Our country is attending this year’s Mipcom with a more efficient and robust “too l box” that will allow it to (almost) compete on an equal pegging with other European countries.
The system for making the tools available to foreign producers who choose to film in our regions at advantageous conditions has recently been enhanced by the extension of tax credits to the entire audiovisual production chain, including – alongside theatrical movies – works for television and the web, whether they be dramas, animations or documentaries.
The facilitations are also directed towards executive producers who set up agreements with international companies intending to locate part of their foreign film-making on Italian soil.
The upper limit for this type of support has been doubled from 5 to 10 million Euros, thus increasing the appeal of our locations, to the benefit of our country’s image abroad, in the year that “The Great Beauty” won the Oscar.
By no longer applying the upper limit to the film but rather to the executive production , positive effects are generated in terms of the attractiveness and competitiveness of our country with regard to international theatrical productions, making it more convenient for a greater number of foreign filmmakers (in particular those working in the United States) to come and film movies, or parts of movies that, for script reasons, should be filmed in Italy.
Amongst other things, this adjustment has cancelled out the unreasonable effects of the previous regulation which, by limiting the cap with reference to theatrical works, discouraged bigger budget movies.
This is a significant change of tack that has triggered a virtuous mechanism, making it possible for a rising number of Italian companies to work on a single bigproduction. The growing number of international projects that are returning to Cinecittà after years of crisis, testify to the renewed interest in our country thanks to these new incentives.
To be more precise, the tax credit is due in the event that a “foreign” movie (i.e. not recognized as being of Italian nationality) or parts of the same, is made in Italy, commissioned by foreign production companies and maximizing the territory itself.
The benefit is equal to 25% of the production cost of the individual work and the production costs, paid in Italy, should not exceed 60% of the overall budget.
To get an overall view of this public intervention, we spoke to Maria Giuseppina Troccoli, Executive at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism, who is responsible for the production and distribution sector. -“On a central national level, movie funding is managed by the Ministry’s Directorate General (DG)for Cinema which allocates around 100 million Euros for the production of national works (also in co-production with foreign partners) (the figures refer to 2013). Other direct support is also available (40 million), as well as indirect support in the form of tax relief (60 million) which, from this year, will also be available to dramas and web-native works. The direct support also includes selective projects directed towards theatrical works that obtain Cultural Interest recognition. The indirect support is automatic and consists of various forms of tax credit for works that pass the cultural eligibility test. Italian producers and distributors, companies outside the sector, executive producers and post-production companies (“technical industries”) are the beneficiaries of this support.
“One important new feature”, continues Troccoli, “is that from 2013, the tax credit has beenmade permanent with a fixed 115 million Euro fund for the entire audio- visual sector. This measure, launched in an era of spending reviews, is a strong sign from the government of the strategic importance it attributes to a sector which – where well regulated – can act as a catalyst for new and more substantial international investment, providing international film-makers with the elements of stability and certainty about resources that they really need”.
In order to help film-makers find their way around the various instruments available on a national as well as a regional level, the Ministry’s Cinema DG, in collaboration with the Italian Film Commissions, is preparing a new tool: La Bussola del Cinema – Come girare film in Italia (The Movie Compass – How to make movies in Italy) in order to promote and facilitate access to the numerous and varied instruments supporting movies and audiovisuals that Italy offers Italian and foreign production companies.
Troccoli is convinced of the usefulness of this instrument and was a driving force behind the creation of this “hub”, launching a policy of greater consultation with the regions in order to optimize resources (the aim is to have a common standardization of the methods of access and disbursement), and strengthening the commu- nication and promotion of incentives in favor of members of the trade, especially on an international level.
“‘The Movie Compass’ intends to offer a complete guide to the services and tools of public support for film production and distribution offered by the Italian state and regions. We are building an easy to use map for choosing the opportunities that are most suitable for each individual company and the movie it intends to make in Italy.
With regard to the “Italian system” and the current process of strengthening relations between the central state and the regions in order to achieve a higher level of correlation between the interventions supporting sector businesses, we decided to seek out the opinion of the Film Commissions represented by Stefania Ippoliti, President of the Italian Film Commissions:
“We believe that the Italian system is, finally, moving from “casual genius mode” to a that of a country with a professional, organized and efficient audiovisual industry.
The potential is enormous if we are able to replace this casual attitude with reliability, because this is the problem that needs to be solved. The central state should be seen as an ally not an enemy to be beaten, and this has started to happen; certainly this is how it is in our sector where we are dealing with people who love the work they do, and it is producing results which, just a few years ago, would have been to- tally unexpected. The Compass is a concrete example, it represents what you can achieve if you truly work together without prejudice”.
We asked Stefania Ippoliti to list the 3 main objectives on the IFC’s agenda for the next two years in order to attract investment and improve the promotion of their offer.
“One objective is to carry out an advertising campaign in a number of prestigious international online publications that are dedicated to finance rather than cinema, in order to get across the message that audiovisual Italy is a sector worth investing in due to the beauty of the locations, the skills of the various professional figures, the tax benefits and facilitations provided by the state and the regions, and because having Italy as a set increases the appeal of a project in terms of international sales.
The second goal is to prepare a calendar of international festivals in which we will be taking part as “Italia del Cinema” (I say cinema but mean audiovisuals..), i.e. with all the sector players being closely knit and well organized; basically like a military machine.
Finally, to have a Film Commission in every region, filling the few gaps that still remain”. To conclude, we asked the president of the IFC about the initiatives planned for Mipcom, as well as the instruments and objectives.
“At Mipcom, we will be passing on the message that, for producers and television broadcasters, working with Italy is interesting and simple also thanks to the Film Commissions: a widespread network of sector experts that can be an excellent guide for finding the best conditions for realizing production projects; the tools are the state’s fantastic Tax Credit, the funds made available by many local authorities, the locations, the services and the excellent professional skills available. Finally, we are fully convinced that, today, television is the most stimulating field in which to test ourselves”.