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8 items from 2014

Cinecittà World Theme Park Designed By Dante Ferretti Unveiled in Rome

10 July 2014 10:21 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Rome – Rome’s long-in-the-works $300 million Cinecittà World theme park, designed by multiple-Oscar-winning production designer designer Dante Ferretti and based on films shot at the famed studios, including “Ben Hur,” several by Federico Fellini, and Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” was unveiled on Thursday (July 10) with plenty of fanfare and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on hand.

Conceived almost a decade ago as an Italian take on Universal Studios, Cinecittà World currently comprises twenty attractions, including several state-of-the-art roller coasters, a dark motion simulator ride called “Dante’s Inferno,” a flight simulator, and an immersive tunnel.

The look is a mix of sword and sandals epics, Fellinesque and Bollywood elements, including gigantic elephants, science fiction, spaghetti westerns and many other themes concocted by Ferretti from the more than 3,000 movies and TV shows produced at Cinecitta, once known as Hollywood on the Tiber.

The entrance to the Eternal City’s »

- Nick Vivarelli

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James Murdoch Meets Italian Prime Minister, Pledges More Italo TV Production Investments

23 June 2014 7:05 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Rome – James Murdoch and Sky Italia managing director Andrea Zappia on Monday met Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in Rome and pledged a Euros 40 million ($54 million) investment in two high-profile Italian TV series, “Diabolik” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope,” as the Italo paybox steps up its production spend in Italian scripted TV after the success of its “Gomorra” skein.

James Murdoch, who is president of Sky Italia, said in a statement that the Italian TV industry still has “huge unexpressed potential” and enthused that a recent legislative bill extending Italy’s tax credits from film to also include TV production could breath new life into the country’s struggling scripted TV sector.

Both “Diabolik,” a ten-episode adaptation of a popular Italian comic book about a master thief who takes on different identities and steals from other criminals, now being prepped by Oscar-winning production designer Dante Ferretti at Cinecittà Studios, »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Oscar-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat to head Venice Film Festival jury

23 June 2014 6:42 AM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Well, this is a refreshing choice. At major festivals, the position of jury president is usually the preserve of directors and actors. At Cannes, for example, you have to go all the way back to 1983 to find a president -- novelist William Styron -- who doesn't tick either of those boxes. And while exceptions have been made for writers, it's very rare for below-the-line artists to take the top position. Production designer Dante Ferretti did the honors at the 2005 Venice Film Festival, and it's the Italians who are once more taking that route: composer Alexandre Desplat will preside over the Competition jury at Venice this year. While it's an unexpected appointment, it's hardly an undeserved one. Desplat is currently among the hardest-working craftsmen in the business, having scored over 60 features in the last decade -- his intricate compositions frequently an invaluable component of films that range from megabudget Hollywood blockbusters »

- Guy Lodge

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Taormina Film Festival: Gathering Place of Legends, Stars and Industry Players

13 June 2014 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

As part of the Roman Empire, Taormina was renowned for its fine wine and high-quality marble. Today the picturesque Sicilian town, with its sweeping view over the Strait of Messina, is best known for the film festival that bears its name — Italy’s oldest — that over the years has attracted such cinema legends as Marcello Mastroianni, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and John Huston.

This month the Taormina Film Festival celebrates its 60th anni by honoring the work of women in the movies, and female movie stars will play a prominent role in the festivities. The fest’s subtitle for 2014 is “60 years of women and their impact.”

“Women have contributed a lot to the movie business, and sometimes they are not as appreciated as men, and festivals forget to celebrate them,” says Tiziana Rocca, Taormina fest’s general manager.

Among the actresses who will be accepting honors at Taormina: Claudia Cardinale, »

- Peter Caranicas

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Toby Jones, John C. Reilly Join Matteo Garrone Pic (Exclusive)

14 May 2014 10:37 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Italo auteur Matteo Garrone (“Gomorra”) has added Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Stacey Martin (“Nymphomaniac”) and Bebe Cave (“Great Expectations”) to previously announced key cast Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel of his English-language fantasy/horror “The Tale of Tales,” which starts shooting in Sicily today.

Based on fairy tale collection “The Tale of Tales” by 17th century Italian author Giambattista Basile, Garrone’s ambitious English-language debut is also kicking off world sales in Cannes where the pic is being sold by HanWay.

“Tale of Tales” joins recent HanWay acquisitions including “High-Rise” by Ben Wheatley, Julian Jarrold’s “Girls’ Night Out” and Lone Scherfig’s “Posh.”

Garrone co-wrote the story and screenplay with Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti and Massimo Gaudioso. It’s been adapted into English by Dante scholar and translator Virginia Jewiss.

Jeremy Thomas is the artistic producer of Garrone’s gothic “Tales,” which, like “Gomorra,” will interweave »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Italy’s Cinecitta Studios Get Google Doodle Celebration

28 April 2014 8:23 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Rome – Rome’s Cinecittà Studios are being celebrated with a Google Doodle on the 77th anniversary of the day the sprawling facilities were inaugurated, on April 28 1937, by Benito Mussolini in an attempt to boost the Italian film industry.

This rare distinction for a film studio caused their website to crash.

Alas the historic studios known as Hollywood on the Tiber in their 1960′s heyday have long been languishing, with production levels plummeting since the 1990′s and workers recently protesting against layoffs amid a long-stalled controversial makeover which has yet to materialise.

Still, the massive 100-acre facility once considered Europe’s largest, where “Ben Hur,” “Quo Vadis”  and, more recently, Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of new York,” and HBO’s “Rome” where shot, has seen some international biz lately. A portion of Baltasar Kormakur’s “Everest,” produced by Working Title, recently shot there. And next up is U.S. comedy “Road To Capri, »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Taormina Fest To Fete Claudia Cardinale

8 April 2014 9:10 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Rome – The TaorminaFilmFest will fete Claudia Cardinale with its Taormina Arte Award and a retro dedicated to the iconic Italo actress best known for her roles in Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard” and Federico Fellini’s “8 1\2.”

Located in Sicily, Taormina is among Europe’s oldest fests, being relaunched in recent editions with a more mainstream format by artistic director Mario Sesti and general manager Tiziana Rocca.

For its upcoming edition the fest will also celebrate multiple-Oscar-winning production design duo Francesca Lo Schiavo and Dante Ferretti.

Taormina’s 60th edition will run June 14-21.



- Nick Vivarelli

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Sole a Catinelle: Q&A with Costume Designer Marina Roberti

28 February 2014 6:26 AM, PST | Clothes on Film | See recent Clothes on Film news »

Marina Roberti is the costume designer of the Italian box office hit Sole a Catinelle. She has worked in the Us with the likes of Milena Canonero, Sandy Powell and Dante Ferretti

How did you become a costume designer?

When I was a kid I was a bumbler at school. I spent all the time drawing and reading. My parents were kind of worried so they decided to enroll me at a fashion college in Turin, my home town. During my last school year they took us to Rome to visit the National Film School. Next year I decided to try and join the school. I thought I could never make it but I did and so I started attending the costume course.

Piero Tosi (costume designer of Il Gattopardo) was one of your teachers in Rome. What did you learn from him?

The most important thing he taught me »

- Lord Christopher Laverty

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