The needs of production companies, which are always on the look- out for original settings, and the regions, which are able to promote themselves through this type of proposition, are compounded by the proposal of locations. But the ability to enrich and diversify this offering has to cope with a still unresolved problem: public locations, a repertoire of places and buildings that, in Italy, is incredibly vast.
This heritage can constitute the added value of Italian locations, especially for international productions, but their use is extremely difficult.
“It has always been our ambition to set up a structured system of proposals”, says Cristina Priarone, general director of the Roma Lazio Film Commission [RLFC]: “At the moment the use of public locations is not clearly communicated to the national and international production world. Above all it is difficult to identify reference persons and to have a clear agreement: these two steps generally contain an element of discretionality that certainly does not facilitate the relationship”.
It is essential to clarify these two steps, the aim is to provide clear references that are usable and transmissible.
There are a number of interlocutors in Italy: MiBACT [Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism], Government Departments, the Regional governments, the City Councils; then there are the new interlocutors, like the recently established Associazione Parchi e Giardini d’Italia [Italian Parks and Gardens Association].
“The important thing that happened this year was that we got them all around the table, taking advantage of the very favorable moment, particularly as a result of the gratifying response of Minister Dario Franceschini who promptly grasped the importance of renewing the offering of Italian public and cultural assets and bringing them closer to users, adopting the right language – that of the FCs – through the Italian sector association, the Italian Film Commissions.
In fact, we do not want to run the risk of making picture postcards”.
The positive response came not just from the Ministry and the General Directorate [DG] for Cinema, but also from Rome City Council which is working on the reorganization and streamlining of procedures. The RLFC acted as a stimulus for this process which is just at the beginning. On the other hand the time scale is shorter with regard to the regional aspect.
“We are very much working in synergy with all the City Councils in Lazio to realize the mapping not just of the places but also of the reference people. The aim is to build a network in the region that would work alongside the regional film commission with local “antennas”. I am not talking about new structures, but about dedicated people within the respective municipal administrations”.
The work on public locations is combined with a project launched last year by the Regione Lazio which was the first, among the Italian regions, to use the Art Bonus in order to maximize the region’s artistic and historic heritage.
This led to a process of selection of the sites of particular value carried out by the Budget Department to which the state property office refers.
11 sites were identified and promotional work has already begun on three of them (the Castle of Santa Severa, the former Gil building in Rome, the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, San Martino al Cimino).
“Councilor Alessandra Sartore”, comments Cristina Priarone “has facilitated the optimum valorization of the locations”.
Finally, returning to the public locations in Lazio, what is the estimated time scale?
“From next year” announces the director of the RLFC, “we should already be able to propose a structured offering on our on-line website that already offers an evocative virtual experience with a 360° view of the locations. It will be a small big step forwards which will provide a new boost, especially with regard to foreign promotion”.