Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
Doing business with Italy takes centre stage at Rome’s MIA
The panellists explored national and regional funding opportunities, along with the Italian Trade Agency’s activities to strengthen ties with Hollywood
On 13 October, Rome’s MIA hosted a panel titled “How to Get Italy on Board”, moderated by Bruno Zambardino. The discussion focused on exploring the country’s soft money along with the opportunities and schemes offered at both the regional and the national level.
The participants were Iole Giannattasio (International and Legal Affairs, Research Unit at Italy’s MiC), Luigi D’Aprea (Italian Trade Agency, Rome office), Cristina Priarone (Italian Film Commissions general manager) and Alessandra Rainaldi (Italian Trade Agency’s trade commissioner, from the Los Angeles office).
In her contribution, Giannattasio stated that the current film law in place, which entered into force in 2017, is “showing some interesting results [suggesting] we’re going in the right direction”.
The Ministry of Culture’s (MiC’s) activities include three pillars: selective support, tax credits and automatic support. These schemes are all designed to back audiovisual works of any kind, including features and series. The selective support is mostly aimed at features and is granted on a competitive basis. It is designed to back “special gems” that need more state aid and covers three different stages: writing (for writers whose projects have no producers attached), development and production.
The production support is granted through several sub-schemes, so that different project types don’t compete with each other: first-timers, young directors, animation, documentaries and shorts, and established directors. All of these schemes are fully open to domestic productions or productions where Italy serves as either a majority or a minority co-producer. Co-productions always gain additional points over domestic projects when it comes to award funding.
Speaking about the tax credits, she explained that these are available for development, production, distribution and sales. In terms of production, the rate is “one of the most competitive”, as it is set at 40% for films, and at 30-40% for drama series and other non-theatrical works. Finally, automatic support is granted on the basis of the companies’ track record, and still with a preference for co-productions over domestic ones. Giannattasio pointed out how the tax credit is “a permanent tool”, which was upped by 10% during the COVID-19 crisis. The overall support granted by MiC accounts for a minimum of €750 million per year, with over half of the funds allocated to production activities.
The floor was then given to Priarone, who talked about the Italian Film Commissions (IFC) network, which covers “20 different regions, all with very specific activities, characteristics, funds, opportunities and, obviously, landscapes”. She said that Italian regional funds currently allocate around €52 million for productions and co-productions each year, and this money can be accessed with a co-producer based in Italy. The organisation is not only working with institutional partners, but among other things, it is also strengthening its ties with private players, co-operating with MiC on the harmonisation of regional funds, promoting cultural heritage and organising the “Cappuccino with the Italians” networking activity (see the news).
D’Aprea spoke about the Italian Trade Agency’s (ITA’s) primary goal: to promote foreign trade and Italian exports, pursued through the efforts of its two offices in Milan and Rome, plus 70 more based worldwide. Rainaldi explained that the Los Angeles office is in charge of the activities related to the audiovisual and entertainment industry, and outlined her team’s effort “to create a bridge between Italy’s industry and Hollywood”. The efforts of the Los Angeles office are based on three main pillars. The first is monitoring the opportunities offered by the market through reports on the state of the industry and spreading key information to Italian industry players. The second is a promotional programme; this includes ITA’s participation in different events, such as the upcoming American Film Market. In particular, this year, a delegation of 30 producers and distributors, along with six film commissions, will take part in the gathering, and ITA will also organise a panel to inform US players about what Italy has to offer in terms of locations, services and incentives. The third pillar is based on consultancy and assistance services. Finally, Rainaldi said that ITA has recently created the “Italy Meets Hollywood” monthly newsletter to inform Italian industry players and enable them to find out “what’s going in Hollywood”, along with furnishing fresh insights. A website of the same name is planned to be launched next month, and this may, in the near future, include a marketplace where professionals from both countries can get in touch and collaborate.
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