direttore Paolo Di Maira

ANTONY ROOT/Business with the Italians

From a showcase for the best Italian drama to a market for selling products and developing co-productions: the RomaFictionFest‘s Industry Week, directed this year by the UK’s Antony Root, is perfecting its identity, aiming to multiply the opportunities for encounter between international operators and Italian sector professionals with an initiative that is unique in the world of audiovisual markets.

“There are no international precedents for Industry Week”, explains Antony Root. “It is the result of work we have carried out with the sector’s Italian community.
The idea, developed with the APT [Italian Association of TV Producers] and the Fondazione Rossellini, inspired by the feedback from last year’s event, is to create an itinerary with many offshoots and a single central thread.
At the RomaTvScreenings, scheduled to be held from 5th “” 6th July, we are aiming to increase sales of finished Italian products on international markets, whereas with RomaTvPitching (7th-8th July), we are putting our efforts into unmade drama products in order to develop co-productions, bringing Italian operators into contact with the people responsible for TV schedules, creative executives and some of the world’s top producers, potential partners on future productions. The choice of a foreign director “” with a different concept of the Italian reality “” was a courageous one on the part of the Fondazione Rossellini, because it led to a more international vision. My job now is to bring Italians into contact with international operators”.

The internationalization of made in Italy products is becoming increasingly important and necessary due to the pressures of the current economic situation:
“The last eighteen months have been extremely complex for this sector’s world community which has witnessed a series of radical changes.
On the one side, new technologies have modified the structures of traditional channels, clearly expanding platforms; on the other, the performance of drama “” the most expensive TV genre “” has not always matched the investment made.
And all of this is taking place at a moment of general economic crisis. That is why, in the light of recent events, world producers have had to start looking at this market differently, taking into account the new opportunities that are being offered, first and foremost the multiplication of channels resulting from the advent of digital television that has led to an increase in and differentiation of the demand.
Not all channels are able to buy only US products and with 24 hour schedules to fill, they have to look elsewhere. So why not look to Italy?”.

In this context, “Italy has to overcome the conflict between “local” and “global” that characterizes its production, and propose strong programs, because a product conceived and created exclusively for the Italian market has less chance of success abroad.
The first limit is language, since our dramas are mainly filmed in Italian and very few other countries speak this language, which means that outside Italy, Italian productions have to be subtitled or dubbed.
The second, more complex and problematic element is that we need to change our approach, and consider producing products which are not in Italian, filming elsewhere, in other languages.
Even the BBC has stopped making drama series exclusively in the UK, and opened itself up to global markets. This is necessary in order to find a place on the international market.
One of the solutions, possibly the most immediate one, is to sell “formats” that make it possible to apply the same story to individual markets, adapting it so meet the requirements of the host country”.

In order to increase the opportunities for sales and co-productions between markets all over the world, this year Industry Week will be presentinga series of Panels dedicated to specific topics.
Starting with the meeting on How to make an international pitch, moderated by the director of Roma TvPitching, Pat Ferns, where Italian producers will learn techniques for pitching a project in order to find potential production partners.

The main theme of the other panels “” entitled Doing Buisness with”¦ – will be the international co-productions and commercial opportunities for Italian products in specific geographical areas, including France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Asia and United States.
The sector’s world community will be well represented: in fact, during Industry Week, 30 commissioning editors, 30 international producers and 50 buyers from over 80 world television channels are expected to attend.
They will be able to view over 50 Italian productions at the Lumsa on Via di Porta Castello, the location of Industry Week.

The new proposals for this edition include individual viewing stations to allow international buyers to select the products of greatest interest. A total of forty countries will be involved, with some returns as well as new entries: “Like last year”, concludes Antony Root, “we have noticed a high level of participation from Central and Eastern European countries, whereas the biggest innovation for this year will probably be the large delegation we are expecting from the Middle East.
We have registered particular interest from Hispanic countries, who are some of the biggest consumers of drama products.
It will be interesting to see which programs this part of the world – which shares a common language – likes the most”.

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