Anec: summer releases need incentives and promotion

Summer releases were the main talking point at the conference “Theatres, Italian film and the market” which was held yesterday in Sorrento as part of the Professional Cinema Days. Introducing the lively debate was Luigi Cuciniello, the president of Anec – the Italian National Association of Film Exhibitors, who pointed out that local taxes weigh heavily on cinemas. In brief, Anec proposed releasing American films at the same time as other European countries, strong incentives for releasing Italian films, solid advertising campaigns, and coordination with and support from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, citing the example of the Cinemadays initiative, which pulled almost two million viewers into theatres over four days in October.

Giuseppe Corrado, the president and managing director of The Space Cinema circuit (which was sold to British group Vue Entertainment last year) asked for a meeting between producers, distributors and exhibitors to find out whether the summer period is actually looked upon as an opportunity by all. “In June we lose €3 million, in July €2.8 million, and in August €1.5 million. If things don’t change”, he said, “we’ll have to consider closing our cinemas in June and July”.

This “threat” was contested by Francesca Cima, the president of Anica producers, for whom it is the way in which the sector is structured that requires profound change: “although legislative intervention is very important, the industry can come up with rules itself for improving the system”. Very determined was the speech given by Riccardo Tozzi, the president of Anica, who spoke of a “process of de-industrialisation” of film. In his opinion, town cinemas are not technologically suitable and the first to suffer is Italian film, which relies on them. The solution is “a tax on the sector as a whole to generate stable resources that can be reinvested in it”.

“We won’t solve anything by tripling the resources available to ministers”, said Nicola Borrelli, the general director of Cinema at the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, who closed the conference. For Borrelli, the law regulating the sector that is currently being worked on is necessary, but it won’t solve anything unless the structure of the market changes. “The margins of many operators are of no particular consequence when you look at the turnover of the market as a whole. The sector is perhaps not interested in resolving the problem of summer releases, and is more interested in pulling in potential viewers”. This is why “an open discussion between operators is essential”, in which we consider the public and how to get them back in cinemas watching our films.