The big-league players return to Cinecittà
by Camillo de Marco
- Thanks to broader tax incentives in accordance with the ArtBonus decree, Metro Goldwyn Mayer returns to Rome for the new James Bond by Sam Mendes and the remake of Ben Hur
"Big international productions have returned to Cinecittà bringing jobs and spin-off activities thanks to the broader tax incentives in accordance with the ArtBonus decree". This was what the Minister for Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, wrote in a note six months after the ArtBonus decree was issued when speaking about the Cinema Tax Credit aimed at attracting foreign investments to Italy in the film and audio-visual production sector.
The new provisions have increased from 110 to 115 million euro the film tax-relief fund but, notably, have raised from 5 million euro per film to 10 million per company (and a big movie can be co-produced by several companies) the tax credit ceiling for executive production and technical industries that make foreign films or parts of foreign films in Italy, using an Italian workforce.
"An extraordinary result", claimed the minister. "Italy continues to attract and fascinate the movie world by offering unique locations in cities, towns and Cinecittà studios which, after a dark period, are back to host high-level international productions. Films set in Italy are an incredible tool for tourist promotion and for re-launching the image of Italy worldwide. A movie that illustrates the beauty of Italy is alone worth thousands and thousands of paid commercials on every TV in the world". "The results have been immediate – underlined Mibact -, investments by international productions stand at around 150 million euro".
Among the main productions benefitting from the new regulations is the new 007 movie, produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and directed by Sam Mendes. The movie will be filmed in Rome between February and March 2015. Forecasted investments in the Capital are high; where various scenes will be filmed at historic locations with actor Daniel Craig starring as James Bond.
Also underway in Cinecittà is the remake of legendary Ben Hur from 1959, winner of 11 Oscars. The new screenplay was created by John Ridley, winner of the Oscar, in 2014, for Best Adapted Screenplay with 12 Years a Slave [+see also:
interview: Michael Fassbender
film profile]. Produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the movie stars London actor Jack Huston as Ben Hur.
Based on the eponymous book by Anne Rice, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt is directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, who's behind the screenplay, together with Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh. Produced by Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Tracy K. Price and Mark Radcliffe, the film will be released in the US in March 2016. Filming, which began in Matera on 15 September last, is currently underway at Cinecittà studios where, along with the sets mounted in the studios, the outdoor sets for the city of Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Herod's temple have also been reconstructed.
Another movie, based on the Italian novel by Silvio Raffo, Voice From The Stone, a psychological thriller produced by Zanuck Independent, directed by Eric D. Howell and stars Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Dom Hemingway). Filming began on 1 November and is underway between Tuscany and Cinecittà, where it will finish up before Christmas.
Zoolander 2, the long-awaited sequel to the brilliant Zoolander is in pre-production. The movie is produced by Paramount Pictures, directed by and starring Ben Stiller. Cinecittà studios will for one year host filming of Diabolik-The Series. The international co-production (Sky Italia, BSKYB, SkyDE) will make full use of the talent of 3 times Oscar winner Dante Ferretti who has agreed tomake the sets for Clerville, the imaginary city that provides the backdrop for the adventures of Diabolik.
(Translated from Italian)