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DISTRIBUTION Italy

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Roberto Cicutto: “Exhibitors obstruct feature debuts”

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- Pietro Marcello’s Lost and Beautiful has immediately been taken out of some theatres, and the president and MD of Istituto Luce-Cinecittà is calling for a review of the distribution system

Roberto Cicutto: “Exhibitors obstruct feature debuts”
Lost and Beautiful by Pietro Marcello

Roberto Cicutto has made a public statement condemning a “serious flaw in the theatrical distribution system”. The president and managing director of Istituto Luce-Cinecittà reminded everyone that “19 November saw the theatrical release of the film Lost and Beautiful [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Pietro Marcello ­
film profile
]
by Pietro Marcello, which was welcomed very favourably by the critics and singled out as the Critics’ Film by the SNCCI, the National Union of Italian Film Critics. The movie finished the weekend with per-copy average takings of over €2,000.”

However, already in its second week, the film “was taken out of some theatres with no justification in relation to the results attained”. Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, through certain guidelines from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, distributes feature debuts and second works supported by contributions from the state and co-produced by Rai Cinema, but these titles “nevertheless often find that film exhibition poses the greatest obstacle to their circulation”.

For Cicutto, exhibitors have the right to choose which films to programme and create policies to safeguard their own revenue, “but the prejudice that feature debuts and second works are very often greeted with cannot be justified. Either we create the conditions for initiating and improving all of the possible tools (high-quality screens, support from the FICE circuit and so on), thus resolving a serious flaw in the theatrical distribution system, or it will only lead to the squandering of public money.

“Often,” continues the Luce-Cinecittà MD, “to programme these titles one must pay a ‘guaranteed minimum’ to the theatres, which, when added to the costs of screening the trailers, limits the already tight budget available for marketing. In such conditions, Luce cannot guarantee an acceptable distribution in theatres, and it is clear that the conditions outlined above are triggering a short circuit, which is why films supported with public funds find it hard to recoup the investment.”

The upshot of all this, Cicutto sums up, “can only be that these titles are left to the laws of the market alone, and it is certain that movies such as Le Quattro Volte [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Michelangelo Frammartino
interview: Savina Neirotti
film profile
]
by Michelangelo Frammartino, Corpo Celeste [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Alice Rohrwacher
film profile
]
by Alice Rohrwacher, A Street in Palermo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Emma Dante
festival scope
film profile
]
by Emma Dante, Arianna [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlo Lavagna
film profile
]
by Carlo Lavagna and The Interval [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
festival scope
film profile
]
by Leonardo Di Costanzo (to mention just a handful of the recent titles in Luce’s catalogue) will not be watchable any more, and nor will audiences be able to discover new auteurs”.

(Translated from Italian)

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