‘Italy is a tough place to make films’

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.

'Italy is a tough place to make films'
American film producer Mark Canton said Italy needs to provide tax incentives to foreign film studios. Photo: AFP

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.

“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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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?