Italian TV shows on display at Roma

Local business eyes breakout international role

For Italian TV producers, the Rome Fiction Fest is becoming the road leading to international markets.

At least that’s the idea behind the young (it’s in its third year) but ambitious shindig’s RomaTVScreenings, launched this year in addition to the popular pitching sessions held by former Banff fest topper Pat Ferns.

For two days, July 6 and 7, some 150 programmers and broadcasting execs from all over the planet will be submerged in showreels and presentations of the latest Italian skeins — Italy’s first real effort to get its dramas to break out of national confines.

“What we’re trying to do is re-educate international broadcasters about Italian fiction, which has changed a bit in the last couple of years,” says Kass Thomas Corbelli, deputy director of the screenings. Former RAI exec Carlo Macchitella heads the screenings.

Working another networking angle, the Rome screenings will be preceded July 5 by a closed-door World Economic Forum, a meeting of the globe’s top media and entertainment execs, whose names are being kept under wraps, followed July 6 by a confab for biz heavyweights where speakers will include Endemol COO Marco Bassetti.

Italo skeins do actually travel sporadically already. For example RAI’s Sicily-set “Montalbano” crimer plays on BBC4 in Blighty; Mediaset recently sold its Mafia boss biopic “Il capo dei capi” to a slew of territories, including to MGM for Latin America. And Sky Italia has hawked its gritty “Crime Novel” to Gaul’s Canal Plus.

But until now there has been no concerted effort to promote Italian productions internationally.

“There is a lovely spirit of collaboration, which is about getting Italian fiction on the map and making Rome an international destination for the world of television,” says Thomas Corbelli.

The spirit is so strong that rival sales outfits Mediaset Distribution and RAI Trade will be throwing a party together, marking a minor miracle that may bear fruit.

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