Istituto Luce announces new slate

Plan includes 20 works a year, 2 commercial prod'ns

ROME — Italo state film producer-distributor Istituto Luce unveiled a ramped up slate Tuesday

Prexy Andrea Piersanti and CEO Luciano Sovena, who joined Istituto Luce’s board in January, plan to pump out 20 works per year including co-productions involving European partners, notably the British Film Council.

They also plan to take on two major commercial productions per year involving Hollywood stars and important directors.

And they are turning to local talent and Istituto Luce’s vast archive to produce documentaries on Italian culture and educational mini-documentaries.

”The expansions and changes are difficult”, Piersanti said. When he took over, 85% of the year’s budget was already tied up forcing him to raise private funding to get the new projects off the ground.

The first documentaries planned are art docus with a cultural bent, like ”Michelangelo On Michelangelo” set to begin shooting late this year.

Iconic helmer Michelangelo Antonioni will follow the restoration of one or more works by the Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo. Lottomatica for the Italian Culture Ministry sponsors the restoration.

Twenty 30-minute docus will focus on the history of religion, starting with Catholicism.

Giuliano Andreotti will narrate a docu on the history of Italian cinema.

Istituto Luce is in talks to launch a History Channel and a Cinecitta’ Channel (together with Cinecitta’ Holding, Cinecitta’ Studios and Cinecitta’ Entertainment), dedicated to movie industry news on Rupert Murdoch-backed paybox Sky Italia, which is not yet on air.

With an eye to increase film production, Istituto Luce will increase their Italo distrib arm taking on films from known and tyro directors.

Sovena said that the Istituto Luce is in talks to get a series of co-productions with European partners off the ground in which Luce will start with a minority stake (20%).

These will be bigger production art house films, such as a feature based on Italo painter Modigliani.

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