Rome’s MIA Market for TV series, feature films, documentaries and factual content wrapped a watershed 7th edition on Sunday, having boosted its standing on the global calendar as a prominent emerging industry hub in Europe.
In a significant indicator of the Eternal City’s Oct. 13-17 event’s restart relevance MIA (the acronym stands for Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, or International Audiovisual Market), organizers on the final day announced a total of 2,000 industry executives from 56 countries, all of whom attended the new-concept market in-person, while there were only 46 online attendees, mostly from Asia and Latin America due to coronavirus constraints that impeded travel to Italy from those countries.
While the Oct. 11-14 Mipcom market in Cannes suffered a reduced presence – and the AFM this year has gone entirely online – MIA reaped the benefits of being conceived more congenially to how the global content industry is evolving because it offered a wide range of product, plenty of which in early stages.
The robust international presence at MIA comprised more than 600 executives, with many top players; an increasing number of whom flew in from the U.S.
Among these was AGC Studios chief Stuart Ford, who in an onstage conversation talked about the pros and cons of streaming platforms, one potential downside being the risk of a “creeping diluting effect on quality” due to a lack of direct “audience accountability.” And also Matt Brodie and Jonathan Kier, who have just announced their new shingle Upgrade Productions, backed by Germany’s Constantin Film; Avengers franchise director Jo Russo; Anonymous Content president of television David Levine; HBO Max senior VP of international originals Jeniffer Kim; and BRON Studios president of television David Davoli, to name a few.
The Rome market set up by MIA director Lucia Milazzotto and her team with government support to help drive Italy’s increasingly internationally-minded content production industry, was also attended on the closing day by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who thanked organizers for their work “in support of the audiovisual industry,” and the Italian economy at large, a clear signal that film and TV production are considered important for the country’s post-pandemic economy.
“Cinemas have been shuttered for almost two years in most of Europe, and there has been a lot of talk about that,” Milazzotto said at the closing ceremony. “And then there are some facts: one is that we had 150 [market] screenings here,” she added, boasting that “MIA is becoming a hub for European cinema, which is vibrant and definitely alive.”
That said, the bigger announcements during MIA concerned the TV side, with ViacomCBS International Studios trumpeting “Miss Fallaci Takes America,” their first Italian original series for Paramount Plus that will portray iconic Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci’s early years in Hollywood before she became a legendary war correspondent, and Comcast-owned Sky Studios unveiling high-end immigration-themed thriller series “Europa,” to be directed by Germany’s Oliver Hirschbiegel, who helmed the Oscar-nominated “Downfall,” and also an Italian adaptation of French hit series “Call My Agent.”
The winners of this year’s ViacomCBS Intl. Studios prize awarded by a jury of experts to the best project being pitched at the MIA Drama Pitching Forum were, in a tie, “Fireworks,” a coming-of-age series depicting the struggle of Italy’s partisans against Nazis and Fascists through the point of view of kids to be directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico, 1988”), and produced by Fandango and Matrioska; and “Gold War,” a Bulgarian sports drama set during the Cold War, when hundred of athletes were subjected to all kinds of pressure to show the Soviet bloc’s supremacy, created by Teodora Markova, Georgi Ivanov and Nevena Kertova, the trio known for hit crime series “Undercover,” and produced by the prominent Sofia-based Agitprop shingle.
A special mention went to dark comedy show “Coverdale,” set in an exclusive English prep school, created by Paula Vaccaro and Aaron Brookner of Pinball London.
Documentary project “Odyssey: Behind the Myth,” by Massimo Brega and Camilla Tartaglione, and produced by Kepach Production, won the National Geographic Award for best MIA doc pitch.