Italo distrib focuses on local talent

Italy’s RAI Cinema is trimming its international acquisitions budget and upping investments in its local production pipeline, where films by helmers Ferzan Ozpetek, Pappi Corsicato and Daniele Cipri are in the works.

“Over the past few years we have cut our investments in foreign product by about half,” RAI Cinema managing director Paolo Del Brocco said at a Rome presser Monday. “That’s because Italian movies are our market drivers these days.”

The film arm of pubcaster RAI has raised its local production budget by about 20% to more than €45 million ($65 million) per year for the next two years. Foreign acquisitions coin will drop to less than $28.7 million annually.

RAI Cinema’s most recent acquisitions are Relativity Media’s yet-to-be-titled Snow White project, toplining Julia Roberts, purchased from FilmNation, and Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3D “Pompeii,” snapped up from Summit Entertainment in Cannes.

RAI Cinema’s 01 Distribution arm, which holds a yearly market share that fluctuates between 8% and 10%, is the country’s third distributor.

Ozpetek will start shooting “Magnifica presenza,” starring Turkish stand-up comedian Cem Yilmaz this year; Corsicato is shooting plastic surgery comedy “Il volto di un altra,” starring Laura Chiatti; while Cipri is filming Mafia drama “E stato il figlio” toplining Toni Servillo.Del Brocco underlined RAI Cinema’s commitment to nourishing fresh talent via its recent agreement with Cinecitta Luce to co-produce 10 first works in two years.

It is also hatching a dozen pics with budgets under $287,000 by young helmers.

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