CINECITTA': HANDS OVER THE CITY
587.738 are the square meters on which Cinecittà is built
More than 3.000 films shootings from its foundation to the present day 90 of which received an Oscar nomination, 47 actually won the famous statuette.
These are just few numbers of Cinecittà, though numbers belonging to the past. In its heydays, Cinecittà produced more than 300 films a year, as of today less than 100, and the situation continues to deteriorate. The tendency is to transfer the production of new films outside our national borders, where the rent of the studios and labor costs are greatly reduced. Today, about 90% of the films created in our country are made abroad.
The flight of film productions across the national border and the lack of a recovery and investment plan for encouraging local development, negatively reflect on Cinecittà.
At the moment, the only driving force of Cinecittà is the television production industry, which gives a shot in the arm to the sector by occupying the large studios that would otherwise remain empty. However, this is nowhere near enough; so far, no recovery plan is in place nor planned to reverse the trend to relaunch Cinecittà, historic part of the cultural and economic heritage of the country, as the main pole of the Italian film industry.
Since 1997 (when the State sold its 80% of Cinecittà shares to private investors), over the years, Cinecittà has been fragmented into many small companies (some of which are actual empty boxes: no employees but very well- paid board of directors). All these small companies fall under Cinecittà Studios Spa, which is in turn controlled by another company, IEG, owned by Luigi Spruce, along with partners Diego Della Valle, Aurelio de Laurentis and the entrepreneur Haggiage. However, this strategy of fragmentation has produced the weakening of entire sectors of Cinecittà, with devastating effects on their activities. As of today, these companies, entire business units, are being either sold or outsourced to other corporations. The Digital Factory LTD (the development and printing laboratory and the digital and audio sector) has been leased to Deluxe Digital Rome; the technical equipment sector has been transferred to Panalight; the scenic construction sector has been assigned to C.A.T. (Cinecittà Allestimenti e Tematizzazioni), a company dedicated to the creation of theme parks and shopping centres, and partly relocated outside the studios.
The process leaning to empty the studios of the skilled workers and of all production activities, might therefore suggests that the holding companies Cinecittà Studios and IEG, have something else in mind: with its 400,000 m³ buildable area, Cinecittà is extremely appealing to the real estate market, which is very active in the capital.
And yet a legitimate question arises, and one begins to wonder whether the ongoing project is an actual recovery plan aimed at giving a new lease of life to Cinecitta restoring it as the main pole of the film industry in our country, as the driving force of the entire sector and keeper of our memories and culture, or rather if the real targets are in fact the property speculation and the flourishing market of the entertainment industry.
The intent is to facilitate the implementation of a construction project covering the entire area; the project has already been approved by the relevant Municipal and regional bodies, and it involves the building of a maxi-resort consisting of a 200 rooms hotel set in 9.400 m², a parking lot of 31.330 m², a swimming pool, a food court of 2.787 m², a gym of 2.900 m², 2.400 m² Studios, and an alleged film district covering an area of 240.000 m³. It is important to stress that all of this is happening, same today as yesterday, in the complete silence and immobility of the Italian State and Government, which should rather be actively involved not only for being the holder of the properties situated in Via Tuscolana (where Cinecittà stands), but also and most importantly for its assigned role as the primary guarantor and keeper of the conservation of the cultural and historical heritage of a place so important to our country.