Cinecitta, is there a real risk of closure ?

by Marianne Wi

The press in Italy is full of depressing news about Cinecitta the famous film studies in Rome. It was in its heyday (1950,1960) the playground of many great Italian Directors also American Directors arrived to shoot their films here, as it was cheap and had on site experienced staff. Who can forget Roman Holiday, Three Coins in the Fountain, Ben Hur, Quo Vadis and of course Cleopatra staring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton while they were courting. The Italian Director Fellini refered to it as his ” Perfect Home”.

Cinecitta was privatised back in the mid 1990 often the beginning of the end for many organisations, also film producers including the Italian lot have moved and taken their budgets to countries such as Turkey, Hungary and Budapest at a saving of more than 20 % something most producers cannot ignore.

The National Film Archives are kept at Cinecitta, they originally had a large amount of funding from the government, they have seen it cut from 29 million Euros to less than 5 million Euros over the past decade, Roberto Benigni has been on national TV expressing his horror too  and I quote “That’s our memory, our history. How can you shot down history?” one of many outbursts, as the archives are no longer being maintained. The Italian Constitutional Affairs and Budget committees has recently agreed to an increase in the price of Cinema tickets of 1 Euro hoping that will help fund the industry. I am more likely to think the attendance will drop and illegal downloads will escalate.

There has been talk of an amusement park, on a plot next to Cinecitta on land previously owned by the Italian film director Dino di Laurentiis. A Tivoli so to speak with some sets designed by Dante Ferretti, there will also be Hotels, a little like a Disney Theme Park, not much is being written about it now, so this may be a white elephant.

 

 

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