Italian Government to Increase Cinema Funding by 60 Percent

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Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini

The new fund was hailed by the country’s leading directors including Roberto Benigni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Paolo Sorrentino and Giuseppe Tornatore.

The Italian government has announced a shake-up to the film industry — a move that has been sought for decades —  that will see funding increase by 60 percent, or more than €150 million ($164 million).

The changes, set to take place in 2017, will see the government's support to cinema rise to $427 million annually.

Whereas funds for cinema were previously taken from a single government pot set aside for opera, cinema, theater and music, the film and audiovisual industry will now have its own separate fund. Moreover, productions will be supported based on past financial and artistic achievements, making the system more in line with the French model, where government support of cinema is acknowledged internationally.

"The government is modernizing its commitment to Italian cinema," Dario Franceschini, Italy's minister of culture, declared Wednesday.

Franceschini announced that priority would be given to young filmmakers and writers, with up to 15 percent of the new fund aimed at supporting first and second features. In the new bill, tax credits would also rise to help attract foreign investment in Italy as well as for Italian independent producers. There also will be strong incentives for those investing in new cinemas and those preserving cinemas and film libraries throughout Italy.

The announcement was hailed by Italy’s top directors including Academy Award winners Roberto Benigni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Paolo Sorrentino and Giuseppe Tornatore, who also participated in the meetings to discuss the new changes.

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