Lombardia Film Commission Eyes Possible Film Fest at Expo 2015

The festival would focus on the sustainability themes of the Milan World Expo, but the commission's director worries bureaucracy may stand in the way.

ROME – The Lombardia Film Commission is calling for the creation of a one-off six-month-long film festival in conjunction with the 2015 World Expo to be held in Milan, complete with special initiatives designed for industry insiders and others aimed at the general movie-going public, all tied to the Expo’s theme of “Feeding the planet, energy for life.”

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Alberto Contri, the director general of the Lombardia commission, said there is “no shortage of ideas” for how to make such an event worthwhile. But he worries that bureaucracy could kill the idea before it gets off the ground.

In an interview with the Turin-based newspaper "Il Giornale," Contri said the event would promote film in Lombardy, the Italian region that includes Milan. But it would also promote the Expo’s main themes, while boosting the local economy. He said he imagines special industry events, the unveiling of new film incentives for the region, and screenings that would help rekindle Milan’s love of cinema.

But he said nothing would happen unless the city’s red tape is streamlined. He said that shooting a film in Milan is like “running a slalom, through many obstacles.” He said “the Milan bureaucracy scares those who try to shoot films in town.”

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He said film projects spent around €9 million ($11 million) in Milan last year, down from an average of around €13.5 million ($16.5 million) most years.

The Milan 2015 Expo is scheduled to take place over a six-month period ending Oct. 31, 2015.