“I don’t think that having a film in competition is the only sign of appreciation of a country’s film industry, because there are numerous variables and balances in terms of the evaluations made by juries and Festival directors.
The important thing is that a country’s film industry is not ignored, as happened at the last Berlin Film Festival, where Italy had no movies in competition, but brought six products to the various fringe sections, demonstrating the vitality and diversification of our film industry”.
These are the comments of the president of Cinecittà Luce, Roberto Cicutto, on Italian attendance on the eve of the Cannes Film Festival: “This year we will be bringing four movies to La Croisette and have no complaints.
You can’t base the state of a movie industry’s health on selection for competition at the main Film Festivals.
Continuity is what counts. And normally, the titles that go to Festivals “” and are not necessarily in competition “” sell well, the real response comes from the market”.
What do you think, in this regard, about the anomaly of the international distribution of some top Italian movies by foreign companies? Take, for example, “Gomorra” and the recent case of Luchetti’s “La nostra vita” (Our Life), sold around the world by the Parisian-based company Celluloid Dreams, the same that handled the international sales of Marco Bellocchio’s “Vincere” last year.
It is true that this is a very serious phenomenon, and I say that also as a distributor.
The problem is that Italy no longer has a strong network of distributors whilst foreign companies are able to offer a guaranteed minimum that becomes very tempting.
You also have to consider the companies that traditionally distribute a certain kind of Italian movie abroad, such as, for example, Wild Bunch, who handle products by Moretti or Martone.
Basically, once Italy joined Europe, we should not have been surprised by this, apart from the fact that our distributors do not handle the sales of other big European movies and so there is no real reciprocity. This situation is the result of the structural weakness of our audiovisual industry.
Which, still today, is faced with the unresolved problem of promoting Italian movies abroad.
After the failure of the technical committee set up by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC) to prepare an organic promotional plan, what steps need to be taken now?
The Committee was established before my arrival at Cinecittà for the purpose of covering the interim period between Filmitalia’s incorporation into Cinecittà Holding and the creation of the premises for an autonomous Agency.
It was thought that it would be possible to do this within a short space of time, but the necessary conditions were absent.
The committee has not produced what was expected in practical terms “” i.e. the provision of resources “” and, in this transitional phase, it was decided to strengthen the structure of the former Filmitalia within Cinecittà Luce, coordinated by the Presidency.
What were the terms agreed?
The first thing I did once I took up my position was to make a binding pact with producers because they have the raw materials and our job is to promote them.
In practical terms, this has meant linking shows to market events, always inviting local buyers and involving producers in the variousinitiatives.
We will be doing this soon in Tokyo for the Italian Cinema Festival and, in November, in Los Angeles.
Our ultimate aim is to create a network “” along with the other entities involved in this mission, ranging from the ANICA (Italian Association of Cinematographic Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries) to the ICE (Italian Foreign Trade Commission) to the relevant government Ministries “” in order to constantly monitor the market, without leaving out any methods of movie distribution.
The attention should not just be focused on shows and initiatives, but continue all year round, in order offer greater continuity.
It is also increasingly necessary to strengthen relations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the activities of local cultural institutes which can do a lot by creating media events and retrospectives to coincide with the foreign releases of our movies. From this year we will be trying to move in this direction, within the resources available to us, which amount to just under two million Euros.
How do you imagine the Agency of the future will be?
I hope that it can soon become a concrete project and not just an aspiration. That will, obviously, depend on the way it is financed.
If it depends solely on FUS state financing and public money, it is one thing.
If it involves a Fund that can also draw on other non-public entities “” which is what I hope “” there would be an increase in the resources available to more established movies as well as for debut projects.
One thing is certain, movie funding that is independent from politics will take a long time.
In this context, we will at least try and make sure that no energy is wasted.
That is what we are trying to do.