Big group expected for RAI's Sardinia interlude


ROME -- RAI Trade's annual invitation-only preface to MIPTV is attracting record interest from buyers, the sales arm of Italian state broadcaster RAI said Thursday.

Held each year on the island of Sardinia, organizers say they expect more than 150 buyers from some 20 countries, with increased attention this year on buyers from the former Soviet bloc, along with India, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The exclusive meeting takes place April 2-4. At the conclusion of the Sardinia talks, participants will be flown by jet to Cannes for the April 7-11 MIPTV meetings, where RAI officials say many deals started in Sardinia will conclude.

RAI Trade says that every project in the RAI Trade catalog -- more than 1,600 hours of programming -- will be converted into a digital format, allowing participants to watch any program on their own schedule. Acquisitions will be available in many areas including fiction titles, animation, formats, music and sports.

Additionally, RAI Trade says it will look for remake opportunities for certain titles, including drama "Sales Girls" (already adopted for Spain and Latin America for Sony Pictures), and "Enchantment" (already sold in Greece, Russia and Ukraine).

Sports programs including the championship soccer games for Italy's top leagues also will be shopped in Sardinia.

Other long-awaited programs such as Roberto Faenza's historical drama "The Viceroys," Cinza Torrini's detective drama "Lady Detective" and "Maybe God is Ill," the Africa travel story penned by Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, will first be screened for the group in Sardinia before heading to MIPTV.