House of Gucci

Italy’s reformed audiovisual tax credit will be open for applications by “the start of summer”, Lucia Borgonzoni, undersecretary of state to the ministry of culture, has told Screen.

Borgonzoni said the changes would focus the tax credit on productions that shot in Italy, with Italian talent, did not overuse AI, and were aimed at a theatrical release. 

Local and international producers have been waiting since the start of the year for the government to issue forms and guidelines for obtaining Italy’s tax credit for 2024.

The tax credit, which has a headline rate of 40%, has led to a boom in production in the country, both by homegrown filmmakers and international movies. However last year the government announced it was working on reforms to the tax creditto raise the quality level” of projects securing funding amid particular concern that many Italian films were being produced but not seen by audiences.

Lucia Borgonzoni

Source: AVP Summit

Lucia Borgonzoni

But the reforms have taken time and the delay has caused many Italian and international productions to postpone principal photography or to abandon plans to shoot in Italy altogether. In April, 21 unions joined leading figures from the Italian cinema industry to voice their concerns about challenges in accessing public funding that have brought film and high-end TV production to a standstill in the country.

Drafting complete

Borgonzoni, who is in charge of the cinema department at Italy’s ministry of culture, stressed the tax credit changes were part of a wider overhaul of Italian cinema funding, and that her ministry had finished drafting the reform.

“The decrees are all ready. They are waiting for the final okay from the ministry of finance. We are also waiting – though it is not binding – for the approval of the ministry of enterprises and made in Italy.”

She said the reforms would be completed “before summer”. 

Borgonzoni said the changes were not aimed at reducing the money available to fund the tax credit, but to “fixing some of the anomalies” of the tax credit.

She said these include ensuring that it fully applies only to money spent in Italy and to work carried out by humans rather than AI. The tax credit will also offer its more generous 40% rate to films that hire above the line Italian talent.

Italian films accessing the tax credit will also have to be released in theatres for a set period of time, following concerns that few were securing meaningful distribution. For Italian productions, the reformed tax will also cap the salaries of key talent to ensure the state is not subsidising high levels of pay; even so, the cap stands at a relatively generous €650,000 pay for a filmmaker.

Borgonzoni also said the reform of cinema funding would see the creation of a new €52m fund for film productions and series which tell Italian stories with international breadth and scope. “We want to push Italian producers to try and tell stories…about [subjects like] the Guccis or Ferraris, maybe making co-productions but where the Italians are in there.”

2023 feature Ferrari was directed by US director Michael Mann and written by Troy Kennedy Martin, while 2021’s House Of Gucci was directed by the UK’s Ridley Scott. Both starred US actor Adam Driver.

“We would like to have these stories being told with the Italian initiative and participation,” said Borgonzoni.