The basic theme is not new: to cross borders. To export “dramas that tell people in other countries about Italy”: a call to arms for the whole production chain, passing through a general rethink of the product, according to the president of the Italian Television Producers Association (APT), Marco Follini.
“First and foremost, it is a cultural challenge” which is made even more urgent and necessary in the light of the latest figures on the subject – a 58% drop in exports between 2006 and 2012 (Source: Rapporto Fondazione Rosselli), with few Italian titles becoming sales champions.
How can we make domestic products more competitive on foreign markets?
We have to think of dramas as not just being for domestic consumption but for a wider audience as well.
This means revising the content and making an effort to tell the world– and not just Italians – about Italy, with a greater level of experimentation and, above all, diversification, breaking the ritual of repetitiveness that often characterizes part of our production.
In the past few years there has been a widespread tendency to import too much content in the face of our lack of ability to cross national borders. But a country also presents itself to the world through TV productions and it is in Italy’s interest to back a sector like audiovisuals.
What role do international showcases play in this scenario?
An important role. And MipTv, in which the APT has taken part since 1996, represents a traditionally strategic rendezvous on the panorama of sector markets. At this 52nd edition, we will be in Cannes with a pavilion realized in collaboration with the ICE (Italian Foreign Trade Commission), a 120 square meter area in the Riviera Pavilion which will host over thirty sector companies.
For a long time there has been talk of a possible merger between the movie and drama festivals: has the process been put on hold for the moment?
For the moment we have the certainty of the big movie festival showcase which will be held in Rome in October, into which we are putting a massive effort, calling out to all the players, including the various associations. It is what I would define as being an all-round audiovisual festival. We will be there and will be making our contribution. The gap between cinema and TV has been narrowing for quite some time now. This has led to us playing some team games, to making some common reflections.
Is the IX edition of the RomaFictionFest still on the APT’s agenda?
The APT has the destiny of the RFF in its heart. The last edition was very positive and we have no intention of losing what we consider to be an important opportunity. For the 2015 edition we are thinking of bringing the festival forward to June from September in order to avoid overlapping with other Italian and non-Italian events, seeing as in the fall, in addition to the cinema festival we also have Cannes again with MipCom.
Is there any margin for a return of a television market to be held concomitantly with the drama festival?
A market needs to be prepared duly in advance and the conditions are not right at the moment. If the festival is held in June it will have the same characteristics as last year’s edition. It will be an event characterized by the sobriety the current period demands.