Italian Film and TV Industry Officially Launches Innovative Rome-based Content Market

Lucia Milazzotto, former head of New Cinema Network, named new MIA mart director

Italian Film and TV Industry Officially
Luca Dammicco

ROME — The Italian film and TV industry has officially launched its innovative Rome-based market called MIA, dedicated to feature films, TV series, documentaries, and video games, which will run October 16-20 during the Rome Film Festival.

It will incorporate existing Rome Business Street market and New Cinema Network co-prod mart components, but also expand their scope, within a much more ambitious mission.

“We have to learn to have a different vision,” said Piera Detassis, president of the foundation overseeing the Rome fest and mart which are both now entering a new phase.

That vision was outlined by the Italo mart’s just-appointed new director, Lucia Milazzotto, who said the “specific goal” set out for MIA is “the internationalization of the Italian industry, especially when it comes to co-productions,” an area where for various reasons — including a lack of reciprocity when it comes to local perks — Italy lags behind European counterparts such as France and Germany.

MIA is an acronym for Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, which means International Audiovisual Market in Italian.

Milazzotto, 39, is former topper of Rome’s New Cinema Network, dedicated to indie co-productions, and also a former Locarno Film Festival collaborator.

Taking its cue from New Cinema Network, but upping the game a few notches, the plan is for Rome to now also host a high-profile co-production forum for big-budget international co-prods seeking an Italian minority co-production partner. Eight selected projects will get fast-track access to local Italian soft money, and two will see big a Italian broadcaster come on board.

Besides underscoring the “unique” aspect of MIA comprising a range of content spanning from movies to video games, Milazzo also underscored its “spectacular new location,” namely ancient Roman thermal baths, the Terme di Diocleziano (pictured), which have become a venue for meetings, networking initiatives, and tightly focussed confabs, along with the nearby Boscolo Hotel Exedra and its terrace, and the Quattro Fontane cityplex. These venues are all still in the vicinity of the Via Veneto, where Rome’s Business Street was formerly held.

Lucky Red topper Andrea Occhipinti, who heads the distributor’s unit within Italy’s motion picture association Anica, underscored that MIA picked a good timeslot — October 16-20 is a safe enough distance from AFM’s November 4-11 dates, and does not overlap with Mipcom, which runs October 5-8.

Interestingly, Occhipinti said that by fostering more co-productions the Italian industry is hoping to solve its current stumbling bloc of “a lack of variety in genres.”

In the Italian film arena these days it’s either comedies or highbrow dramas, with not much else being made, unlike when the local industry churned out spaghetti Westerns, slashers, violent crimers and exotic erotica.

“With MIA we want to fill this gap,” Occhipinti vowed.

While the Rome mart’s focus is shifting a bit more toward works-in-progress rather than finished product, MIA will also rep an opportunity for buyers to catch up on recent titles they missed in Venice and Toronto.

Milazzotto said that for MIA’s first edition she is aiming to attract a 30% rise in international execs, compared with last’s year’s Business Street, attended by around 200 buyers and 70 world sales agents. Going forward she is also hoping to “raise the bar and attract bigger players.”

That, of course, remains to be seen.

While MIA will run Oct. 16-20, the Rome fest will unspool Oct. 16-23.