Sardinia Film Festival Aims to Boost Summer Cinema Attendance in Italy

For decades, Italy’s box office has suffered the summertime blues due to a scarcity of blockbusters from the Hollywood studios, which noted that Italian audiences were more interested in going to the beach than a movie theater. However, that is changing.

The Filming Italy Sardegna Festival, which runs June 13-16 and is Italy’s single start of summer event, is perfectly positioned to become a prime driver for this crucial seasonal push.

“I’ve been saying for years that summer festivals should promote summer releases,” says Tiziana Rocca, who launched the fest on the island of Sardinia in Italy last year.

Italy’s push for summer releases is the result of a joint effort between the studios and all sectors of Italy’s film industry, largely prompted by the government that recently got all sides to sit at the table and agree to remove this anomaly that was causing a glut of titles the rest of the year.

Alarm bells rang after Italy’s admissions in 2018 dropped to just shy of 86 million, the lowest in a decade.
The initiative by local motion picture association Anica, which comprises reps from the Hollywood majors, as well as Italy’s distributors, producers and exhibitors is called Moviement. It is championed by the country’s Culture Ministry Undersecretary Lucia Borgonzoni, who has allocated funds for a campaign to promote summer titles and incentives for theaters that show them.

“I hope this effort will last for three years,” says Rocca, “because times have changed and I think younger audiences will respond very positively.”

While in 2018 Italy only had four Hollywood titles on offer during the summer, in 2019 the country will be getting at least 10 big summer studio titles released day-and-date with the rest of the world. This, in turn, is prompting Italian indie distributors to also take the summer plunge and they will be in Sardinia in full force.

Case in point is the fest’s opener, Brian De Palma’s political thriller “Domino,” toplining Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice van Houten, which was partly shot in Sardinia and is being launched there by Eagle Pictures. Eva Longoria will host the opening-night ceremony.

Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron comedy “Long Shot” and Felix Van Groeningen’s “Beautiful Boy” will be launched in Sardinia and then released in Italy via 01 Distribution, as will Mandie Fletcher-directed “Patrick” and Johnnie Depp-starrer “The Professor” via Notorious Pictures.

BIM Distribuzione will be promoting Pablo Trapero’s “The Quietude,” starring Berenice Bejo and Martina Gusman. The film had its world premiere at Venice last year.

Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films will locally premiere John Travolta and Morgan Freeman starrer “The Poison Rose,” which does not yet have Italian distribution.

Adding some arthouse gravitas, a selection of five titles at the fest chosen by Variety critics will include Ethiopian auteur Aalam-Warqe Davidian’s tragic love story “Fig Tree,” South-African first-timer Jenna Bass’ Western “Flatland” and Chilean directors Ivan Osnovikoff and Bettina Perut’s crowpleasing doc “Los Reyes,” a portrait of stray dogs and skateboarders at the oldest skate park in Santiago. The film focuses more on the dogs than the skateboarders.

The Sardinia festival this year has tripled its venues in the capital city of Cagliari and a nearby resort that now include a 1,000- seat outdoor arena. All screenings are free of charge.

More Film

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content