What is Europe's Hollywood

Italy: Cinecitta film studios are to become “Europe's Hollywood”

The Italian state wants to join the Roman film studios of Cinecitta, in which legendary films such as “Ben Hur”, “Quo Vadis” and “Gangs of New York” were shot. The Istituto Luce, which has owned the film studios since 2017, is to be converted into a stock corporation, announced Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini in an interview with the Milan business newspaper "Sole 24 Ore" (Thursday edition).

This should enable the government and the state development bank CDP to invest in the institute's capital. CDP owns an area adjacent to the film studios in the southern part of Rome. The minister of culture reported that this could double the cinecitta area.

“We are setting the course for a major leap in quality. We want to build a European Hollywood. This is to be done through partnerships and the promotion of foreign productions, ”said the minister.

Built under Mussolini

Franceschini sees great growth opportunities for the Italian film industry, which is also thanks to the new platforms such as Netflix. As part of the support money that the Italian government has loosened against the coronavirus crisis, 150 million euros have been donated to a fund for film funding.

Dictator Benito Mussolini had the studios built in 1937 on the south-eastern outskirts of Rome. He appreciated the usefulness of the film industry for its propaganda purposes. The cinecitta experienced its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, when major Hollywood productions such as “Cleopatra” were made there.

The 1970s and the television boom plunged the cinema industry into a crisis. The extensive privatization in 1997, after which the state only owned 25 percent of the complex, did not lead to the hoped-for results. With new tax incentives, Cinecitta has experienced solid growth again for several years.