Italy Meets Hollywood: AVP Summit 2024

TORONTO – The third edition of the Audio-Visual Producers Summit, inaugurated in 2021, was recently held in Altafiumara Resort & Spa, Reggio Calabria on June 10-12, 2024. The “AVP Summit” is an international conference and 3-day event, which focuses on the Italian Film Industry and its International Partners, bringing together key representatives from several major Distributors, TV Networks, Platforms and Film Studios. This year’s panel addressed a plethora of concerns over the near and foreseeable future of the Film Industry at large, and its knock-on effects for Italian cinema. Lucia Borgonzoni’s long awaited announcement regarding the government’s tax incentive reforms for film and television was a major focus, as many productions had remained stalled while waiting to apply for the grants. Paolo Del Brocco (in the pic above), CEO of Rai Cinema, raised another pressing issue however, namely the lack of a free market in Italy’s Film Industry.

Through recent films like “Io Capitano”, “La Chimera” and “Mixed By Erry”, Del Brocco has helmed Rai Cinema’s drive to platform Italy’s strongest emerging filmic voices and auteurs. Rai Cinema is also investing in ready-made TV Dramas and movies, as well as larger International films, most recently Martin Scorsese’s Oscar Nominated “Killers of the Flower Moon”. Del Brocco’s main concern, expressed at this year’s AVP Summit, is that “a piece of the industry is missing”. By “missing piece” he is referring to a free market through which small and medium sized films can gain exposure – mainly through longer theatre runs. “We no longer have widespread dissemination of our cinema”. His point is well made as Italy in 2023 had seen a surge in the number of films produced (356) compared to pre-pandemic times (217 movies in 2019), while having shorter and fewer theatrical runs. One of the issues lies in the streaming model as a primary producer/distributor/exhibitor.

The movie landscape has undoubtedly changed since the turn of the century, but more accurately since the advent of streaming platforms, social media dependence and an overreliance on comic book based productions by Major Hollywood Studios. Original content has taken a back seat for nearly two decades and audiences are finally starting to grow tired. As market inflation increases due to large investments being made by Streamers (Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc.), audiences are growing less patient with subscription fees for platforms that lack interesting content. So while more local movies are being made in Italy, good or bad, audiences aren’t being given much opportunity to see them in theatres, nor are they all necessarily finding a home in the streaming world – having to compete with International and mainly American content that is becoming increasingly repetitive. Or as an anonymous Studio Executive put it while speaking to Hollywood’s Deadline News:

“The issue is what’s happening with the audience. The failures of this year and beyond (Union Strikes), coupled with the lack of originality and the need for newness that actually works. The risk is that we’re boring the audience with the same old sh*t”.

Massimo Volpe is a filmmaker and freelance writer from Toronto: he writes reviews of Italian films/content on Netflix