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Italy’s Videa Studios, Where ‘Cinema Paradiso’ Was Shot, Opens To International Productions

Italy’s Videa Studios, the facilities near Rome founded in the 1960’s by producer Franco Cristaldi where Italian cinema classics by Luchino Visconti, Francesco Rosi and also Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso” were shot, are looking to lure international productions by offering production services plus potential co-production partnerships to indie pictures that could be released in Italy via their Videa distribution side.

Among other titles that Videa will be releasing in Italy are Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic “The Program.”

Videa is owned by Italian TV producer and film distributor Sandro Parenzo.

“Besides owning these studios, we are a distribution company,” says Videa executive Angelica Canevari. “The idea of opening the market to international production stems more from us as film distributors than from our owning the studios,” she added.

That is not to say that they are not open to other ways of doing business. The studios currently host several Italian TV shows.

Videa Studios’ move to expand activities internationally is also prompted by Italy’s generous tax credits which offer a 25% cash back deduction with no per project cap to both film and TV productions. While Rome’s larger Cinecittà facilities are attracting Hollywood blockbusters such as Paramount’s “Ben Hur,” they are seeking to service smaller-scale shoots instead.

The facilities are situated within the Veio forest preserve outside Rome, comprising a 148-acre backlot with six studios and annexed services including state-of-the-art make-up rooms, a costume shop, an equipment department, and what they claim is a top notch set design unit. The studios’ in-house line producer is Stefano Spadoni, whose credits include “U-571,” “Hannibal,” and “Body Of Lies.” They also provide services to external Italian locations.

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