MIA: Italy and Cuba Forge Closer Film Industry Ties

Italy and Cuba are forging closer film industry ties through various initiatives and overtures that reflect the global entertainment industry’s growing interest in the Caribbean country following its detente with the U.S.

A Cuban delegation made the trek to Rome’s new MIA film and TV content mart for a Cuba country focus where they met Oct. 19 with top Italo industry honchos to finesse details of a co-development fund. Other initiatives include the launch of an Italian prize at the upcoming Havana Film Festival in December, and the digitalization of the fest’s main Cinemateca venue, courtesy of Italy’s culture ministry.

“Now is the time when Cuba can become an important co-production partner” said Rome Lazio Film Commission topper Luciano Sovena, who has just launched Italy’s top co-production fund.

Though Italy and Cuba have had a co-prod treaty in place for years, it’s never been used, even when Italians shot in Cuban locations, like Mediaset fantasy TV series “Fantaghiro” did in the ’90s.

The ice-breaker is expected to be Italian helmer Giovanni Veronesi’s comedy “It’s No Country for Young People,” produced by Arturo Paglia (“The Best Offer”), who is hammering out co-production details with Italian and Cuban film authorities.

Cuban film reps attending the Rome meet were Danilo Patricio Leon Alonso, head of Cuba’s national film center Icaic, and Luciano Castillo, topper of Cuba’s national film archive. Castillo pointed out that over the years Cuba has done co-prods with France, Germany and especially Spain.

U.S. producers started shooting in Cuba even before President Obama decided to restore diplomatic relations. The first American TV show entirely shot in Cuban locations is Discovery Channel’s docu-series “Cuban Chrome” (pictured), which premiered in July.

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