Country Focus: Italy
Silvio Maselli • General Secretary of ANICA
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Cineuropa: Last November, ANICA launched the Film Distribution Fund, a new fund to support distribution of Italian films in Latin America, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. What has the response been like?
Silvio Maselli: Ten or so requests for support have come in, made up of representatives from ANICA, Cinecittà and UNEFA. Out of these, six were found eligible. What needs to be stressed is that this is a new instrument in Italian cinema. It will take between a year and a year and a half for it to be known by foreign sellers. I therefore do not want to come to any conclusions within the next two years. We are still in the midst of a promotional campaign with the main markets in the countries we are aiming at. As of now, demand has come from Argentina, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
What kinds of Italian films are the most exportable in countries specific to the fund?
Even if we cannot come up with firm data yet, we can confirm that all genres of our cinema are distributable: from Dracula 3D in Japan, to Tutti i santi giorni [+see also:
interview: Luca Marinelli
film profile] in Argentina, Reality [+see also:
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile] in Korea, Il volto di un’altra [+see also:
film profile] in Taiwan, and The Great Beauty [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile] in Mexico. One problem that clearly emerges is the “fragility” of Italian sales structures for our films. Apart from the case of what was formerly Rai Trade, which is now Rai’s commercial division which is highly active, all there is are small businesses who have increasingly less films to sell and who find themselves participating in fairs surrounded by European companies where their “Italianness” is lost. The problem is only exacerbated by the fact that Italian films are often distributed internationally by foreign firms. On this point, we should take example from France by creating an UnItalia, after the UniFrance model, a true directing centre and model for export.
There is a project to extend the fund to other countries? Which are those?
We definitely need to adapt it to a number of markets, all the while unfortunately taking into account the scarcity of resources. We are thinking of turning more towards Latin America, where the few resources available thanks to local funds are still considerable. Our intention is to take advantage of the cultural Italian year in Latin America to reinforce initiatives in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia – perhaps by turning to direct forms of distribution and the creation of television spaces through local channels dedicated to Italian cinema. We are in the midst of elaborating a number of innovative projects with the Italian foreign ministry and the ICE, which we will be making public soon. We are keeping our Beijing office active and reinforcing activities in other cities, after Hong Kong and Shanghai. We are taking advantage of the Italian Russian tourism year, intensifying our activities in Russia and across former Soviet countries.
Do you think one could say there is a new wave of interest for Italian cinema in the world, especially after Sorrentino’s Oscar?
Absolutely. We have the eyes of the world on us and we cannot afford to go wrong. The current situation tied to the success of Paolo Sorrentino’s film should be transformed into a boomerang effect, an opportunity to re-launch ourselves on international markets showing a compact and mature cinema system. ANICA’s international activities in the next few months will be centred around presentation abroad of a singular system – showing Italian cinema off as the vehicle for Made in Italy internationalisation. Our aim, in collaboration with the economic development and tourism and culture ministries, the ICE public agencies (specialised in foreign commerce), the Luce Cinecittà institutions (specialised in promotion abroad) and Italian regional entities, is to take on this new promotional policy, which organically unites different realities, but has up until now worked in an uncoordinated way and sometimes even contradictorily.