Italy’s Abruzzo Film Commission Launches at AFM with Hollywood Names on Board (EXCLUSIVE)Variety — Nick Vivarelli
Italy’s central Abruzzo region, known for having one of Europe’s largest natural parks, with mountains and native bears, as well as sandy, palm-lined beaches, is launching its new film commission at AFM. Former Sony Pictures Television president Len Grossi and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi have been recruited as members of its advisory board, in an effort to forge Hollywood ties.
Abruzzo region execs Mauro Febbo and Francesco Di Filippo are holding a party and presentation event for the film commission on Nov. 9 at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. During the event the film commission’s full board, which also comprises other Hollywood execs and talents with roots in the Italian region, such as singer and actress Deana Martin, will be announced, Febbo said.
“We noticed that Abruzzo has a high density of [U.S.] talents and producers, so we are setting up an advisory board with some of these people,” he added.
Though Abruzzo until recently was the only remaining Italian region without a film commission, its new production organization seems eager to make up for lost time. On top of Italy’s swift cash-back 30% tax credit with a €20 million (roughly $22.6 million) cap, they will soon also be offering regional incentives, Febbo vows.
The Abruzzo region has long been used as a filming location for movies ranging from Federico Fellini’s “La Strada” (1954) to, much more recently, Paolo Sorrentino’s upcoming HBO and Sky TV series “The New Pope.” Another recent high-end TV series, “The Name of the Rose” starring John Turturro, was also partly shot there, as was the Jean-Jacques Annaud-directed film “The Name of The Rose” (1986) which starred Sean Connery and had its primary location Abruzzo at the Rocca Calascio castle (pictured), the tallest castle ruin in Italy, which also served as backdrop for Richard Donner’s “Ladyhawke” (1985).
The Rocca Calascio castle is near Campo Imperatore, a scenic plateau perched at almost 6,000 feet with pastures, ruins, and a monastery, an ambiance that has been compared to Tibet. Campo Imperatore is located about 90 minutes from Rome’s revamped Cinecittà Studios, with which the film commission is developing a closer rapport, Febbo said.