direttore Paolo Di Maira

RFF/Borgia II, a very Italian flavor

The Borgias return to the Roma Fiction Fest: the successful TV series produced by Atlantique Productions, EOS Entertainment, Canal+, ZDF and ORF (broadcast in Italy on Sky Cinema 1), which last year captured the attention of the Festival public with a master class by screenwriter Tom Fontana, returns this year with producer Michael Schwartz, who is currently busy filming the second series.

The biggest change is that “The Borgias 2” has a “very Italian flavor”.

In fact, although only 25% of the new series – the first 5 minutes of which were premiered at the Auditorium Parco della Musica – was filmed in our country, the Italian locations – all set in Lazio – can be seen in each of the 12 episodes.  “We filmed in some of the most beautiful places in Lazio, Tarquinia, Caprarola, Bracciano, Sutri, Sermoneta”, says the producer: “now the story has an Italian feel”.

It is obvious, however, that creative motivations are not enough to explain the decision to shoot in Italy (which resulted in a budget increase of 25%).  In an interview carried out by journalist Marco Spagnoli it clearly emerged that a decisive factor was the possibility of accessing the Fund set up by the Regione Lazio.  This Fund offers a contribution of 10% of the amount spent within a region, doubling to 20% for studio filming costs.  Another important factor was the excellent relationship established with Cinecittà Studios that “offered very competitive prices”.

Stefano Maria Ortolani, the Production Designer for this new series who worked on the second part of season one, also played a very important role.

Ortolani, along with the executive producer Enzo Sisti, “fought” for “The Borgias” to be filmed in the authentic historical sites, facilitating contacts between the producers, the regional institutions and Cinecittà Studios.  This also made Tom Fontana very happy who told Schwartz that he was finally able to write the screenplay “with real and not imaginary places” in mind.

“Stefano Ortolani was very important”, says Schwartz, “ he created some very powerful settings along with costume designer Sergio Ballo and all the hairdressers”.

So it is not just the locations that give the series an “Italian flavor” which extends to the cast as well: Schwartz spoke of “twenty or so Italian actors” (including Marco Cassini who plays Pietro Bembo, and was present at the meeting) compared to just a handful in the first series.

The crew working on “The Borgias” will return to Lazio next week (from October 8th) for the last block of filming on location in Italy.  With a German Television Award nomination for best TV series, “The Borgias” is one of the top productions that the international distributor, Beta Film, will be presenting at Mipcom in Cannes.

The success of this series (one of the most exciting European TV productions that has already been sold to 50 countries), has convinced Canal +, the most important partner, to request a third series, as announced by Michael Schwartz in Rome, who added: “Tom Fontana has said that it would even be possible to write five of them”.

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