×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Italian Commissions Offer Big Incentives for TV Productions

Italian TV is traveling around the world as never before, and giving audiences a deep dive into the country’s locations. They range from storied cities such as Rome, Venice, Naples and Milan to classic countryside backdrops, including Tuscany and Umbria. There is also the southern sensuality found in Apulia and Sicily, and, of course, the Mediterranean coastline and the Alps.

Almost all of which are making their way into long-form narratives of different scopes.

Stefania Ippoliti, who heads the Tuscany Film Commission and concurrently presides over umbrella group Italian Film Commissions, says the org’s 17 member regions have joined forces “to make our services more homogenous, even in terms of [streamlining] applications.”

Besides on-the-ground assistance, Italy’s film commissions also manage local funds of different types and sizes that offer up roughly €60 million ($66 million) a year in soft money on top of Italy’s 30% cash-back tax credit with a $22 million cap.

“The great thing is that we have that very Italian quality of being able to come up with tailored solutions,” Ippoliti says.

Global content producers are starting to take notice, and all Italian broadcasters are now thinking internationally, including Mediaset, which had until recently remained more insular since it runs a generalist network and, being private, keeps its economic bottom line firmly in mind. Mediaset recently expanded its largely local mindset by joining forces with Amazon Prime Video on “Made in Italy,” about Milan’s rise as a global fashion capital from the 1970s onward.

Pubcaster RAI, which is Mediaset’s main generalist rival, is keenly aware of the importance of showing off the country’s many different facets.

“RAI Fiction’s basic storytelling philosophy is centered around the idea of narrating Italy and the diversity of the country’s territory,” says the pubcaster’s head of drama Eleonora Andreatta. “Not just as backdrops, but as the pervading sprit from which these stories spring forth.”

Case in point is Elena Ferrante adaptation “My Brilliant Friend,” the second season of which, titled “The Story of a New Name,” has been shooting near Naples, the bustling port city with which the novel is inextricably tied.

Ever since “Gomorrah,” which is a Sky Italia original, Naples has become a major production hub. Interestingly, in the TV sphere, the country’s more rural, underdeveloped south stands at the forefront, ahead of the more industrial north.

“My Brilliant Friend” marks a “crowning achievement” for RAI, says Andreatta, because it not only pairs the big European pubcaster with HBO but is also the first HBO series without English dialogue. It’s actually not even in even in Italian, but rather in 1950s Neapolitan dialect.

Andreatta cites two other shows as milestones: “Medici” and “The Name of the Rose,” which she says have marked a turning point in the pubcaster’s quest to become more international.

“They display strong national identity; were produced and shot in Italy, and leverage our homeland using Italian talent in front of and behind the camera,” she says.

“Medici,” which is billed as a Netflix original in the U.S., and “Rose” also make major use of non-Italian talents. The saga about the Renaissance rulers was conceived and shepherded by U.S. showrunner Frank Spotnitz and starred Dustin Hoffman, Richard Madden and Daniel Sharman. “Rose” was directed by Italy’s Giacomo Battiato, but starred John Turturro as William Baskerville, the Franciscan monk investigating a series of mysterious murders in a 14th-century Italian monastery.

Next up for RAI and production company Lux Vide, which originated the “Medici” saga, is “Leonardo,” a co-production between RAI and its fellow pubcasters France Télevision and Germany’s ZDF, that will soon start shooting in Tuscany and in Northern Italy and will portray the Renaissance genius in new ways, including as a gay outsider, also with Spotnitz as showrunner.

More TV

  • Joseph Mawle

    'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Casts 'Game of Thrones' Alum Joseph Mawle

    Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series has cast Joseph Mawle in a main role, Variety has confirmed with sources. Mawle joins previously announced cast members Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh. Official details of Mawle’s characters are being kept under wraps, but sources say he will play a villain named Oren. Amazon declined to comment. Reps [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins

    TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra and the Princess of Power'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” Season 4 adds Jacob Tobia, and The Weather Channel announces the premiere date for its climate change special with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.  CASTING Jacob Tobia has joined Netflix‘s “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” Voicing Double Trouble, Tobia joins Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5

    TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5 Million Viewers

    Who will watch the Watchmen? Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night. For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the [...]

  • Variety Sundance Portrait Studio

    Melanie Lynskey Joins Showtime Pilot 'Yellowjackets' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Melanie Lynskey has been cast in one of the main roles of the Showtime ensemble drama pilot “Yellowjackets,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project tells the story of a team of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Boosting Efforts in Project Development Amid Agency Standoff

    The Writers Guild of America, locked in a six-month standoff with major talent agencies, has announced that it’s boosting efforts at gathering TV, streaming and film project development data to help members find new employment opportunities. The WGA made the disclosure in a message to members on Monday. The guild directed its 15,000 members to fire [...]

  • Amy Poehler Jessica Goldberg

    Amy Poehler, Jessica Goldberg Team for 'The Mother-in-Law' Put Pilot at NBC

    Jessica Goldberg is set to write a drama with a put pilot order at NBC that Amy Poehler will executive produce. The project is titled “The Mother-in-Law,” based on the novel of the same name by Sally Hepworth. It is described as a thriller centered around a woman’s complicated relationship with her husband’s family that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content