MIA: Sales Emerge As New Rome Mart Wraps On Positive Note

ROME – Sales are emerging out of the Rome Film Festival’s new Mia mart in one of several indications of its effectiveness as an Italian industry driver and also of its potential role as a major Fall meet for international film, TV, and video games execs.

The first deals being announced come from Italian companies, the top one being from True Colours the new sales oufit just launched by Indigo Film and Lucky Red, which closed all Latin American territories on Toni Servillo-starrer “The Confessions,” a meditation on power as perceived by the mind of a monk, directed by Robert Andò. It’s a hot Italo title, now in post. True Colours exec Catia Rossi closed deals with Mares Filmes for Brazil and Argentina’s CDI Films, which took the rest of the region.

True Colours also sold Maria Sole Tognazzi’s lesbian romcom “Me Myself and Her” to Pro-Fun Media for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Italo pubcaster Rai’s sales arm Rai Com instead did brisk biz on Italy’s foreign Oscar candidate “Don’t Be Bad,” a Pasolini-esque look at contempo low life on Rome’s outskirts, directed by Claudio Caligari, which went to Palace Films for Australia and  First Distributors for Hong Kong.

Several other Rai Com deals inked at Mia include Francesco Munzi’s potent mob drama “Black Souls” going to Japan’s Only Hearts and Gianni Zanasi’s economic crisis drama “The Complexity of Happiness” selling to Taiwan (Joing), Hong Kong (First Distributors), and the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Film Europe).

On the TV side, U.S. satcaster MHz Networks Rai Com reupped Rai Com for a package that includes two new installments of hit skein “Inspector Montalbano.”

Ouside Italy, Paris-based MK2, which is France’s leading arthouse exhibitor and international sales company, sold Stephane Brize’s upcoming “Une Vie” (A Woman’s Life), an adaptation of Guy de Maupasant’s classic novel, to South Korea’s Green Narae Media.

Consensus was positive from most of the more than 1300 execs – more than half of which non-Italian – in attendance. In just a few months Mia organizers managed to recruit more than 300 buyers, 50 commissioning editors from TV networks, and 118 international sales agents, by their count, to this innovative unstructured mart, partly held in the Eternal City’s ancient Diocletian thermal baths. Significantly, companies tended to be represented by their top execs, suggesting there is indeed demand in the changing global audiovisual arena for another major European content market between Cannes and Berlin, albeit with a different format.

“Mia has been a good market with attendance, business and good hosting,” said Francois Yon, a founding partner of France’s Films Distribution, which sells Nanni Moretti’s “My Mother” internationally.

“For about twenty years there has been a desire within the [Italian] industry to make up for what we had lost by dismantling Mifed,” said Riccardo Tozzi prexy of Italy’s motion picture association Anica, and topper of prominent film and TV shingle Cattleya. Tozzi also noted that one of the reasons for Mifed’s demise was its drab outtaded digs in Milan’s now demolished Fiera di Milano. On that score, the combination of the five-star Boscolo Exedra Hotel and Rome’s nearby Diocletian Baths, built in 306 A.D., makes for a markedly more enticing setting.

Being part of a festival can also be a plus, though Mia’s integration with the Rome fest, which this year had only five world premiers, is an area with room for improvement.

“We are just at the beginning of an important journey which I hope will see Mia play an active part in the growth and internationalization of our industry,” said Mia topper Lucia Milazzotto, who rightly underscored that her new format mart dedicated to feature films, TV series, documentaries and video games, which aims to pick up where Mifed left off, will now benefit from upbeat word-of-mouth.

Mia, which ran October 16-20, is an acronym for Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, which means International Audiovisual Market, in Italian.

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