What have been the results of the initiatives launched by Filas over the last two years, ranging from the advance reimbursement of VAT to international producers to the venture capital interventions for theatrical co-productions?
The risk capital interventions for small and mediumsized businesses in the cine-audiovisual sector of the Lazio region for innovation and co-production projects resulted in a commitment of over 3 million euros, with an investment capable of creating capital gains and returns that will allow us to support other important initiatives in the future.
“I Fiori di Kirkuk”, the first international co-financed co-production, was presented in Berlin, taking its place alongside the nine previous interventions in prestigious Italian movies including “L’orchestra di Piazza Vittorio: I Diari del ritorno”, the sequel to the documentary-film shot in 2006 by Agostino Ferrente, and “Colpo d’occhio” by Sergio Rubini with Riccardo Scamarcio.
With regard to the Fund providing VAT assistance for non-eU producers in the audiovisual sector, in November 2007 Filas organized an “Invitation to participate in a framework agreement for Banks” in order to implement this measure.
An examination of the requests presented as a result of this initiative led to the identification of a suitable banking partner and, by mid May, an agreement will be signed between this Bank and Filas, making the fund fully operational.
But this is not all, Filas has also long been committed to supporting international exchange and cooperation, as shown by the important agreement Memoranda stipulated with the Malta Film Commission, the National Union of Cuban Artists, the MDA Media Development Authority of Singapore, the FICCI (Indian Federation of Chambers of Commerce) and the MDeC Malaysia (Multimedia Development Corporation).
Rome, Cannes, Berlin, Hong Kong, Mumbai, then Cannes again: does the promotion of the audiovisual industry and the Lazio region begin with the main international sector events?
And, thanks to the collaboration with the Roma & Lazio Film Commission and the CRC – Capital Regions for Cinema network, numerous co-production opportunities have followed these occasions.
At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Filas will have a stand at the Marché along with the Regional Government of Lazio and the Film Commission, together with an information desk at the Noga Hilton, an event is planned for 21st May to discuss collaboration between the various regions of the european Union as well as cooperation with Asia. On this occasion, “Innomedia” will also be presented, an initiative promoting audiovisual innovation in the eU, devised and promoted by Filas, thanks to the participation of CineRegio (the european Film Fund network) and the eU Innodeal Programme.
How does Lazio’s audiovisuals industry fit into the international picture?
There has been a strong ICT section in our Region for many years which is characterized by close links and synergies with the film and audiovisual industry.
We believe that the content management system, which has a strong presence in Rome due to the large quantity of footage held in various places, including the RAI, has a lot of potential.
Also, we should not forget that Lazio hosts a number of small and medium-sized businesses of international importance connected to the innovative AV sector and digital technology, including animation software for cartoons.
Italy’s position is, however, on the periphery of the world scene, in a strongly expanding market.
Despite the high level of their specific skills, due their small size the companies in our region encounter enormous difficulties when competing on an international level and finding the economic resources necessary to reinvest in innovation.
In order to make up for this, we need to eliminate a series of obstacles that are holding back the process of bringing small and medium-sized businesses closer to information technologies: the inadequacy of the instruments and services used, the lack of knowledge about the technologies available, the inability to tackle the competitive pressure even on a local scale, as well as the well known weakness of our national system of innovation in terms of investment flow.
There is also the difficulty of investing in human resources with efficient training structures.
The commitment to this sector made by the Regional Government of Lazio and Filas follows on from our analysis of this situation.
What are the next steps to be taken towards further strengthening Lazio’s audiovisuals industry?
We will continue to work towards guaranteeing access to world markets for the small and medium-sized businesses in our region through co-productions as well as cooperation agreements.
These agreements will include the development of collaboration initiatives in the field of industrial innovation and activities aimed at transferring know-how and exchanging best business practices in the various sectors of cinema, audiovisuals and the Media.
Most importantly, we will continue our commitment to developing increasingly profitable exchanges with Asia, which is now the biggest world market for the audiovisuals industry.
The Lazio Region in Figures
In 2005 around 1,800 businesses were involved in this sector, nearly all of which were situated in the Municipality of Rome (1,486), employing around 55 thousand people.
Even today, the Lazio audiovisuals industry comes out on top in a number of important areas: 69% of the companies and 27% of people employed in the Italian film and audiovisuals sector are located in this region. 60% of these companies were established in the last 20 years and 27.4% since 1999.
In 2006, Lazio led the film production sector, with 58.5% of the total number of employees and 35.9% of the companies, as well as the film distribution sector, with 68.1% of the employees and 41.4% of the companies.
It also had the most radio and television employees (40.8%), although it came in second place to Lombardy in terms of the number of companies(19.3%) operating in this sector.