Interview: Italian film veteran hails rise of Chinese film festivals
by Marzia De Giuli
VENICE, Italy, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- If taking part in a Chinese film festival was something that cinema professionals in Italy would not consider, many give now attention to them, the president of ANICA, the umbrella organization for Italian film, audiovisual and multimedia industries told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.
"Film festivals are rising and developing in China, and we have started putting them on our agenda because they are expected to enter the global system of cinema events," Riccardo Tozzi said.
The ANICA head made the remarks on the sidelines of the Venice Film Festival that runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7. "At the same time we have seen a constant growth of Chinese presence at the Italian film festivals, both in terms of films and representatives of the cinema events. I wish that Italy will be very close to China in the next years," he said.
Tozzi said in terms of presence at the international festivals, Italian films always ranks second or third. "In the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, Italy will present a record high number of movies, seven, including three world premieres," he said. In his view, cinema continues to be "a fundamental economic resource" in a country that has creativity and art as its main assets.
Development of the cinema industry in China has started later but is running extraordinarily fast, Tozzi felt. The growth in Chinese movie theaters is frenetic, with plenty of room for expansion and millions of young people experiencing modern films also through the internet.
"I have noticed that some Chinese industrial groups in recent times have started investing in cinema and communication," he said, adding the new market can be more strategic than the real estate one.
An Italian study presented at the ongoing festival in Venice showed that the audiovisual industry is "inter-sectorial," meaning that each euro produced by the sector generates more than three euros in related sectors such as tourism or made-in-Italy products.
China is no less so, Tozzi said, as "we are talking about two countries where culture, history and tradition have perhaps the biggest weight in the world." Considered these common peculiarities, he went on to say that he gives much credit to Sino-Italian dialogue in the film industry.
"Though it is going through a process of internationalization, my perception is that Chinese cinema industry is also careful not to loose its traditions" in a world industry largely influenced by the Hollywood movies, and once again "interaction with a European country such as Italy can be a strong point," Tozzi said.
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