Europe’s top three regional film funds are joining forces in a move intended to strengthen the collective financial muscle of European co-productions.
Italy’s Roma Lazio Film Commission, France’s Ile de France and Germany’s Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg film funding organization are set to forge a formal pact to co-operate on ways to harmonize their soft money schemes to jointly attract more international mid-range pics.
“It’s an alliance to stop operating as single entities on the market,” says Nicola Zingaretti, governor of Italy’s Lazio Region, which comprises the city of Rome. “Each one of us of course acts autonomously. But we want to create synergies among the most important European regional funds, a group to which we now belong,” he added.
Zingaretti has been instrumental in tapping into European Union economic development funds to provide the Roma Lazio Film Commission with coin for its new Lazio Cinema Intl. co-production fund, which will be presented to industryites on May 15 in Cannes at 11 a.m. at the Italian pavilion in the Majestic Hotel.
Ile de France Film Commissioner Olivier-Rene Veillon and Berlin-Brandenburg managing director of film funding Kirsten Niehuus will also be on hand.
While relatively modest, at $10 million euros ($11.4 million), the Lazio Cinema Intl. Fund marks the biggest single injection of regional soft money in Italy. The fund provides grants and is designed to work nicely for international producers in tandem with the country’s competitive tax breaks. It is also expected to more than quadruple its pot going forward.
Half of the $11.4 million tranche is for feature films, while the other half is for TV productions. Documentaries can qualify, and also animated projects. Roma Lazio also has a $10.8 million fund for Italian and international productions shot in the region, and some smaller schemes for a total of 23 million euros ($26 million) per year. Two Italian pics at Cannes, Paolo Virzi’s “Like Crazy” and Marco Bellocchio’s “Sweet Dreams,” both screening in Directors’ Fortnight, tapped into the Lazio coin.