The curtain raised on the 4th edition of Rome’s MIA Market Thursday night with an eye-popping opening ceremony, featuring a lavish, state-of-the-art, surround-sound live show dramatizing Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel while offering a glimpse of the growing market’s sky-high ambitions.
A full house packed into the Auditorium della Conciliazione, just steps from St. Peter’s Basilica, for a performance of “Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel,” a $10 million high-tech spectacle produced by Marco Balich, who’s devised opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Rio, Sochi, and Turin.
With a theme composed by Sting and starring A-list Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino (“World War Z,” “Angels & Demons”), along with a voice performance by Susan Sarandon, the immersive show featured dancers, acrobats, 4K projections onto giant ceiling screens, and floor-shaking 9.1 surround sound.
MIA director Lucia Milazzotto opened this year’s post-Mipcom, pre-AFM confab by expressing her hopes that guests will “enjoy a different kind of market” that brings together players in government and industry at a time of rapid change in the audiovisual sector.
She introduced the performance of “Universal Judgment” by highlighting how, like the market itself, it would showcase the long-running ties between “art, culture and Rome.”
Launched in 2015 as a reboot of the Rome Film Festival’s Business Street market, MIA (Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, or International Audiovisual Market) has grown in four short years into a formidable event, featuring a strong lineup of predominantly Italian and European film, TV and documentary projects, including high-end recently finished product and a curated selection of works-in-progress.
This year’s confab is expected to draw close to 2,000 guests, with a roster of top players scheduled to attend including former HBO exec Michael Ellenberg, now chief of Media Res, which is producing Apple’s upcoming untitled morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon; Anonymous Content chief Paul Green, who gave a keynote speech; and former Sky Italia programming chief Andrea Scrosati, recently appointed COO of Fremantle.
The mart is backed by Italy’s motion picture association, Anica, and TV producers’ org APT, signaling the intent of local industry bodies to turn the host country into a major player on the global stage.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, producer Francesca Cima, of Indigo Film, announced the signing of a new Italian minority co-production fund earlier in the day. It was one of the growing indications, she said, that Italy “can and wants to play an important role in the international market.”
MIA runs from Oct. 17-21.
MIA Market director Lucia Milazzotto with Oscar-winning director Bryan Fogel (Photo: Alessandro Massimiliani/MIA)
Actor Vinicio Marchioni, who is shooting TV series ‘1994’ (Photo: Alessandro Massimiliani/MIA)
Producer Nicola De Angelis of Fabula Pictures and actor Federigo Ceci with Lucia Milazzotto, MIA Market director (Photo: Alessandro Massimiliani/MIA)