Cabler concentrates on old film favs

VENICE — Sky Italia is launching a classic cinema channel, strengthening its ties with the Italian film community, one year after the Rupert Murdoch-backed paybox became the country’s single satcaster.

Unveiled at the Venice Film Festival, the Sky Cinema Classics channel will mix Hollywood golden oldies, such as “The Pink Panther” series, with local vintage fare, starting with a cycle of Sophia Loren pics in homage to the 70th birthday this month of Italy’s most beloved living thesp.

“When we first got here we didn’t want to rush into Italy with a channel of non-first-window movies,” Sky Italia’s general manager for programming David Bouchier told Daily Variety. “But now we want to try to complement our premium experience with familiar movies.”

In Venice, Sky is sponsoring a special presentation of a freshly restored print of 1960 comedy “Il vigile” (The Traffic Cop), starring late great Italo funnyman Alberto Sordi, one of several local cinema classics now being revived thanks to funding from the paybox.

This type of cultural collaboration with the local film community comes after Sky Italia pacted with local producers in July to invest E46 million ($56 million) in local product over the next two years.

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