Film office of southern Italian region has solid record

When it comes to film, Italy’s Campania has a lot going for it. Its scenic resources (such as the isle of Capri and the bays of Amalfi and Sorrento), its historical treasures like Pompeii and its iconic active volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, complement the enticing incentives it offers the production community.

Ever since the sunny Southern Italian region equipped itself with a film commission five years ago, shooting in Campania has become a competitive proposition.

In part this is simply thanks to Italy’s generous recently introduced tax credits which, besides boosting the local industry, give international productions a 25% deduction up to a maximum of $7 million, payable through an Italian executive producer. But additionally, a co-production fund set up by the Campania regional government has been providing gap financing totaling about $8 million between 2004 and 2008. And a further $14 million in EU coin for the region will soon be on tap for film and TV producers over a three-year period. This new EU-backed fund for filming in Campania got the greenlight in February, with plans to become operational later this year.

Besides the quality of our services, our regional fund is giving us a competitive edge, and we expect our new film fund to make us even more enticing both for local and international producers,” boasts Campania Film Commission topper Maurizio Gemma.

Gemma and the Campania commish certainly bent over backwards to meet the needs of “Eat Pray Love” helmer Ryan Murphy and set designer Andrew Baseman, which included parking 70 trailers in Naples’ historic center, accommodating a 300-member troupe, and providing 80 extras for a scene in which Julia Roberts eats a mouthwatering pizza.

Hollywood, of course, is no stranger to Campania, which rather recently also hosted Sony’s “Angels and Demons” at the Versailles-like Caserta palace, which doubles for the Vatican and was also used for “Mission: Impossible 3″ and several “Star Wars” installments.

Nonetheless, most of the 160 productions shot in the region since 2005, when the commission became operational, are Italian. They include TV productions that lately have been focusing on the unique cachet of Capri and even the nearby islands of Ischia and Procida (see story, page A31).

In terms of locations, Campania offers “places with a visual impact so strong that it transcends their specificity to take on an almost immediate universal quality,” enthuses Gemma.

But beyond the region’s razzle-dazzle looks, Gemma is quick to point out that Campania has proved “capable of providing ideal working conditions and solid financial incentives even to complex projects.” In terms of permits, that means that shooting in places like Pompei is no longer a producer’s nightmare.

As for infrastructure, while the nearest movie studios are currently Rome’s mammoth Cinecitta facilities, about 120 miles north of Naples, plans are now in the works for a local production complex called Giffoni Multimedia Valley, emanating from the Giffoni film festival and conceived as a studio for children’s product, with ambitions to become Southern Italy’s largest production facility.

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