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Stefano Rulli • President, "100autori"

"Industry shortsightedness in cuts to culture"

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Stefano Rulli • President, "100autori"

Relations between Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi and the film industry in particular, and the cultural spheres in general, have heated up in the past few months. So much so that they’ve often verged on an open clash between Bondi and the 100autori Association, created in 2008 by a movement of directors and screenwriters to overhaul the public structures that govern Italian cinema.

100autori has undertaken important battles that have gathered many established filmmakers around the then-movement now association, uniting them in talks with numerous lesser-known, younger, filmmakers. 100autori today counts over 380 members, including Paolo Sorrentino, Marco Bellocchio, Ferzan Ozpetek, Giuseppe Piccioni and Liliana Cavani.

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Besides the polemics, the goal of 100autori is to bring to an end continuous precariousness, with the approval of a law on the National Film Centre (CNC) that has been in discussion for some time in parliament. “We’re ready to contribute our ideas, we’re ready to discuss how to organise a CNC that is significantly autonomous from the ministry, as well as an organisational plan and many other things that still need clarification," 100autori President Stefano Rulli told Cineuropa.

Cineuropa: There is undoubtedly a wasteful dispersal of resources and funding. But isn’t Cinecittà Luce, created in May 2009, meant to act as coordinator?
Stefano Rulli: "Cinecittà Luce is an empty box, as the minister himself said, and Roberto Cicutto’s threat to resign as its president proves it. We must create a National Film Centre, a representative organism of industry associations with stable financing mechanisms.

Meanwhile, the FUS (Entertainment Industry Fund) is being continuously reduced.
The announced film funds do not allow for any form of production. But let’s not defend FUS excessively. Italian cinema must be funded by those who use it. It’s not true that few people see [films], there never had more spectators than now. Home video, pay TV, digital platforms, providers: those who use it, who profit from it, don’t finance it.

Some things have changed. For instance, the recently introduced tax credit is working.
These types of funding can be interesting but only if we don’t find tricks to the advantage of the RAI-Mediaset duopoly. The tax credit can be used to help independent producers, but if the two majors enter the game, there won’t be room for the little guys.

RAI Cinemahas a fundamental role.
The success of Italian filmmakers abroad shows good overall management, so we don’t understand why it was necessary to replace the head of RAI Cinema, Caterina D'amico, who responded passionately to a series of our requests and a demand for natural criteria such as transparency. We also asked for collaboration in terms of general planning, for television fiction as well. We’re not into corporate politics, in a moment of crisis we want to analyse these cuts. Productive sectors should not be cut, innovation should be financed. The economic crises should push us to invent new production models.

In June, demonstrations were held to protest the cuts to public funding that spanned cinema to university education.
We joined the protest because the cuts, besides tremendously damaging a highly important industry – the audiovisual industry and culture in general are key elements in building the collective image and identity of a country – also represent industry shortsightedness. Those politicians who claim to very much for free trade don’t understand the importance and centrality of an industry that also affects tourism. Making cuts to this sector is suicide, especially from an economic point of view.

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