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INDUSTRY / MARKET Italy

Roberto Cicutto, CEO of the Istituto Luce Cinecittà, looks ahead to the post-lockdown period

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- Greater action on the part of broadcasters, a dedicated desk to manage tax credit for international productions and a fund to attract foreign investment are just some of Cicutto’s suggestions

Roberto Cicutto, CEO of the Istituto Luce Cinecittà, looks ahead to the post-lockdown period
Istituto Luce Cinecittà CEO Roberto Cicutto

The president and CEO of the Istituto Luce Cinecittà Roberto Cicutto has opened a wide-ranging debate on the steps to be taken in light of the dramatically weakened cultural and audiovisual sector. We give a summary, hereunder, of his suggestions “for a re-boot which takes into account all the strengths and resources of the audiovisual industry”, breaking his recommendations down into 7 key points, as follows:

1. We shouldn’t just consider the needs of films and TV series, but rather those of all audiovisual products (documentaries, short films…), which need to find production funding as well as appropriate forms of distribution and which also require greater attention from broadcasters and platforms (especially in terms of investment).

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2. New types of measures should be taken by national broadcasters and their subsidiaries. They should implement parameters by which to assess the value of free TV rights and/or any other TV rights that they might look to acquire. In any event, broadcasters and their subsidiaries should not assume the role of producer (in accordance with art. 45 of law 633-41) or take advantage of or have access to any of the benefits reserved for producers.

3. TV network schedules (including those of thematic networks) should be better planned in order to enhance the number of national productions and co-productions (i.e. feature films, shorts and documentaries).

4. Access to tax credit should be guaranteed for national and international productions (which are made in Italy), and specific timeframes for the submission and approval of requests should be established and communicated. It goes without saying that whilst we can make a reasonable prediction of requirements for national productions, it’s not quite so easy to assess the same for foreign works. Opening a desk for the handling of foreign applications relating to mid to long-term productions would prove highly beneficial.

5. A coordination committee between the Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, ICE, MAECI and associations of producers and film commissions should be revived in order to identify the general lines of action to be taken in the name of internationalisation. The decree mechanism supporting foreign producers, exporters and distributors of Italian film has yielded good results. But it would be better to guarantee a fund (by way of a revolving fund system) which could shore up all internationalisation activities aimed at commercialising and attracting investments. The procedures by which the relevant ministries (MAECI, MISE, MIBACT) free up these funds are one of the most difficult factors to manage. The continuity and automatic nature of these monies is essential to the planning of interventions.

6. The close collaboration which exists between the Istituto Luce-Cinecittà and the entire audiovisual sector for the management of film funds - and which now also involves the Italian Film Registry - should be further extended to include studios and postproduction labs. Producers should always be able to weigh up (if useful to the work plan) the option of filming in a studio and not automatically assume that costs will be higher than shooting on location. Greater collaboration and exchange of information between Cinecittà and the film commissions is likewise highly desirable.

7. Audiovisual material also consists of archival resources and classic films. The distribution of this heritage abroad, and our relationships with institutions all over the world, creates a virtuous circle which is also of benefit to modern-day products. Developing such relations, and all related activities, enriches exchanges and brings new, important territories into the fold. We need to endow cultural institutes and embassies with effective, high-quality tools for the distribution of this material.

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(Translated from Italian)

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