Government cuts threaten movie bodies

Italy’s film community is up in arms over belt-tightening that threatens several cinematic entities, including Rome’s Centro Sperimentale Film School, the National Film Archives and promo org Cinecitta-Luce.

The Silvio Berlusconi government’s E25 billion ($30 billion) austerity package includes funding cuts to 232 cultural institutions. Culture czar Sandro Bondi will decide how to wield the ax.

Film students and faculty have occupied the Centro Sperimentale Film School since June 1 to protest the cuts.

The school also oversees the National Film Archives where more than 80,000 Italian film titles are preserved.

At a packed assembly, helmer Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties”), the first woman nominated for a best director Oscar, railed against the cuts saying “someone should tell Berlusconi that you just can’t let things like this happen in this country!”

Also in the front line to save the film school, whose former graduates include the late Michelangelo Antonioni, are helmer Paolo Sorrentino and former students Marco Bellocchio, Giuliano Montaldo and Roberto Faenza.

On Tuesday a group of film school students was briefly detained by police while attempting to unfurl a protest banner during a military parade in Rome celebrating the Italian Republic.

Meanwhile, producer and Cinecitta-Luce head Roberto Cicutto has reacted to Bondi’s description of Cinecitta-Luce as an “empty box” by threatening to step down.

The cuts do not at present seem to impact Italy’s recently introduced production tax credits, which give international productions a 25% deduction up to a maximum of $7 million.

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