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The Italian touch comes to cinemas in China

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-21 14:13

The Italian film Olimpia's Way was screened at the China Film Archive as part of the Italian Screens events in Beijing on Nov 16. [Photo provided to China Daily]

For the first time since its launch in October last year, Italian Screens — New Italian Cinema Goes Abroad, a project to boost international exchange, arrived in Beijing, where it held two events last Thursday and Friday.

Organized by Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Cinecitta, the Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual, and the Academy of Italian Cinema's David di Donatello Awards, the project aims to promote Italian films, the Italian Film Distribution Fund, development, production incentives, tax credits and filming locations in Italy.

So far, Italian Screens has visited 50-odd cities in 20 countries, including the United States, India, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, and Colombia.

A still of Olimpia's Way. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The first event on Nov 16, a screening of Olimpia's Way, was held at the China Film Archive. Starring Stefania Sandrelli, the film was nominated under the 2022 Venice Film Festival's parallel section, the Giornate degli Autori (Author Days).

The second event, held at the Italian Institute of Culture at the embassy of Italy in Beijing, sought to publicize beneficial policies related to distributing Italian films overseas, and shooting movies in Italy.

As one of the event's highlights, the organizers introduced the Italian Film Distribution Fund, which has an annual support fund of 2.1 million euros ($2.25 million). Every Italian film that foreign distributors release is eligible to receive a maximum of 50,000 euros in funding support, and online releases can secure up to 15,000 euros.

"We've observed a notable surge in the popularity of Italian films among Chinese audiences, both in theaters and on streaming platforms. To meet this growing demand, our collaboration with Italy's 'Oscars' — the David di Donatello Awards — focuses on selecting the very best contemporary Italian films for screening," said Roberto Stabile, head of Special Projects at the directorate general for Cinema and Audiovisual at Cinecitta.

Massimo Ambrosetti, Italian ambassador to China, attended an event aiming to boost cinematic exchanges between the two countries at the Italian Institute of Culture of the Embassy of Italy in Beijing on Nov 17. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Massimo Ambrosetti, Italian ambassador to China, expressed his anticipation for the project to "enhance the existing collaboration in film between the two countries, paving the way for innovative ideas and opportunities for our shared future development".

He also highlighted the event's role in fostering international collaboration and in serving as a bridge for more film professionals to engage in film production in Italy.

Following the Beijing events, Italian Screens will show 10 films, including the biographical movie Dante and the sci-fi title Hypersleep, in Hong Kong between Nov 23 and 30. In addition, it will collaborate with the 5th Hainan Island International Film Festival to screen six new movies in December.


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