Italy Unveils New Audiovisual Fund to Attract Cinema Productions

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Dario Franceschini

Culture Minister Dario Francheschini presented his new cinema fund at the Rome MIA Market, where industry professionals gathered to hear details of the new law.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini presented his new cinema law at the recently concluded Rome MIA Market, where industry professionals gathered to hear details of the new fund. In an effort to lure new international co-productions to Italy, the government is planning on upping its audiovisual investments.

Overall, 1,500 industry leaders from 58 countries attended the market, eager to hear about possible co-production opportunities. Lazio region (home of Rome) president Nicola Zingaretti also presented at MIA a new fund of €10 million for international co-productions in the area.

Franceschini’s new cinema law is expected to go into effect early next year after a final vote from the Senate.

The new law will increase cinema funding by 60 percent, raising it by €150 million ($164 million) to €400 million ($436 million). Improved tax credits are meant to further lure international productions to Italy, which recently saw the return of studio films including Spectre and Ben-Hur.

In an effort to make foreign productions as easy as possible in the country, tax refunds are available up to 30 percent of the budget, available to production, postproduction and distribution companies working on qualifying projects. The credit rises to up to 40 percent to independent producers distributing the films on their own.

Producers and distributors also will receive contributions toward new productions. As before, priority will be given toward pushing forward new authors, with up to 18 percent of the fund dedicated to first or second works, young directors, cinema startups and festivals. And further measures will invest in new cinemas and closed cinemas in and effort to bring back ticket sales.

At MIA, Franceschini called the measure “an intervention of long-awaited reform that recognizes the strategic role of film as a powerful vehicle for cultural education and promotion of the country abroad."