Countries tubthump co-productions at Rome fest

ROME — The Russian Cinema Fund and Italy’s Lazio region are bringing their film funds closer together, stepping up efforts to foster co-productions as part of a broader pact being forged between movie industries in the two markets.

Announced at the Rome Film Festival on Tuesday, the agreement, between Russia’s rich state film fund and the fund recently launched by Lazio, which surrounds Rome, Italy’s main film and TV industry hub, follows plans for a Russian-Italian film academy that will boost cross-promotional purposes.

Russian Cinema Fund topper Yelena Romanova said Italy will become a special co-production partner for Russia partly because combined incentives from both countries are very attractive for producers, and also because of cultural affinities.

“Finding some common issues or a story that is related to both countries is easier,” she said.

The Lazio fund offers incentives of up to €500,000 ($640,000), on top of Italy’s generous tax credits offering up to 25% of a pic’s budget, capped at $6.5 million.

The Russian state entity distributes the lion’s share of about $150 million annually for domestic pics and international co-productions and local industry promotion.

The Russian Cinema Fund was the official partner of the Rome fest’s opening night ceremony and the Business Street mart, which kicks off on today. Plans are underway for the Rome mart to pact with the Moscow Film Festival’s Business Square mart.

Russia has a robust selection of movies unspooling at Rome, which opened with helmer Bakhtiar Khudojnazarov’s big-budget epic “Waiting for the Sea,” which is being promoted by Russia’s film export entity Roskino.

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