PAOLA CORVINO/ THE BANKS ARE AT FAULT

Paola corvino is the President of unefa and we asked her to sum up the situation.
Since you re-established yourselves as an independent entity, have you already prepared your caiher de doléance to present to the ministry?
We are an association of companies that has always been self-financed, it is unusual for us to ask and even more unusual for us to receive. We are not looking for political visibility, our problems are practical ones, connected with work What we need is market space and recognition.

Have you already contacted the ministry and the top management?
so far we haven’t heard anything from the top management of the department of entertainment. We have been trying to contact the director general, gaetano Blandini, for months, without success.
however, we have had a reasonably satisfactory meeting with the icE (italian institute for Foreign Trade). We have an excellent relationship with the icE: they have always submitted their initiatives to our attention, inviting us to take part. and we have given our support every time we were interested in the events and they were coherent with our aims.

Now to the casus belli: Italian movies are increasingly being represented by foreign export companies.
We are not complaining if the movies are given to foreign companies which are on a par with us, that’s oK. The problem is when they are left to fend for themselves. and unfortunately, this happens quite oft en: movies are left on the shelf unsold. The producers are content with the guaranteed minimum they receive from the export companies who, when they see that a movie is not making a profi t, put it away in a drawer so as not to lose any more money. This doesn’t happen wiThan italian company which works much harder to fi nd buyers, even only out of national pride.

What then is the reason for this preference?
We are not fi ghting on an equal footing. our banking system doesn’t allow us to compete against foreign competitors. it is a question of mentality and fi nancial instruments. We cannot give producers a guaranteed minimum without using our own personal assets because there is no system of advances for movies. all we need are special terms to obtain fi nancing which is supported by the product being fi nanced, i.e. the movie. But this doesn’t exist in italy, no bank works in that way. They do in France, the united Kingdom, everywhere else. They can go to the banks. Th ose same European banks that, when they are in italy, immediately adapt to the situation here. another reason for choosing a foreign exporter is that they can at least guarantee access to their own market.

This could be one of the fi rst things you ask for. Could the new cinema law help in this respect?
i must repeat that we have not yet met the ministry’s representative. When we meet him we can put forward our proposals. however, the problem of fi nancing is not a legislative one but concerns the banking system. We have to fi ght against a mentality and that will take a lot of time and eff ort. and, considering the way things go in italy, maybe our grandchildren will be the ones to reap the benefi ts.

Does that mean that a new law and the minister’s support is not enough?
no, the problem is not ministers, they come and go. The problem concerns the whole sector of italian cinema around the world.

So the way you currently promote movies, with big overseas initiatives organized by the ICE or foreign Cultural Institutes are not much use “¦
We hold events and who knows anything about it? a few newspaper articles are printed and then what? That’s it. That is not oK. once they have been seen, the movies are left to fend for themselves. it is becoming increasingly rare for a movie to subsequently continue the distribution process in the country where the event was held. We are exporting culture not products. We promote but we don’t sell. That is the difference between us and them. We are traders.


 


Cinema&Video International    5-2007

Nella sezione: Focus on italy