Rome’s MIA Market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped Sunday after four days of dealmaking, project presentations and panels done both in person and online. Given coronavirus constraints it constituted a minor miracle.
On the final day of the Oct. 14-18 event (the acronym stands for Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, or International Audiovisual Market) organizers announced a total 1,800 industry executives from 50 countries who registered for the new concept market, 700 of which on average physically attended the Rome market each day, they said.
About one-third of participants were non-Italian. Roughly 300 international execs made the trek.
Though last year’s MIA edition gathered 2,600 physical participants, this year’s widely-expected decrease in onsite attendees was counterbalanced by intense activity on the MIA digital platform, organizers said.
MIA director Lucia Milazzotto pointed out that this year saw a significant rise in industry exec accreditations taking place during the event. This means that, as MIA got underway, it was generating buzz, she noted.
MIA was truly used as a hybrid market, Milazzotto underlined. “Lots of industry executives, even those who came to Rome, told me that they attended one pitching session physically, and then went back to their computer and logged-on for another event.”
Incidentally, the hundreds of execs who physically attended had the unique experience of being at a market inside the 17th century Palazzo Barberini, which is Italy’s National Ancient Art gallery, where company stands are set up amid Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces.
Though most MIA deals remain to be finalized, there was a flurry of announcements made during the market including Sony Pictures Television inking a U.S. remake deal for Lux Vide’s hit Italian medical drama “Doc – Nelle Tue Mani.”
Amazon chose a MIA panel to announce high-end Italian original drama “Everybody Loves Diamonds,” a heist series to be produced by Fremantle’s Rome-based Wildside unit.
The Alliance, which is a partnership between top European public broadcasters, during a panel announced a new pan-European TV series titled “Survivors,” which sees Italy’s RAI Fiction, France Télévisions, and Germany’s ZDF collaborate.
Netflix had a strong physical presence with its VP of Italian Original series Eleonora Andreatta making her first public appearance at several panels with her Netflix hat, since leaving her post as RAI drama chief in June, and Netflix director of international film Teresa Moneo making the trek from London for a panel with Italian producers.
ViacomCBS Intl. Studios senior vice president Laura Abril travelled from Spain to Rome and used MIA as a platform to announce plans to ramp up production in Southern Europe and grow the company’s investment in the Italian market.
Ties between ViacomCBS and MIA got stronger this year with ViacomCBS Intl. Studios becoming sponsors of the prize awarded by a jury of experts to the best project being pitched at the MIA Drama Pitching Forum.
The ViacomCBS Intl. Studios prize went to “Miss Fallaci Takes America,” a series about the 1958 journey to the U.S. of groundbreaking Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. The show is created by young writer/director Alessandra Gonnella, whose short “A Cup of Coffee With Marilyn” recently won Italy’s prestigious Silver Ribbon prize. Rising Italian star Miriam Leone (“1994,” “Medici”) is in advanced talks to star in the title role.
The high-profile “Fallaci Takes America” TV series is being produced by Italy’s RedString and Minerva Pictures, the expanding film production and distribution company headed by Gianluca Curti. It marks Minerva’s first foray into TV dramas.
The show’s creative producers will be Diego Loreggian and Angela Salmaso for RedString and Gianluca Curti and Cosetta Lagani for Minerva Pictures.
In the film realm, the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award worth worth €20,000 ($23,000) went to “Dalva,” a first feature by Belgium-based French writer/director Emmanuelle Nicot about a 13-year-old girl who is abruptly taken from her father’s home and placed in a foster home after it surfaces that there has been incest going on. “Dalva” is produced by Julie Esparbes of Belgium’s Hélicotronc shingle and Delphine Schmit of France’s Tripode Productions..
The ArteKino International prize worth €6,000 ($7,000) went to “Ebba” a first feature project by Norwegian director Johanna Pyykkö being produced by Verona Meier through her Oslo-based Ape&Bjørn production company.
Documentary project “Darkside, The Quest for Dark Matter Detection,” which delves into experiments to understand Dark Matter, the mysterious matter that surrounds all visible things in the universe, won the National Geographic Award for best MIA doc pitch. Doc being co-directed by Chile’s Matias Guerra and Italy’s Matteo Corbi is being produced by Italy’s VIS, which is a spinoff of Italy’s prestigious Scuola Normale di Pisa University.