Italos protest arts cutbacks

Agis organizes effort against budget cuts

ROME — Hundreds of prominent Italian film, theater and music personalities gathered in Rome’s Piazza del Pantheon on Monday and staged one of the country’s biggest protests in recent memory against government cuts to arts funding.

Entertainment trade org Agis organized the effort against cutbacks by Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi-led conservative government to subsidies affecting all entertainment sectors.

Banners proclaimed: “Culture costs. But a lack of culture costs even more.”

Those in attendance included helmers Ettore Scola, Carlo Verdone and Gillo Pontecorvo; composer Ennio Morricone; and stage thesps Giorgio Albertazzi and Gabriele Lavia.

“The government’s disinterest toward the entertainment sector has triggered a crisis which is undermining some 200,000 jobs,” lamented Agis chief Vincenzo Francesconi.

According to Agis, the Italian government has currently earmarked E464 million ($600 million), allocated for the arts across the board. Agis claims this sum is some 30% less than was being spent 20 years ago.

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