Just a few months after the return of the Lazio Region to the Roma Lazio Film Commission – ratified in the changes to the film and audiovisual law made by the Polverini Council and approved by the Regional Council on October 21, 2013 – a new chapter opens for the Foundation headquartered in Cinecittà.
But there are still many obstacles to overcome, including the long-standing question of permits in Rome and the need to create a system, a “Lazio model.”
Film Commission Director Cristina Priarone spoke to us about this, and more, on the eve of the Berlinale.
What new avenues does the return to the Lazio Region to the Film Commission open?
The first effect was that it returned the structure to its original identity, of being the key point of reference for the entire territory.
This allows everyone to work on a much larger scale. The Lazio Region was gone from theFilm Commission for the past two years: in 2011 the Polverini Council formalized its with- drawal, which became effective in 2012. After that we were found ourselves effectively man- aging the same amount of work, but without any support.
What is the Film Commission’s budget today?
The new endowment is €600,000, twice that of the last two-year period, of which €300,000 is from the Region, €200,000 from the Commune and €100,000 from the Province of Rome. We’ve also recouped a good part of our regional credit, almost entirely regulated by the Zingaretti Council – approximately 50% of the overall credit, to the amount of over €1 million.
The Regional Audiovisual Fund has €45 mil- lion for three years. Who will manage this budget?
The Region currently manages the Fund. However, to facilitate access for professionals, it would be useful to open an information desk at the Film Commission. In the regions in which regional funds work well, promotion is managed by structures such as ours.
Is reexamining its mission part of the Film Commission’s new course of action?
More than reexamining, it is optimizing its duties. The two most urgent actions to place on the agenda are updating the procedures for obtaining permits for Rome and formulating a strong and unified policy on regional audiovisual matters. This can be done in synergy with the two new Councils.
Currently, filming permits for Rome are managed by the Film Office, which reports to the Commune. It is fundamental that we update the procedures, simplify and de-bureaucratize them, so that people can also pay for the permits online. Foreigners have a hard time shooting here; the difficult procedure is even more discouraging than the fees. Speaking daily with industry professionals, we know how critical this system is, as well as the procedures used in other countries. It’s therefore important that we sit down and discuss it with the Commune.
And on the regional front?
It’s also fundamental that the Region send strong signals, guidelines for the territory. Lazio is a versatile territory, but to best develop its potential we must sensitize local organizations, integrating single actions into a shared system. Public locations must be conceded in the fastest and most economical way possible. To do so, we’ve also reopened ours dialogues with various superintendencies, the State Police and state land administrations.
Along with supporting productions and marketing for the territory, the Film Commission activities indicated by the Region in the changes to Law no. 2/2012 include training.
That’s something we’ve always pushed for. The diverse initiatives included one in favor of local young producers developing co-productions and a project to protect technical know-how. But for training support to be truly efficient, it must be continuous.
What are your next steps?
We’ll be at the Berlinale, with a group of Italian film commissions. Then there will be other initiatives once the new board of directors is elected, which is essential to laying out a new path.