The Italian film world says no to the closing of cinemas
- A new decree requires cinemas to close until 24 November, reviving the nightmare of a new devastating blow for exhibitors and for the entire audiovisual industry
“Cinemas and theatres are the safest, do not close them”. The Italian audiovisual world says no to the unjustified decision taken by the government to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. A new decree requires the closure of cinemas, theatres and concert venues at least until 24 November, reviving the nightmare of a new devastating blow for exhibitors and for the entire film industry, already severely tested.
Appeals asking the government to back down are multiplying at this time. In a research carried out by the AGIS (Italian General Association of Performing Arts), entertainment venues turned out to be among the safest spaces for social gatherings — data confirmed by the hundreds of screenings held safely at the Venice Film Festival and more recently at the Rome Film Fest, where no outbreaks have been recorded despite coinciding with a worrying increase in new infections.
"Cinemas have scrupulously applied strict protocols in recent months", reads a note from ANICA, "developed thanks to the collaboration between institutions and trade associations, thus managing to guarantee the safety of spectators and transforming cinemas into places of zero contagion. Distributors, especially the Italian ones, have staunchly held out, by continuing to program films even against all economic logic, and despite the climate of absolute uncertainty created by various and sudden measures which have made any form of planning useless. We will strive to ensure that today's measure is definitely temporary: after this phase, made up of complex and economically painful sacrifices, a planned reopening must come as soon as possible, with full collaboration between the government, institutions and exhibitors, distributors and producers."
“it was a painful and difficult decision,” said the Minister of Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini, ensuring that the decree which will be passed today or Tuesday will include new measures to support companies in the sector, such as bars and restaurants. In addition to urgent support measures, the ANEC (National Association of Italian Cinema Owners) asks to guarantee the release on screens of all completed films, without resorting to different solutions or exceptions that would penalise the theatrical release model.
“During World War Two, cinema did not stop”, commented director Marco Bellocchio, “even under the bombs, people continued to go to the theatre. Cinema is a primary asset and a great symbol, a possibility of dream and hope.”
(Translated from Italian)
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