Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007 - Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

International Edition No. 180 - year 16 - 3 May 2021

  Special issue on the occasion of the Giornate Professionali di Cinema RELOAD
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Dear Readers,

Paolo Protti we are facing a difficult new start, which requires changes to be made.

Since the start of 2020, Covid-19 has brought with it decidedly negative results for the cinema sector worldwide, in particular for movie theatres.

Some European markets, however, are offering indications and inspiration that may also prove useful for facing the future: more space and more visibility for local and domestic productions and for added content. Italy, for example, has seen its products achieve better market penetration. Now in May 2021, in practice theatres are only operating again in very few countries and we do not, therefore, have any particular new indications, though everything would seem to confirm that the trend will be the same for 2021.

Yet, there is no doubt that the scenario has changed and thus what we have before us is a transition period in which the rules of the cinema market will change substantially. The pandemic closed movie theatres and opened up a fast track for digital platforms, where a great many films came out without waiting for theatrical release. Apart from our commercial issues, over these many months there has clearly been a strong need to provide products for consumers shut up in their own homes.

I believe nothing will be the same again. As an Italian I am seriously concerned by the latest ministerial decree, which shortens the window between theatrical release and digital platforms to 30 days for 2021, just as we have to tackle all the difficulties of re-opening with the pandemic still going on, as well as the burden of obligations to contain health risks. The windows, which have in practice been modified over the 15 months of the pandemic, have already substantially modified our habits. Moreover, a growing number of products are missing out on the path of theatrical release to fuel the "war" of the platforms - Netflix or Disney+ or Amazon Prime.

Movie theatres must inevitably find new points of balance. I am convinced that the experience of the big screen will remain an anchor for the valorisation of films and that without it a fundamental driving force would be lost for maintaining the "seventh art" at the same level. But relations between exhibitors and distributors must change, both on commercial, economic ground and on that of modes of programming and promotion. The old rules of business no longer make sense and as exhibitors we shall have to commit to becoming in even closer harmony with our spectators.

Paolo Protti
President of MEDIA Salles

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Italian films and added content crossing borders
by Elisabetta Brunella

If we had to quote a title to represent Italian cinema in European theatres in 2020, the choice would have to be "Il Traditore" / "The Traitor". After its presentation at Cannes in 2019 and immediate distribution in Italy, Bellocchio's film, co-produced with France, Germany and Brazil, started to reach several international markets that year, continuing its journey in the following one.

And so, in 2020, this drama, which brings onto the big screen the true story of the boss who broke the Mafia, won first place amongst the Italian films viewed in the Netherlands and also in Austria, and - with regard to other German-language territories - third place in Switzerland and Germany. In the United Kingdom, instead, it came in sixth place In the Baltic countries, it was placed third in Estonia and sixth in Latvia, whilst in other countries in Central-Eastern Europe we find it second in Romania and Slovenia, third in the Slovak Republic, fourth in Poland, sixth in the Czech Republic, eighth in Hungary. It also obtained good - or even excellent - positions in the Balkans, where it came second in Montenegro, third in Greece, fourth in Bulgaria and sixth in Serbia.

The affirmation of "Il Traditore" is based on tried and tested success factors, which range from the ability and fame of the director up to the appeal of the Mafia theme, not forgetting the co-production formula. But which other titles appear in the top ten Italian films abroad, often in the company of this internationally popular work? From this perspective the scenario is quite varied. If in the Swiss Confederation we find a comedy with broad appeal, like "Tolo Tolo", in Germany the co-production "J'accuse" / "An Officer and a Spy" reaped success, also making its mark in Greece, Estonia and Latvia, Bulgaria and Poland. But comedy, which is often considered a genre unsuited for export, also appears in Austria, where "Croce e delizia" / "An Almost Ordinary Summer" came in second place, followed by the Italo-Austrian co-production "Abbi fede" / "Have faith". Amongst the titles that appear most often, "Martin Eden" and "Made in Italy" stand out. The film freely inspired by Jack London's novel but set in Naples instead of Oakland, was particularly appreciated in Spain (second place), Montenegro, Romania and Serbia (third), Estonia (fifth), Slovenia, Hungary and the Netherlands (seventh). The co-production directed by James D'Arcy and shot in Tuscany, whose soundtrack includes the voices of heroes like Modugno, Pavarotti, Bocelli and Mina, heads the Bel Paese's charts in the Slovak Republic, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Latvia and Estonia. Of course "Pinocchio" is not absent from the scene, winning top place in the charts in the United Kingdom, as in Norway, Spain, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro. It comes in second place in the Slovak Republic, Switzerland and Russia, and third in Slovenia and Turkey, fifth in Greece.

Then there are the rather special cases of "Leo da Vinci - Missione Monna Lisa", the animated film for young people which came in first place in Bulgaria, continuing a series of successes lasting since 2018, or "Un'avventura" / "Forever you", the interesting film in which Marco Danieli breathes new life into the genre of the musical, starting out from Lucio Battisti's repertory, and wins second place in Hungary. Moreover, there is no lack of countries where the top slots see works that have created cinema history and have been relaunched in restored 4K versions, such as "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" / "Cinema Paradiso" in first place in Finland, second in Norway and fourth in the United Kingdom, or "La Dolce Vita", in second place in Latvia and in the United Kingdom, sixth in the Netherlands.

Lastly, how could we fail to emphasise yet again the great contribution that added content has made and continues to make to Italy's cultural prestige worldwide? Just a few examples: in the realm of classical painting, "Io, Leonardo" is second in Bulgaria, fourth in Latvia and ninth in Portugal, "Tintoretto: un ribelle a Venezia" is fifth in the United Kingdom and sixth in Spain, "Michelangelo infinito" sixth in Bulgaria, whilst in the realm of contemporary art, "Walking on Water", which brings Christo's installation on Lake d'Iseo to the whole world, comes fifth in Bulgaria, sixth in the Slovak Republic and eighth in the Czech Republic.

Considerable success has been achieved by the most recent productions dedicated to Modigliani - "Maledetto Modigliani" / "Maverick Modigliani" which is third in Finland and tenth in the Czech Republic as in Hungary - and to Fellini: "Fellini degli Spiriti" / "Fellini of the Spirits" which comes seventh in Austria and twelfth in Hungary.

And why not mention that new offers of the evergreens of Italian cinema history, as well as added content - in particular art films - are playing a crucial role in guaranteeing regular and continuous programming for those who, everywhere in the world, love Italy and its artistic expression?

This article was published in the Giornate Professionali special issue of Cinema & Video Int'l, the MEDIA Salles media partner.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


Elisa Flaminia Inno
author, director and producer of documentaries

Return to the Future

Elisa Flaminio InnoI was born into digital cinema. During the years of my training I was totally fascinated by the study of documentaries: how the digital revolution of the ‘Nineties had allowed new production practices to come about and a new way of conceiving languages.
Reality cinema is the star of this revolution, released from the ballast of the production process necessary for film reels and put into the hands of the authors, who can manage their creation independently.
This new panorama in constant evolution gave me the possibility as a director to experiment with new languages and to adapt the production mechanism to this nouvelle vague. It made it possible to produce low-cost independent films, allowing a freedom of language that could handle circulation both in Italy and internationally. (An example is “Pagani”, that I realized in 2016, produced by Parallelo41).

The characteristics of this new scenario are the speed with which the tools and ways of filmmaking evolve and the opportunity to cast off the editorial burden of the mainstream. In a short time, the web became the new territory to be conquered, with a hybrid product somewhere between narration and impression, capable of bringing countries together in the language of the platform and a new sort of film - in serial form - opening up to a narration that creates loyalty in viewers and promises a long life for stories on the market. Thanks to the proliferation of audiovisual sites - screens - it has been possible to contemplate ramification of distribution: for the theatres, TV, the web, OTT services, museums, teaching and other forms of output possible for a film today.

This process has given the figure of the producer new life blood and made it possible for many of us to access production (“Donne di Terra”, now in post-production by 1506film).
In times of pandemic, given the impossibility of continuing work in our sector and the exceptional aspect of producing an all-women film, together with fifteen colleagues we came up with a new fully digitalised production: a documentary arising out of the pandemic itself, to which each of us, from our own personal quarantines, contributed to, experimenting with a new way of filmmaking: a widespread online call to narrate women’s lockdown, fuelled by the power of the internet and by the desire to acknowledge a female identity represented there, the elaboration of a long-distance direction technique guiding our characters to filming themselves, a system of archiving and production management planned for online sharing. A new frontier in digital cinema: ninety minutes built up thanks to the eight thousand videos received from women all over the world and made entirely online by sixteen authors who have never met up to now (“Tutte a casa”, 2021).

It is in this world of extreme isolation, where you can’t meet even to make a film, where you are no longer delighted and amazed by a visit to the cinema but reduced to watching content on your smartphone, that the movie theatre acquires new value: the value of meeting people. Meetings that encourage the sharing of a marvel that we can experience on a tablet in the doctor’s waiting-room, but which today is perhaps no longer sufficient. My hope is that the pandemic will act as promoter for the rebirth of the movie theatre as a meeting place, for a return to the future that unites spectators, leading them back to an important sense of sharing and community.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

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MEDIA Salles
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Tel.: +39.02.6739781 - Fax: +39.02.67397860
Edito da: MEDIA Salles - Reg. Trib.
Milano n. 418 dello 02/07/2007
Direttore responsabile:
Elisabetta Brunella
Coordinamento redazionale:
Silvia Mancini
Raccolta dati ed elaborazioni statistiche: Paola Bensi, Silvia Mancini