An initiative of the EU MEDIA Programme with the support of the Italian Government
Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level

MEDIA Salles at Cinema Expo International 2005,
Amsterdam (NL), 27- 30 June




“A Salute to European Films”
at MEDIA Salles’ Focus on Europe at Cinema Expo International 2005
Presentation of a selection of European trailers and launch of the new initiative
“Italian Cinema Worldwide”

Amsterdam, 28 June 2005

Speech by Laura Fumagalli,
Marketing Manager of Arcadia Cinemas, Milan
and co-ordinator of the MEDIA Salles’ Work Group on Digital Cinema

It is a great honour for me to be here on behalf of MEDIA Salles, which, as part of the European Union’s MEDIA Programme and thanks to the precious support of the Italian Government, has for years been successfully engaged in promoting the presence of European films in European and world cinemas. Amongst the initiatives and projects realised by MEDIA Salles, Focus on Europe at Cinema Expo International undoubtedly holds a particularly important place.
I also bring you the good wishes of MEDIA Salles’ President, Domenico Dinoia who, although unable to be present, would like to convey a warm welcome to all of you here today, as well as his thanks to the organisers of Cinema Expo for once again giving us the opportunity of working side by side to create an event of great importance for European cinema.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I shall proceed now to introduce “A Salute to European Film”, firstly by presenting some of the most recent productions – whose trailers we shall be admiring – which have brought a breath of fresh air and renewed vigour to the European cinema market and promise to continue doing so in future months.

Some of these films have successfully crossed, or are about to cross, the borders of their native countries. Habana Blues, by Benito Zambrano, for example, a co-production by Spain, Cuba and France which, having been received with close attention in Cannes last May and having already gained over 600,000 admissions in Spain since its release on 15 March, will be going round the world in the next few months, reaching distant and very diverse markets, from Argentina to Switzerland, from Portugal to Japan.
Lemming, by the French director Dominik Moll, also competing in Cannes, deserves attention as well, and has already been bought by distributors on many important European markets, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK.
Or Manderlay, the follow-up to the “US Trilogy”, in which Lars Von Trier again sparks off discussion, due to his caustic view of the American world, and which, after its appearance in Cannes, has already been sold in more than 25 European countries, from France to Russia, Spain to the Czech Republic.

But in “A Salute to European Films”, a special role is also played by some Italian productions of particular value. Only an event as important as Cinema Expo International could possibly have hosted the début of MEDIA Salles’ most recent initiative: Italian Cinema Worldwide. Conceived along the same lines as Focus on Europe, this project will bring the most recent Italian productions to the foreground at some of the main professional meetings of exhibitors and film distributors, such as Kino Expo in Russia and CineAsia in China, thus crossing the threshold of markets that have traditionally seen the almost exclusive presence of US films.
The event will also experience a special moment here at Cinema Expo on 30 June, when the "European Producer of the Year" Award will be presented to Elda Ferri, producer of films that have brought fame and international prestige to the Italian cinema, including the most recent works by Roberto Benigni, from his great international success Life Is Beautiful to his latest, keenly awaited film, still under its working title of The Tiger and the Snow.

It is thus with great pleasure, and a touch of pride, that I shall list the titles of the films chosen to represent Italian cinema in this collection:
After Midnight, by director Davide Ferrario, which has been released internationally, reaching the screens of US and Argentina, too, and will be coming to French screens in a few days’ time;
The Life I Want, by Giuseppe Piccioni and Vento di Terra, by Vincenzo Marra, two films that have drawn attention to themselves in important international contexts: whilst the former gained acknowledgement at the Moscow International Film Festival and at the Montreal World Film Festival, the latter represented Italy at the critics’ week in Cannes;
Sacred Heart by Ferzan Ozpetek, a real hit with audiences, which earned Italian box offices, in its opening week-end, almost a million euro, and whose distribution rights have been bought by many European countries, including Russia.
Those who prefer the charm of a complete viewing to short sequences are invited tomorrow at 9.45 pm to the Auditorium RAI, where, on the big screen, we shall join in watching the European Film of the Year: Merry Christmas by the French director, Christian Carion: the fruit of a co-production involving France, Germany and the UK, this film, which will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics in the USA, will also be released towards the end of the year on numerous European markets, including Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, the UK and Italy.
And now I shall leave you to enjoy the trailers, at the end of which we shall be able to share another special moment in the company of two directors who truly deserve the gratitude of European cinema.