'Italy is a tough place to make films'

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American film producer Mark Canton said Italy needs to provide tax incentives to foreign film studios. Photo: AFP
08:05 CEST+02:00
From 1953’s Roman Holiday to The Talented Mr Ripley in 1999, Italy has long been an attractive location for foreign filmmakers, but one American producer told The Local that the country is losing ground to cheaper locations.

Mark Canton, a co-producer of The Expendables, shot 2010’s Letters to Juliet in Italy, but despite being a big fan of the country, he has taken more recent productions elsewhere, including Bulgaria, due to a lack of financial incentives for foreign filmmakers.

“They’re always promising that they’re going to give a tax advantage,” Canton told The Local at the Ischia Global Film and Music Festival on Monday.

“Last year, we met with heads of banks and a studio here [in the hope of striking a deal], but it’s very hard to find people in the decision-making position to actually get things going.”

Canton, who is also chairman of the Ischia film festival, added that if Italy is serious about promoting the country as a location for foreign films, “it needs to get serious about making deals” otherwise “no US studio will work here.”

“This is why we go to places like Bulgaria,” he said.

“Spain, the UK and even L.A also [offer better financial incentives]. Italy needs to be more competitive.”

The last major foreign film to be made in Italy was Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love in 2012. Parts of Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts, was also shot in the capital in 2010.

Meanwhile, The Talented Mr Ripley, starring Jude Law, Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow, helped put Ischia, an island in the Bay of Naples, on the map in 1999.

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“They have a great location…I’d rather be in Italy than anywhere else,” added Canton.

“But it’s very hard and frustrating, especially for the crews here, because of the lack of work.”

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