direttore Paolo Di Maira

EXPORTS/Unefa:Sponsors have arrived

UNEFA one year and a few months after the reorganization and consequent departure of ANICA.
One year after the statements made by the President, Paola Corvino to Cinema&Video International about the “imperfections” of an Italian system (ministry, banks”¦) that abandoned its homegrown exporters, leaving them to deal with the aggressive tactics of the foreign competitors preferred by our producers when it came to placing their movies on the international market.
One year after the Italian presence at the Cannes Film Festival reached an all-time low.

Has anything happened since then?

Three important new partners have joined UNEFA: Istituto Luce, Mediatrade and Lux Vide.
They join Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Filmexport Group, Intramovies, Minerva Pictures, Movietime, Surf Film, Variety Communications and Vip Media to make a total of 11 partners.

And that’s not all: the Italian vendors’ lists are once again filled with prestigious “made in Italy” productions.
Some examples: Intramovie has four Cattleya movies on its list, Adriana Chiesa is once again presenting a number of top titles (Soldini, Tornatore, Moccia), and Luce has an interesting contribution from some young film-makers.

There is also satisfying news on the festival front: two movies in competition, “Il divo” by Paolo Sorrentino and “Gomorra” by Matteo Garrone, one out of competition, “Sangue pazzo” by Marco Tullio Giordana, and one selected for the “Quinzaine”, “Il resto della notte”, the second feature by Francesco Munzi of “Saimir” fame.
“I am happy about the movies in competition”, said Paola Corvino, when we spoke to her about the current situation.
“Although, if I am not mistaken, all of the sales have been entrusted to foreign companies”.

However there are also some excellent Italian movies being sold by Italian companies at the Cannes Marché, as can be verified by looking at the lists of the main companies in UNEFA.
The Intramovies list includes “The girl by the lake” by Andrea Molaioli, the winner of 10 David di Donatello awards, “Tell me about love” by Silvio Muccino, “At a glance” by Sergio Rubini, “Black and White” by Cristina Comencini.

The top titles on Adriana Chiesa’s list include, “Sorry if I love you” by Federico Moccia, “The Unknown” by Giuseppe Tornatore and “Days and Clouds” by Silvio Soldini.

 Genre movies dominate Filmexport Group’s list: “Milano-Palermo. The Return” by Claudio Fragasso, “Melita, the last Guardian” by Paolo Bertola and “Be-mine. The Devil’s 7 notes” by Marco Tornese.

We speake to Paola Corvino about the state of Italian film

The lists of the companies in UNEFA have been enriched by a number of important Italian movies as well as some interesting foreign titles.
Is this a “Renaissance” as some have called it, resulting from the success of our movies at the domestic box office?

Corvino is keeping her feet firmly on the ground.
“A Renaissance? Let’s not use big words.
It is true, however, that there has been a reversal in trend.
A return to a healthy nationalistic spirit, as I like to think”.

Is this anything to do with the fact that the international sales entrusted to foreign companies did not meet expectations?
I am alluding to the fact that “” as you yourself have said on other occasions “” foreign vendors do not see our movies as a “priority”?

Foreign companies are professionals just like us.
If the movies are strong they get good results, if they are weak I have the impression that, after the initial impetus, they get left behind. Obviously, this is a personal opinion that needs to be verified with the producers.
This year at UNEFA we worked very hard on staging a recovery for our movies.
We drew up a united action plan focusing on the long term to cover the main markets until August 2009.

How have you prepared for this Cannes Film Festival?

A large number of associated companies will be attending together in a single prestigious exhibition area on the first floor of the Palais Stephanie (formerly Noga Hilton).
However, some companies will “” quite rightly “” be maintaining their traditional places in other venues.
We have the support of the ICE “” Italian Foreign Trade Commission – for a joint advertising campaign in sector publications.
We are also very proud of the fact that we have found private sponsors (Eurolab, Studio Cine, Technicolor), confirming our recognized professionalism, stubbornness and commitment to the Italian movie industry.
In the meantime, we have presented a project to the Regional Government of Lazio regarding an ongoing action to cover the entire range of annual markets, a project which has been welcomed with interest.
We also have a rich calendar of screenings.
In all, we can say that, when we contact Institutions directly, they are giving us more attention.

So everything is going well? Your (inexistent) relationship with the Department of Cinema was another sour note. How are things this year?

No change.
In all this time, despite what he said to the press a year ago, director general Blandini has never received us.
We have never had any contact with him.
A year ago he told Cinema & Video International that UNEFA members “needed to modernize their activities” and that he had “the feeling they were asleep”.
He said they were “too traditional, with too many “˜one man shows’, too small and alone not to find themselves grasping fot breath”.
Well, we never got a chance to show him how wrong he is, as he has never visited even one of our companies, nor replied to our requests for a meeting (not even just to say no).
It is a very curious reaction since all we wanted was an appointment. But obviously we are not on Blandini’s list of priorities.
He did not receive us, but we didn’t kill ourselves!
It is a sign of our professionalism that we have survived in a situation which is very critical not just for Italy but for the international market as a whole.
The esteem of the ICE, the Regional Government of Lazio and our private sponsors has comforted us.
We hope that, sooner or later, the Ministry will become aware of us.

Now there will be a new Minister”¦

Who knows if the new Minister will receive us”¦
We will try again.
Politically, we do not care who occupies the position, as long as it is someone who looks at this problem and does something about it.
Any other comments at this time would be premature.

Talking about changes: Filmitalia is getting a new “name”.

It would be a real shame if the structure of that organization were broken up.
It has achieved some excellent results in recent years, moving “in crescendo”.
But it seems that the ruling principle is that everything always has to change.
However, the debate that has been going on in recent weeks appears to have raised the interesting proposal of a mixed public-private structure.
What I don’t understand is why, every time, we have to close and open, then re-close and re-open structures that are functioning well. This is a totally Italian mystery.

Postscript: We would have liked to talk to the director general again, as we did last year, but unfortunately, this time, we were not able to get an audience with Gaetano Blandini, presumably due to the lack of time available to us both.

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