“I consider Abruzzo a hidden gem, and a miniature and milder version of California”: this opinion expressed by Francesco Panzieri from Pescara, a visual effects technician living in California for around ten years, offers an auspicious start to our examination of Abruzzo’s chances with regard to North American productions.
Traveling along the road that has brought talents from Abruzzo to Hollywood, in addition to Panzieri Cinema & Video International has collected the comments and suggestions of producer Angela Page, and the former president of Hollywood Paramount, Len Grossi, in the full knowledge that passing through Hollywood – and all it means in terms of visibility – can make up for the initial “gap” of the Film Commission d’Abruzzo both in terms of resources as well as experience.
The promotion of Abruzzo as a location is the starting point : “I believe the location should be flaunted as one of the most beautiful anywhere in order to first establish it as a must have destination for Location Scouts to film”, advises Len Grossi, while Angela Page underlines “the many advantages of shooting in the region that include the variety of locations”.
The second driving force is economic convenience: “all producers are looking for ways to reduce their production costs”, warns Grossi. In addition to state incentives (Italy has a tax credit), “local Chambers of Commerce could perhaps fund a portion of the productions through local bank financing or government funding in return for a mention (i.e. Product Integration) in the film/TV show… ”.
Tax incentives are also important for Panzieri, who adds: “local collaboration programs between North-American film production companies and specific territorial entities who could escort and accompany pre- production/location scouting and production”.
Even though, initially, resources are scarce, the Film Commission can at least start on the right foot.
Angela Page provides a detailed list of “best practices”:
“Emphasize and offer a first class support system for production companies in such as permits for shooting, local registration requirements and cooperation with local law enforcement. Provide lists of available local crew, talent agencies, accommodation and meal services; streamline access to local industry sponsorship for product placement and collaboration. Outline and detail the lower production costs as compared to other regions in Italy, the U.S. and other similar Western European regions”.