Rome MIA Market Grows in Fourth Year With Increased Attendees and U.S. Participation

Art Rickerby/Time & Life Pictures
JFK's last international trip will be explored in new TV series 'Eternal City'

The market is quickly growing, with 50 countries registering for the event this year.

The fourth edition of Rome’s MIA market has concluded after a weekend of intense pitching sessions, panel discussions on industry hot topics, 30,000 networking meetings and more than 125 buyer screenings.

The market is quickly growing, with 2,000 operators from 50 countries registering for the event this year, an increase of 15 percent over the previous year. International guests also increased representation, making up 30 percent of all badges, with a huge increase in the presence of American guests.

Among those invited were top players from Hollywood, including director Paul Feig, Anonymous Content president Paul Green, Icarus director Bryan Fogel, writer Chris Brancato, Sony executive Kathryn Busby, and Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film Los Angeles.

Held directly after MIPCOM, MIA (International Audiovisual Market) is attracting a different type of audience focused on co-productions in Europe. Executives who attend are able to partake in meetings at a casual pace and enjoy several Roman events (and meals) in a more relaxed setting apart from the Cannes madness. But that didn’t impede business projections. All told, packages presented to buyers and co-producers at MIA represented an estimated $346 million (300 million euros) of potential new business.

“MIA has confirmed itself as a winning formula for a new and convergent market serving the global industry,” said director Lucia Milazzotto. “We left the 'start-up' phase and have laid the foundations for a growing MIA."

“The presence of international operators interested in Italian products and attentive to our creations are constantly growing, this year exceeded all expectations,” said ANICA president Francesco Rutelli of the event. “The construction of new business partnerships is very promising."

Among the key events, a drama series pitching forum represented 20 new series from 12 countries: Spain, Italy, Lithuania, United Kingdom, United States, Iceland, India, Israel, Canada, Belgium, France, Australia.

And a special presentation of upcoming greenlighted Italian series introduced buyers to new TV content, including My Brilliant Friend (HBO, Rai, Timvision), Devils (Lux Vide, Sky Italia, Sky Vision), Gaddafi (Palomar, eOne), The Name of the Rose (11 Marzo Films, Palomar, Tele Munchen), Sanctuary (Yellow Bird, Fabula Pictures), The Lost Girls of Rome (Sky Italy, Gavila, Colorado Film), The Swan Company (Indigo Film, Rai Fiction) and Don’t Leave Me (Rai Fiction). 

A final English-language series from the newly created “Alliance” of Rai, France Televisions and ZDF was presented generating great interest. Eternal City links the history of John F. Kennedy’s presidency with the Dolce Vita era of Rome. Created by Marco Spagnoli, Gianni Cipriani, Giannandrea Pecorelli and Carl Joos, the series will position JFK’s last international trip in July 1963 against a murder mystery of a wannabe starlet in the Italian capital.

“What is very important for us is that the voyage of Kennedy was like waiting for a rock star,” Spagnoli told The Hollywood Reporter. “Kennedy arrived in Italy before the Rolling Stones or the Beatles. He was the first rock star that came to Italy. It was huge, especially for a Catholic country.”

Based on true events, Kennedy arrives in Rome following the murder of a young and promising actress who is found with a book of 120 names, all male. The police, operating in a time before advanced forensics, decide to interrogate every single person in the book.

“Also what's very important is the stories about the many secret services who were operating in Italy: American, Russian, British, Israelis. Italy was a landslide for many reasons,” said Spagnoli.

“There is a very important love story. There is a very important murder mystery. There is a connection with the secret service and also what this killer may have revealed about Kennedy. Because Kennedy could have been killed in Rome at this time, perhaps by the secret service, but the question is by which one.”

Spagnoli is excited to portray the real Dolce Vita years, which he described as a time of intense collaboration. “Italy never stopped to be a set. In those days there were no publicists. If you were an important actress and you wanted to have a dinner, nobody told you, ‘No.’ If you liked a man, nobody said: ‘Don't go for it.’”

“The greatest collaboration was between Anna Magnani and Tennessee Williams. Where in the world, would these two meet, other than the Rome? He was obsessed with this woman,” said Spagnoli of the film The Rose Tattoo, which won Magnani the Academy Award for best actress. “In this time we have candid shots of Greta Garbo walking alone. Imagine today, ‘Greta, let's do a selfie.’ Louis Armstrong came to play Rome by train. Imagine? You could meet people you considered icons in the street.”