Eagle flies with plan for film, TV

Prod'n budget at $20 mil

From MIP TV

CANNES — Aggressive Italian TV, film and homevideo distributor Eagle Pictures, which was created by the Dammicco brothers in 1984 and which recently snared RAI veteran Gianpaolo Sodano, has added TV and film production to its core business, Stefano Dammicco said in Cannes at the Mip TV market.

“Acquisitions this year will absorb $40 million, remaining, for the time being, our main business. But our budget for production and co-production has grown to $20 million this year and will double to $40 million in 2001,” he said. “Contrary to what many do in Italy, we are not producing exclusively for our local market but for the international market. That is why all our products are in English and have international partners for the co-production.”

International partners include Spain’s Tele Cinco, Germany’s Helkon, Canada’s Illusion and Alliance.

Projects include an ambitious 18-hour series called “Renaissance,” scripted by John Briley (“Gandhi”) and depicting two centuries of Italian and Euro history. In Italy, the series will be aired by pubcaster RAI.

Other TV plans include a 12-hour docudrama about Sicily; “Crime Senator,” a series of thrillers based in ancient Rome; “Almost America,” a miniseries about Italian emigration to North America in the ’50s; and two miniseries based on sports: “Villeneuve,” which tells the story of the Ferrari racing champion (and will probably be sold to RAI), and “Alex’s Race,” about a young motorbike champion, co-produced with Mediatrade.

“Beside television, for which we want to produce 10 products a year, we are working on a theatrical production, which will be announced during the Cannes Film Festival. It will be a $50 million production based on a European bestseller,” Stefano Dammicco said.

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