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Cinecitta embarks on reforms to raise coin

Italo helmers to take pole position at Rome studios

ROME — As Cinecitta celebrates its 70th anniversary, key changes are underway at the Rome studios which are currently struggling to attract foreign productions.

The mammoth partly privatized structure, that includes state film entity Istituto Luce, is reconfiguring Luce’s mission, exiting the exhibition sector and entering the market as a rights trader.

Istituto Luce will stop co-producing films by established Euro helmers such as Michael Radford’s “The Merchant of Venice” adaptation or, more recently, Billie August’s “Goodbye Bafana.”

Instead the focus will be on first and second works, mostly by Italo helmers.

As a cost-cutting measure, the studios holding company has decided to sell off Cinecitta’s debt-ridden multiplex side comprised of nine hardtops in various Italian regions.

Cinecitta is also looking to raise coin by attending markets like Cannes, Rome and AFM as a rights trader of a vast archive that includes ten Roberto Rossellini classic titles.

As for the studios themselves, while they are turning a small profit – under $1 million – prexy Luigi Abete said he is lobbying for tax breaks to make them more competitive.

The last Hollywood production to shoot on the Cinecitta backlot was HBO’s “Rome” skein which shut down last year, after completing its second series, reportedly due to steep costs.

The studios, founded by Benito Mussolini in 1937 will be holding several celebrative events throughout the year to mark its 70th anniversary.

The Cinecitta novelties and celebrations were announced Thursday at a packed presser on the lot, attended by Culture Czar Francesco Rutelli, who vowed to push through an eagerly awaited new Italo tax law – said to include taxbreaks – “by the summer.”

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