The Regione Lazio [Regional Government of Lazio] is increasing its commitment to audiovisuals, a very strategic sector for the region. This commitment involves both cinema and, in particular, TV drama, an industry which already has a permanent presence in the Lazio region where 75% of the Italian companies are based, accounting for 82% of the overall turnover.
The leading figures from the region with the highest concentration of sector businesses and operators in Italy will be bringing some important news to Mip Tv in Cannes, where they will be sharing a stand with Rai Trade: the newly founded Fondazione Lazio per l’Audiovisivo [Lazio Audiovisual Foundation].
The Foundation was set up by the Regione Lazio and the Chamber of Commerce of Rome, which already promote “” alongside the APT (Association of Television Producers) “” RomaFictionFest (RFF), the rendezvous held in Rome to showcase Italian and international big screen drama, the third edition of which will be held this summer.
“The mission of the Foundation, in which ANICA [Italian Association of Cinematographic Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries] and APT will also probably participate”, explains Francesco Gesualdi, Secretary General of the Regione Lazio and president of the newly created organization, “is to develop the Italian audiovisual market abroad, to become actively involved in sector training and to promote the RomaFictionFest.
We have already started the ball rolling with APT by setting up the drama festival and I think it is only natural that independent TV producers will also back this new adventure”.
The Foundation’s BoD includes Giampaolo Letta, vice president, and Giuliano Montaldo, Giovanni Malagò, Massimo Bernardini (journalist and presenter of TV Talk, the magazine-show dedicated to television on the Rai Educational channel), representing the Regione Lazio, whilst the chief executive is Michele Misuraca (Director of Communications and External Relations RL and DG RomaFictionFest). The main activities planned include the creation “” by the Foundation “” of a training center dedicated to audiovisuals and TV series, currently a very underdeveloped sector in Italy.
In fact, apart from the Rai and Mediaset scriptwriting schools, there is only one course dedicated to TV Drama Creation and Production directed by Milly Buonanno at the CSC in Lombardy.
“We are working on the development of a drama school along the lines of the Sundance Film Festival, a high profile school for training scriptwriters, producers, directors and actors”, states Gesualdi.
“The idea is that products filmed and put together by students from the training school will be presented at every edition of the RomaFictionFest, thus establishing a hotline with the market and the sector industry”.
This is an important step for RomaFictionFest and is strongly supported by Marrazzo who will be presenting the main new features of the third edition at Mip Tv.
“We will be organizing a cocktail party in honor of the RFF at Cannes, during which the artistic director, Steve Della Casa, will be giving some news about the Italian and international stars who will be attending”, says Gesualdi, “as well as an evening with Rai Trade “” our partner on the stand “” which president Marrazzo will also attend”.
And while we get ready for Mip Tv, the Regional Council’s promotional activities for audiovisuals continue with the setting up of a fund offering advance VAT reimbursements to foreign producers “” operated by Filas, the Lazio development finance company “” as well as Venture Capital interventions in support of small and medium-sized businesses in Lazio for cine-audiovisual co-productions which, to date, has financed around fifteen products with an average allocation of 250 thousand Euros (source: Regione Lazio).
This choice demonstrates that the internationalization of the local system, in terms of attracting foreign productions as well as developing co-productions, is considered to be key to the growth and promotion of the territory.
“Our next step is to work towards more targeted European sectors through training, technological innovation (i.e. modernization) and the internationalization of our products “” the main critical areas of our audiovisual system “” and to facilitate access to credit by audiovisual companies through our own bank, the Banca Impresa Lazio”, explains Gesualdi.
“Together with ANICA we are also thinking about how to optimize and develop the opportunities offered by the current tax credit and tax shelter legislation thanks to which, today, companies can obtain immediate tax benefits if they invest in cinema.
Our common objective is to promote a series of initiatives aimed at informing people about this legislation.
ANICA already has an information office financed by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, the next step will be to put sector businesses located in Lazio in touch with this office”.
Another project currently being defined which aims to help companies access more favorable credit involves a partnership between the Regione Lazio, Torino Piemonte Film Commission and an as yet unnamed bank:
“This is an agreement with a leading bank which aims to offer production companies with a series of specific features the opportunity to gain access to subsidized credit, thanks to a kind of “blue stamp”. In this way it would be possible to cover the crucial period between the deliberations of the various organizations involved and the distribution of the contributions.
It would also encourage the whole industry to present itself in a more efficient and transparent way”.
Another important element of the regional policy in support of audiovisuals is the strong presence of the Regione Lazio (a founder member of the Fondazione Cinema per Roma) at the Rome Film Festival and, in particular, the Business Street which, from this year, will be directed by producer Roberto Cicutto.
“We feel it is important to work towards making the market an important junction in the world, and we are getting there gradually. This is why Sviluppo Lazio has increased its support of the Business Street.
Beyond the inevitable cultural aspect of a festival, our main interest is to develop and strengthen the companies”, continues Gesualdi.
“The same goes for the TV drama industry which, after the support given through the creation of RomaFiction- Fest, is preparing to inaugurate its first small market – RomaTvScreenings “” an initial taste of what we intend to do in the near future”.
The circulation of audiovisuals on foreign markets is an aspect that will closely affect the actions of the future agency dedicated to managing the promotion of Italian cinema around the world and, for the first time, there has been talk of a clear opening up to the TV sector, with the involvement of players from the drama industry.
“I don’t think we can do much today without the TV companies at the table”, concludes Gesualdi, “so if we manage to define a series of targeted projects with all the institutions and organizations involved, whatever their political colors (to avoid a pitiful scattering of the resources available), we will be able to make a real contribution to the Italian audiovisual industry”
THE 10 POINT PLAN FOR AUDIOVISUALS
1) Establishment of the “Fondazione Lazio per l’Audiovisivo” in 2009
2) Creation of the RomaFictionFest in 2007 and promotion of the RomaTvScreenings at the 2009 edition
3) Establishment of a fund offering advance VAT reimbursements to international producers
4) Venture Capital interventions in support of small and medium-sized businesses in the Lazio region for cine-audiovisual co-productions
5) Initiatives in collaboration with ANICA to circulate information about tax credit and tax shelter regulations amongst sector businesses
6) Facilitating access to credit through the Banca Impresa Lazio
7) Development of European funds for training, technological innovation and product internationalization
8) Supporting the Rome Film Festival and the Business Street
9) Setting up a regional fund for cinema-television writing (by the end of 2009)
10) Increasing the fund for the Roma Lazio Film Commission (by the end of 2009)