so early in life with limited resources. He strongly conveyed the message of being unique, to find a new way to be a model. While it is a challenge because it’s easier to make mistakes, the goal should be to be unique every time and try to change things.
To learn more about AMBI, Lady Monika Bacardi, and Andrew Iervolino:
Lady Monika Bacardi: http://www.ladymonikabacardi.com/
Andrea Iervolino: http://www.andreaiervolinoproducer.com/