Country Focus: Italy
Italy. A guide to Italian cinema (February 2003)
by Camillo De Marco
- A detailed analysis of both established and new funding mechanisms to see just where Italian cinema is headed over the next few years
A guide to Italian cinema
The end-of-year data for Italian cinema reveal a steady but positive trend, with an increase in box office takings and more investment. The financial world is showing more interest in cinema and the papers are full of articles about the appeal of Italian films (even the smaller ones) abroad. A small injection of trust that indicates the indubious ability of of the Italian film industry for recovery.
Only last July, when the season officially ended, Italian cinema realised that it was, yet again, “in a crisis”. According to Cinetel (a theatrical monitoring service run by Agis that covers 74 per cent of all Italian cinemas) were inequivocal: After taking Euros83m at the box office between June 2000 and June 2001, Italian cinema only managed half as much over the following 12-month period: Euros 41m.
The New Year brought a welcome surprise with it. In January 2003, Anica, the Italian film producers’ association, published their traditional end-of-year report for 2002 and announced: “Italian cinema’s getting better.”
The best news was the amount of Italian money being invested in national productions: Euros277.6m, fully Euros67m more than in 2001, and a 28.98 per cent increase. “This is the very first time that we have broken the Lire500,000b barrier,” said Anica’s president, Gianni Massaro.
130 Italian films were made in 2002, 27 more than in 2001. Box office takings, co-productions included, rose to Euros116m, a 24 per cent increase and Italian films took a 22.2 per cent share of the Italian market, an increase of 2.8 per cent on 2001.
Is Finance a part of the film industry?
Just as a leading Italian newspaper lists the names of the Italian directors aged forty or under, considered to be the “best next things” of the forthcoming season and writes about “a new generation of filmmakers” that is more in tune with public, a leading trade publication like “Box Office” ran the headline: Finance is already a part of cinema: “... important banking conglomerates, multimedia colossi, venture capitalists and merchant banks have entered the film and audiovisual arenas, in the face of talk about the alleged fragility of the Italian industry.” According to Box Office, three recent events sent out a strong signal of this new joint venture.
1. The De Agostini publishing group is investing part of the vast amount of money it took on selling Seat in the audiovisual sector, and is making no secret of this- After buying 10 per cent of the Cattleya production company and 33 per cent of Albachiara, in 2002 De Agostini became the majority shareholder in Mikado and underwrote joint ventures with Italian and international partners.
2. Franco Bernabè, the former MD of Eni and Telecom Italia, has been President of the Venice Biennale for a year. His ambition is to relaunch the stagnant festival and reposition it on the international scene in order to attract new sponsors and investments.
3. Italy’s Minister for Culture, Giuliano Urbani chose a leading venture capitalist to be the new MD of Cinecittà Holding, the group charged with promoting Italian cinema: Ubaldo Livolsi, the man who oversaw the quotation of Mediaset on the Italian stock exchange.
The Film Industry Who's Who
1. AGIS – Associazione Generale Italiana per lo Spettacolo (Italian General Association for Entertainment)
This umbrella association represents the entire entertainment industry, promotes and organises national meetings. The aim of AGIS is to “pursue the affirmation and recognition of social, cultural and entrepreneurial values of entertainment activities in every form and expression and the implementation of their economic conditions for the consolidation and development”.
2. ANAC – Associazione Nazionale Autori Cinematografici (Italian Filmmakers' Association)
One of the oldest Italian screenwriters’ and directors’ associations: from the Taviani brothers and Lina Wertmüller, Carlo Lizzani and Citto Maselli.
ANAC - Via della Principessa Clotilde, 1/a - 00196 Roma
tel./fax: +39 06 3610864
3. ANEC – Associazione Nazionale Esercenti di Cinema (Italian Film Exhibitors' Association)
Anec is a non-profit organisation for theatrical exhibitors. Anec’s main activities centre on guarding and representing their associates’ interests, promoting their activities, elaborating projects and events of interest and benefit to their associates. Anec draws up collective work contracts and national agreements, it promotes and carries out surveys and researches into issues relevant to film exhibition, and organises events that heighten the professionality of their members i.e. the Screenings (Giornate Professionali)
ANEC - Via di villa Patrizi, 10 - 00161 Roma
tel. +39 06 884731 - fax: +39 06 4404255
4. ANICA - Associazione Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche Audiovisive e Multimediali (Italian Film, Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries' Association)
One of the Italian film and audiovisual industry’s pre-eminent driving forces. Anica is made up of a variety of associations: UNPF (Italian Film Producers’ Union), UNEFA (Film Sales Association), UNIDIM (Distributors’ Union)- Anica looks after the interests of its members. It publishes “Cinema d’oggi” specialised in Italian cinema and the Guide to Italian cinema and takes part in all major international film festivals and markets.
5. API – Autori e Produttori Italiani (Italian Filmmakers' & Producers' Association)
API represents Italy’s leading filmmakers (both directors and writers) and independent producers. It recently joined Agis to strengthen and raise the profile of Italian cinema.
API - Via di villa Patrizi, 10 - 00161 Roma
tel. +39 06 884731
6. APT – Associazione Produttori Televisivi (Television Producers' Association)
APT is an umbrella association for 44 independent production companies who are behind 75 per cent of the revenue generated by this sector.
APT was set up to give its associates a voice in talks with the Authorities and public and private TV channels, to safeguard its members’ interests, and encourage the organisational, technological and financial of this sector, and above all, to try and fulfil its hopes and needs when new legislation is being drafted and EU directives about TV production drawn up. Its president is Sergio Silva and APT belongs to CEPI – European Independent Producers’ Coordinator.
7. CINECITTA HOLDING
The president of Cinecittà Holding SpA is film director Pupi Avati. It owns Istituto Luce outright (production –distribution- exhibition) and is a shareholder in the Cinecittà Sutdios and Italia Cinema. Cinecittà Holding’s main shareholder is the Italian Ministry for Culture who subsidies its activities on annual basis.
Cinecittà Holding’s institutional work includes promoting Italian cinema both at home and abroad by means of projects dedicated to the great directors of the past and their classic films, as well contemporary ones.
In the near future Cinecittà Holding intends consolidating its development plan aimed at creating new multimedia publishing projects of the next generation using cutting-edge technology ranging from the web to wireless.
In recent years Cinecittà Holding has begun promoting and creating awareness about digital technology.
Cinetel is a service, set up by Anec and the Distributors’ Association, that monitors the box office and ticket sales of 74 per cent of all Italian film theatres, as well as the performance by new releases, compiles the data and redistributes it to its numerous subscribers in the Italian film industry.
9. DIREZIONE GENERALE PER IL CINEMA (THE FILM BOARD)
The Italian Film Board was set up in May 2001 as a result of the reforms implemented by the Italian Ministry for Culture and completed in February 2003.
The main goal of the Film Office is to promote the development and circulation of Italian cinema, and the Italian film industry by means of a number of specific instruments like financial intervention (production, distribution, exhibition). The Film Board uses funds earmarked for the film industry by FUS – Fondo Unico dello Spettacolo and has a number of Commissions. The Director General for Cinema is Gianni Profìta.
10. ICE – Istituto per il Commercio con l’Estero (Institute for Foreign Trade)
ICE, the Foreign Trade Institute is a public institution whose work consists in developing, facilitating and promoting economic and commercial relations between Italy and the rest of the world. It is particularly attentive to the needs of small and medium-sized industries, consortia and groups.
ICE works closely with the Ministry for Productive Activities and elaborates and organises its Activities Programme.
ICE’s headquarters are in central Rome and has 16 offices in Italy and 1’4 in 80 countries around the world.
11. ISTITUTO LUCE
Istituto Luce has an enormous film and photographic archive both of its own productions, and private collections and acquisitions from a variety of sources.
On behalf of the Ministry for Culture, Istituto Luce also distributes films made by Italian and European directors and guarantees they are given an adequate release on the national market.
Andrea Piersanti is the president of Istituto Luce
12. ITALIA CINEMA – Agency for the Promotion of Italian cinema abroad
Founded on 23 December 1999 the ITALIA CINEMA agency is a limited company whose majority shareholder (85 per cent) is Cinecittà Holding.
Marina Cicogna and Giorgio Gosetti are, respectively, President and Managing Director. The main goal of the agency is to coordinate the promotional activities of Italian cinema abroad. It takes part in all major film festivals and markets, and organises promotional campaigns like Italian Cinema Around the World and has developed specific projects and reviews in the Americas, Far East, Europe (France and Poland). In 2002 ITALIA CINEMA was assigned a budget of Euros2.3m.