At 70, Cinecitta revamps

Key changes underway at Rome studio

ROME — As Cinecitta celebrates its 70th anniversary, key changes are under way at the Rome studio that is 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” or Bille August’s “Goodbye Bafana.”

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

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

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

As for the studios themselves, while they are turning a small profit — under $1 million per year — 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,” which shut down last year after completing its second series, reportedly due to steep costs.

Cinecitta 70th anni celebrations were announced last week at a press conference 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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