This article originally appeared in
October 12, 2007

Italy offers versatile location, strong


ROME --Italy's history as a filming location goes back to 1895, just a few
months after the creation of the first motion picture camera, when inventor
and film pioneer W.K. Dickson recorded a few moments of Pope Leo XIII
celebrating mass at the Vatican.

Afterward, the pontiff blessed the new-fangled camera and predicted a bright
future for the technology that he said would intrigue the locals.

Turns out he was on to something. The years since have produced one of
the world's richest cinema traditions, and Italy still serves as the site of
dozens of international films per year.

Directors never seem to grow tired of the country's scenery, whether it's the
canals of Venice or the rolling vineyards of Tuscany, the Roman ruins of the
Italian capital or the stately castles and villas of the country's north. Italy also
boasts a who's who of legendary auteurs that includes such luminaries as
Vittorio DeSica, Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini
and Federico Fellini, as well as the immeasurable experience of venerable
film studios like Rome's Cinecitta, and now millions in regional and national
incentives for films shot on the boot-shaped peninsula.

"The strength of Italy is her history," says Daniel Segre, production manager
at the Turin-Piedmont Film Commission, one of the country's best-known
film boards. "The country is capable of offering unique locations and a great
capacity for filmmaking."

Piedmont is one of at least a dozen Italian regions with a film commission
that offers tax incentives and reimbursements for some of the costs
associated with filming in the region, along with help in scouting locations
and negotiating local contracts. The biggest such fund is set to be the
national one, as Italy's 2008 budget will include funds that will reimburse up
to 40% of the cost of shooting a film in Italy, maxing out at €1 million ($1.4
million) per project.

It is difficult to discuss the topic of filmmaking in Italy without mentioning
Cinecitta, which is responsible for around 80 productions a year. The storied
studios that brought the world classic epics like 1959's "Ben-Hur" and
1963's "Cleopatra," and more modern productions such as 2002's "Gangs
of New York" and 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," is celebrating its 70th
anniversary this year.

But the massive studio complex just outside Rome is not resting on its
laurels. Recent years have seen it expand from its original location to
include two more elsewhere in Italy and a third in Morocco. All told, Cinecitta
now operates 30 soundstages and five backlots -- making it Europe's
largest film studio -- and a complete postproduction lab.

"From start to finish, Cinecitta can do almost anything a filmmaker needs us
to do," says Lamberto Mancini, the studio's general manager. "We have
become a true one-stop shop."
(c) 2007 The Hollywood Reporter
All rights reserved.
Volume 77; Number 9
Volume 77; Number 9
"The Passion of the Christ"
October 28, 2007
RomaCinemaFest ends
strong; Popular 'Juno' wins
Best Film

October 27, 2007
'Juno' takes home top prize
at RomaCinemaFest

'Canvas,' 'Pride' earn Rome
fest's Alice nods

October 26, 2007
Top prize still up for grabs at
Rome fest

October 25, 2007
'Haifa' earns New Cinema's
Italian nod

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'Lambs' stars in like lions at
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for young talent

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Depardieu imposter fools
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RomaCinemaFest gets
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Fellini script 'Viaggio' on
new voyage

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Rome Fest dressed up in
second outing

Rome Fest dressed up in
second outing

October 12, 2007
RomaCinemaFest sets
sophomore bar higher

Fest success good news for
the last paparazzo

Film spotlight: "Youth
Without Youth"

Italy offers versatile
location, strong incentives

'Business Street' initiative a
high-end venue

RomaCinemaFest owes debt
to Auditorium

September 28, 2007
Rome Fest's love affair with
Hollywood continues