The Italian government could soon overhaul the much-criticised way films are currently selected for state funding, and base its selection process on a picture's potential exportability rather than just its "national cultural interest."
At a conference held in Rome on the sidelines of the EFA film awards, Gianni Profita, the newly-appointed head of Italy's State Film Department, said that a "proposal had been made to the state's film commission for a film's international sales prospects to be taken into consideration" when selecting films for state funding.
The state's film department currently awards around Euros 50m each year to films that it judges to be of "national cultural interest." The system has repeatedly come under fire for mainly supporting films that go on to flop at the local box office and have almost no overseas sales prospects. At the same time, commercially-oriented films have often notoriously been rejected for state funding.
A change in the selection process would be widely welcomed by producers and the Italian film exporters union, UNEFA, whose head, Roberto Di Girolamo, has been lobbying the government for new funding regulations for the last two years.
Similarly, in order to increase producers' incentive to make more commercial films, the local industry has also said it would support a move to reduce maximum state funding to 50% of the film's total budget. Currently, the government will fund up to 90% of a film's cost, which, critics say, gives producers and filmmakers little incentive to make commercially-viable projects that can attract private financing.
In the meantime, Italian and international producers also called for greater transparency in the Italian film industry. "France's Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC) sends the local industry information on exactly how each French film was financed. In Italy, no one knows for what amount their colleague in the room next door sold free or pay-TV rights. We need elementary transparency," said Angelo Barbagallo, president of Italian Producers Association, API.