Country Focus: Italy
Italy - The Lazio Film Commission (March 2005)
by Camillo De Marco
- The Lazio Film Commission and the network ‘Capital Regions for Cinema’
‘Not just locations’. This is the motto of the Lazio Film Commission, and it must apply to the facts, since its mission is to offer certain services to national and international productions which choose the Lazio Region as the ideal scenery for shooting. For that matter, this scenery already attracts over 80% of the national productions.
The Lazio Film Commission was created in 2004 as a joint venture between Cinecittà Holding and the Lazio Region; its mission essentially consists in providing for certain services, including consulting and assistance, to all productions interested in shooting in the Region. The LFC gives advice and support at every stage of the production: development, choice of sets, shooting, post-production...up to the premiere. ‘We are currently trying to go even further', explained GM Luigi Rossini, 'by creating a new fund, designed to support international co-productions.’
The Lazio Film Commission has also ventured outside the Italian borders to sign agreements with similar institutions. This year, in February and March, the LFC signed three important international agreements with the French Ile-de-France Film Commission, the Madrid Film Commission, and the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (the Berlin Film Commission).
This network named C.R.C. (Capital Regions for Cinema) aims at initiating and facilitating co-productions and distribution in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.
Capital Regions for Cinema offers a number of useful services to production companies.
The recent agreements particularly entail:
- the exchange of services, to encourage international collaborations between different producers and ultimately develop co-production;
- a good distribution of films in each of the partners’ countries;
- regular co-production meetings to present to the professionals the projects elaborated in all four partner-regions;
- the creation of events (festival, screenings, press conferences) to highlight the partners' industries.
The first agreement to be signed was with the Ile-de-France Film Commission. It was the best opportunity to make official ‘a 40-year-old relationship’, as the French Ambassador in Rome, Loïc Hennekinne, underlined. ‘Co-production are already an economic reality; there are bilateral agreements between several European countries, but they have only been formalised on a normative point of view so far; on the organisational front, it still works a bit haphazardly,’ Luigi Rossini, Director of the Lazio Film Commission, pointed out. ‘Hence the need to create a proper network of agreements and alliances to develop common strategies and make the most of our resources’. If a film is produced by several countries, its commercial potential is higher, for it is more likely to be well promoted and distributed in each of these countries. Amongst the many reasons there are to cooperate, the reciprocity of the support provided is definitely the most crucial advantage.
Alex Voglino, director of the Cultural Department of the Lazio Region, repeated what he had said in Cannes, that is, that the Lazio Film Commission has already ‘brought together 20 members representing several regional Film Commissions in Cannes to envisage common strategies’. According to Voglino, the recent agreements are ‘the first step to build an even bigger network’. The President of the Cinecittà Holding, Carlo Fuscagni, also delivered a speech, underlining ‘the duty for European partners to cooperate in order to be a consistent counterpart to American cinema which currently controls 50% of the European theatrical market. These agreements are an efficient device in the battle between the European and the North American film industries’. For Alessandro Usai, General Manager of the Cinecittà Holding, agreements like these ‘make our system more coherent and prevent the financial resources available for national and international productions from fragmenting.’
Capital Regions for Cinema has been officially introduced to the international film industry at a special event organised during Cannes Film Festival 2005 in May. CRS also organised bilateral meetings between the members of the network to get to know one another’s views on production and present new projects and initiatives.