Studio seeks to attract more foreign productions

ROME

After a long strike that made worldwide headlines, Rome’s Cinecitta Studios is forging ahead with a multimillion capital increase to finance its revamp plan, which aims to lure more foreign productions.

Studio prexy Luigi Abete has announced a capital increase from $68.4 million to $86 million in the first step of his planned $200 million refurbishment of the production complex. The revamp, now in progress, caused a three-month standoff with workers last summer.

They feared that the addition of a hotel and wellness center amounted to a de-facto dismantling of the historic facilities, once known as Hollywood on the Tiber. Abete was able to persuade them otherwise.

The leisure facilities remain in the plan, which includes a state-of-the-art 13,000 sq ft soundstage, touted as a modernized version of the legendary Studio 5 where Federico Fellini used to shoot. It also adds more office space for production companies.

As previously announced, deals have been sealed with Hollywood-based Deluxe for post-production services and with Panavision for camera equipment, to upgrade services.

Currently shooting at Cinecitta is Paul Haggis’ romantic drama “The Third Person,” starring Liam Neeson and Mila Kunis.

Pic is produced by Belgium’s Corsan, which is tapping into Italy’s generous 25% tax break, capped at $7 million.

Cinecitta Studios holding company Italian Entertainment Group also comprises TV ads, fiction and events company Filmmaster, and Cinecitta World, which is developing a $600 million Cinecitta theme park created by set-designer Dante Ferretti, due to start construction this year on a separate site.

IEG partners are fashion mogul Diego Della Valle, with a 30% stake; producer Aurelio De Laurentiis, with a 22.4% stake; a joint venture between Abete and Della Valle, called Veronica, with a 21% stake and smaller partners.

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