Rome – Campari®, Italy’s iconic bittersweet red aperitif, officially unveils the Campari Red Diaries, a holistic (r)evolution to the famed, annual Campari Calendar. A departure from its classic calendar format of photographic stills, Campari Red Diaries is a series of short films that showcases how “every cocktail tells a story.” The series celebrates cocktails as a powerful vehicle for expression, and shines a light on what inspires bartenders to share their craft. Campari Red Diaries launches today in Rome, the symbolic hub of Italian cinema. The project can be viewed exclusively on Campari’s YouTube channel HERE.
The lead story in the series, Killer in Red, is a short film starring Golden Globe™ winning actor Clive Owen and written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, the Italian internationally-renowned award-winning director most recently known for his work on the highly anticipated HBO series “The Young Pope.” Set in a luxurious bar, the noir film captures Clive Owen’s transformation from ordinary man to notorious bartender of the early 1980s, as he recounts the story behind the creation of a cocktail called “Killer in Red.” The film jumps between the past and present, using original costumes from the 1980s and a cast of more than 170 people to portray the era’s energy and style.
According to legend, Clive’s character, Floyd, has a talent for reading his clients and crafting a cocktail that perfectly fits their character. In the film, this talent is revealed when viewers meet the “Lady in Red,” played by actress Caroline Tillette. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the Lady in Red is far more complex than Floyd could have ever expected. In typical Sorrentino style, the film’s ending lets the audience come to their own conclusion, while reinforcing Campari’s ethos that every cocktail tells a story.
Clive Owen, Killer in Red star and protagonist, comments, “Campari Red Diaries was a very easy project to say yes to. I loved the fact that it was a short movie with a proper story, as opposed to a commercial; the fact that it was being directed by Paolo Sorrentino was a great attraction. I think Sorrentino is one of the best directors out there – an imaginative visionary.”
Paolo Sorrentino, director and screenwriter of Killer in Red, adds, “I am proud to have been involved in this Campari project for two reasons. First, because of all, the other incredible artists that had the privilege to work with the brand in the past. My name is now mentioned in the same breath as Depero, Fellini and others, even if it probably shouldn’t. I am also proud because this project, at least compared to Campari’s work in the past, is unusual – I like being involved in pioneering projects.”
Killer in Red ignites the Campari Red Dairies journey and is complemented by a collection of 12 cocktail stories from the world’s leading bartenders, filmed by emerging Italian director Ivan Olita, where viewers are guided through the magic and personality behind the creation of each Campari cocktail highlighting the culture of mixology. The US bartender featured is the legendary Julie Reiner, co-owner of cocktailing institutions Clover Club, Leyenda and Flatiron Lounge. A 2011 James Beard Award nominee for Spirits Professional of the Year, Julie Reiner is an icon of the NYC cocktail scene, acquiring accolades from “Best New Cocktail Lounge in the World” and “Best American Cocktail Bar” to “Best Bar Mentor” at the industry’s annual Spirited Awards®.
Keeping with the tradition of the Campari Calendar from years past, the Killer in Red protagonists and the bartenders behind each of the 12 cocktail stories are captured in the Campari Red Diaries Calendar Book. Shot by acclaimed Argentinian photographer Ale Burset, the Calendar Book encapsulates the essence behind each story and its bartender narrator. As in previous years, only 9,999 copies have been printed and will not go on sale but will be shared among friends of Campari around the world.
Bob Kunze-Concewitz, Chief Executive Officer of Gruppo Campari comments, “I am excited to launch this year’s truly unique campaign in Rome, allowing us to once again surprise and delight Campari fans all over the world by taking the brand into unchartered territory. Using film as a vehicle for the campaign has allowed us to depict the multifaceted artistry of cocktail making as well as continuously challenging ourselves to drive our iconic status as a world-renowned contemporary global brand. This year’s campaign takes on a new medium without severing ties with our past Campari Calendars which is exactly our approach to the brand – to innovate without ever forgetting our heritage. I am extremely proud of the result, which I must attribute to the array of professionals we have been lucky to work with, from Paolo Sorrentino, Clive Owen, Ale Burset and Ivan Olita, all of whom have left their own special mark not only on the campaign but the history of Campari.”
J. Walter Thompson Milan created the Campari Red Diaries concept, including the original story of Killer in Red, of which the screenplay was written by Paolo Sorrentino. Campari Red Diaries, including Killer in Red, was produced by Filmmaster Productions.