Revamped commission aims to lure coin

ROME — The city of Rome, Cinecitta Studios and a consortium of local audiovisual industries will revamp the capital’s faltering film commission to lure more film and TV coin.

The renamed Roma Cinema Film Commission is designed to be user-friendly, cut costs, reduce red tape, provide logistical help and even help tap into potential financing via local partnerships.

“We are no longer talking about just a permit office,” said Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, “but a full-fledged film commission offering services ranging from spotting the perfect location to finding the right partner for a project.”

Unveiling the beefed-up commission, Veltroni vowed to do away with municipal land occupation fees — meaning that it will soon cost nothing to shoot on the street, while shooting permits for historic sites, such as the Coliseum or the Trevi Fountain, are being cut by half.

Perhaps even more important, paperwork will be simplified and handled by a centralized office. The current form required for shooting in Rome is full of complicated stipulations written in incomprehensible English.

Roma Cinema Film Commission, which will send reps to the Location Trade Show in Santa Monica in April, will rely on Cinecitta’s international marketing machine with reps in London, Los Angeles and New York.

The revamped entity is working with a consortium called Distretto Dell’Audiovisivo comprising some 70 local film, TV and multimedia production companies, which have access to government financing.

The most recent high-profile Hollywood pic to use Rome exteriors was Miramax’s “Gangs of New York,” while Warner Bros.’ “Ocean’s 12″ is expected to start shooting in the Italo capital in May.

Artists’ training center

Cinecitta unveiled on Wednesday its Cinecitta Campus, an on-site training center for performing artists. Project is backed by Italo TV host Maurizio Costanzo, Cinecitta Entertainment and the city of Rome. Performers will work under professional coaches while patrons can subscribe to watch the action.

The facility will have a permanent home inside Cinecitta and host a 400-seat TV studio as well as outside stages for larger crowds. Rehearsal space for theater, TV/cinema, dance and music will be available to performers, who must pass an audition.

Inauguration is slated for mid-March. Costanzo, a professor at Rome’s La Sapienza U, said it was his contact with students that inspired the concept.

(Sheri Jennings in Rome contributed to this report.)

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more