Top Italian film outfit RAI Cinema on Wednesday sounded an upbeat post-pandemic note as it unveiled a slate of 20 upcoming titles to exhibitors and press, comprising new works by prominent Italian directors such as Nanni Moretti, Gianfranco Rosi, and Susanna Nicchiarelli alongside their U.S. acquisitions — most notably Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
“Italy will be the only country in the world where this film will not be distributed by a major company,” boasted RAI’s head of distribution Luigi Lo Nigro, referring to Scorsese’s murder mystery drama set to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple is reportedly in the process of partnering on “Flower Moon” with Paramount. The Italy deal between Paramount RAI and Leone Film Group had been previously announced.
RAI Cinema chief Paolo De Brocco said he expects shooting to start soon on Scorsese’s next pic, which is based on David Grann’s eponymous non-fiction book set in 1920s Oklahoma, where the newly created Bureau of Investigation began investigating a string of murders of wealthy Osage Indians.
Meanwhile, RAI Cinema’s other U.S. titles comprise DreamWorks chiller “The Turning,” which its 01 Distribution arm will release in Italy on Aug. 11, and Russel Crowe-starrer “Unhinged” set to go out in Italian cinemas on Sept. 24.
At a digitally held press conference, Del Brocco underlined that he and his team have been working incessantly during lockdown, and that RAI’s productions have already started up again in Italy where cameras started rolling yesterday on thriller “Con Le Mie Mani,” directed by Fabio Resinaro.
“We are coming out of a sad and tough period for our country and our sector,” Del Brocco said, noting that RAI Cinema is the first Italian outfit back “on the market.”
Clearly addressing Italian exhibitors, Del Brocco noted that “movie theaters remain central” to RAI Cinema’s business model. Lonigro said that since Italian movie theaters opened on June 15 they are now averaging 3,000 admissions a day and that he is confident things will pick up by September, when they have slated three releases.
Related to this, Del Brocco and Lonigro both said RAI Cinema expects to have a strong presence at the upcoming Venice Film Festival in September. However, auteur Nanni Moretti’s “Three Floors” will not be launching at Venice. Instead, the hotly anticipated drama, which prior to the pandemic was headed for Cannes, will be released by RAI in the Spring of 2021 and is expected to launch either from Berlin or Cannes 2021.
RAI Cinema titles expected to have landed Venice slots are “Notturno,” a documentary shot across the Middle East by Gianfranco Rosi, who won Berlin’s Golden Bear in 2016 for his migration doc “Fire at Sea,” and the Venice Golden Lion before that for “Sacro GRA,” and Susanna Nicchiarelli’s English-language biopic “Miss Marx,” starring Golden Globe nominee Romola Garai (“The Hour”) as Karl Marx’s younger daughter Eleanor, one the first women to approach the themes of feminism.
Daniele Luchetti’s “The Ties,” a marriage crisis drama set in Naples and Rome, with a cast comprising Alba Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) and Luigi Lo Cascio (“The Traitor”), which 01 Distribution will release in Italy in October, is also deemed likely to have secured a Venice berth.
“Venice will be a fundamental restart moment for our industry, but also internationally,” Del Brocco told Variety, noting that he thinks it will also send “a very important signal that if people are seeing movies there, then it’s okay to go to the movies.”
Other fresh RAI Cinema titles with international potential include “Freaks Out,” a new genre-bender by Gabriele Mainetti (“They Call Me Jeeg”) set in 1943 Rome about four curiosity acts who work in a circus and are left to their own devices when the Eternal City is bombed by Allied Forces, and “The Land of Dreams,” an English-language movie musical set in 1920s New York, starring British actor George Blagden, who played Louis XIV in period drama “Versailles.”