INTERNATIONALIZATION 2/A Control Booth

Internationalization is a very long word for an activity that is as complex as it is valuable to our audiovisual industry, the health of which has always had to take into account an adequate presence on international markets.

We discussed internationalization with Roberto Stabile, head of international relations at ANICA and coordinator of the ICE (Italian Trade Agency) audiovisual desks around the world.

“For the international activities of the Italian audiovisual industry” starts Stabile “the methodological approach followed comprises the lines dictated by a “control booth” for internationalization which is the operational tool that coordinates the country’s policies on this topic: it is co-chaired by the Italian Ministries for Foreign Affairs and Economic Development, and also features the participation of the Italian Ministries of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC), Economics and Finance, Agricultural and Forestry Policies, as well as a series of other interested bodies. Here initiatives regarding promotion and penetration on foreign markets are placed within a system, concentrating financial resources on shared and specific objectives”.

“Directing” is a familiar concept in the sector. Which strategic lines
are being prepared?
All the internationalization activities take place along three main themes:
– The selling of the Italian finished product overseas: organizing stands at markets, facilitating the presence of vendors abroad, promoting the Fund for foreign distributors;
-The development of coproductions between Italian and foreign producers: promoting coproduction meetings, facilitating the presence of our producers at the main festivals and markets and creating Focus events dedicated to Italy at the same.
– Attracting foreign productions to Italy: facilitating the presentation of the incentives that the State and the Regions make available, promoting the beauties of the region and the services offered by the widespread and efficient network of Film Commissions, the excellence of our workers and the recovery and relaunch set in motion by the State and the Cinecittà Studios.

Which actions have been developed?
The priorities highlighted at the last meeting of the “Control Booth” (September 11th 2018), included an incentive for operating on markets with high potential, paying particular attention to China, India and Russia, as well as mature markets, like the USA and Europe.
The importance of integrated promotion between the various sectors of our national production, under the Italy Brand, was reaffirmed.
Moreover we prepared a series of activities for Latin American countries in the light of Italy joining the Ibermedia Coproduction Fund aimed at strengthening the Italian presence at all the festivals and markets in the countries that are members of the Fund.
Finally it was considered to be very important to dedicate special attention to China, setting up a regular China project to be carried out on a long-term basis.

On what basis were the priorities defined?
A coordination Table was set up for internationalization activities that brings together all the main bodies representing the Italian audiovi- sual sector and collects the petitions of all the components, defining the action projects always in line with the indications of the “Control Booth”. Once the programs are defined the resources made available by MiSE (Italian Ministry for Economic Development) and MiBAC are identified.

What are the criteria for allocating the resources?
The main innovation is that the resources emerge from the actual requirements, unlike in the past when the amounts were set first and it was decided how to spend them afterwards.
Another important factor in terms of innovation and efficiency is that coordination makes it is possible to organize the programs better, avoiding waste and duplication: the synergies created, in fact, help to avoid overlapping and, above all, offer an opportunity to present ourselves abroad with a more systemic approach.

Creating a system: so far that has been more an aspiration than a fact. Has anything changed?
Thanks to the great personal understanding, in addition to the expertise and availability of the relevant Under Secretaries, Borgonzoni for MiBAC and Geraci for MiSE, it is getting even easier to develop projects and find the financial cover for them in order to bring the Italian audiovisual System to significant levels on an international scale, also thanks to the support of Istituto Luce and the ICE and with the collaboration of private citizens.

What does the collaboration of private citizens consist of?
With regard to the management of the Funds, private citizens offer expertise and agility of movement in addition to know how and knowledge about the markets, while public entities guarantee transparency and impartiality in the management of public resources.
And thanks to the ICE it has been possible to create a whole series of audiovisual Desks around the world in all the foreign offices of the countries where audiovisuals have a certain importance, while the Associations have delegated their own representative who has the task of training and managing, coordinating the activities of the various Desks at the service of all the operators.
Finally, I should underline the growing importance of MIA, the Inter- national Audiovisual Market organized by ANICA and APA, funded by the MiSE and partly also by MiBAC, which is the key Italian market and increasingly a marketing platform for Cinema, TV and Documentary products. An excellent example of collaboration between public and private entities.

The entities involved are becoming increasingly numerous, don’t you think we need an ad hoc Agency to which all the Activities could refer?Although Italy does not yet have an Agency for the promotion of Italian Audiovisuals around the world, the System functions in an increasingly unitary way attracting the attention of foreign organisms which are beginning to look at us with a certain “suspicion”, finding that we tend to be present on almost all markets, the protagonists everywhere with progressively sizable means and increasingly incisive actions.
With regard to the subjects involved, I can add two more.
From this year, ENIT (the Italian Government Tourist Board) has joined the initiatives at Cannes and together we are studying more wide ranging activities for promoting Tourism through audiovisuals.
Moreover collaborations are being established with the SIAE (Society of Italian Authors and Publishers) in order to also involve the creative process, i.e. filmmakers, in the promotion of the Italian audiovisual industry around the world.

Nella sezione: Focus on italy