Magazine article Screen International

Scola, Tavernier, Loach and Costa Gavras Join Cinecittà Protests

Magazine article Screen International

Scola, Tavernier, Loach and Costa Gavras Join Cinecittà Protests

Article excerpt

Filmmakers support studio worker demonstrations over plans to 'dismantle' historic studios where Ben-Hur, La Dolce Vita, Gangs of New York were shot.

Directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Ettore Scola and Ken Loach have joined protests over a restructuring plan for Rome's Cinecittà, saying it will lead to the demise of cinema activities at the historic studios.

"Cinecittà is famous across the world as a centre of excellence in the creation of cinematic works," the Italian directors association ANAC said in a letter addressed to Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Mario Monti asking them to intercede.

Signatories included Bertolucci, Scola and Loach as well other local filmmakers Gianni Amelio, Marco Bellocchio, Ugo Gregoretti, Citto Maselli, Franco Nero, Giuseppi Tornatore, Pasquale Scimeca and non-Italians Costantinos Costa Gavras, Vanessa Redgrave and Bertrand Tavernier.

"Alongside its studios and laboratories is the extraordinary professionalism of the master builders, sculptors, plaster craftsmen and set technicians, which has attracted some of the biggest European and transatlantic productions to Rome," the letter continued.

"The restructuring plan envisages on the one hand, the dismantling of cinema activities on the site, and on the other, the construction of hotels and health clubs, setting in motion the concreting over and exploitation of the area, mooted by the big construction firms in the region for some time," it added.

In a separate move, France's Association of Authors, Directors and Producers (L'ARP) launched a pan-European petition in support of Cinecittà on Wednesday, describing the plans as "shameful". Michel Hazanavicius, Claude Lelouch, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache were among some first 20 filmmakers to sign.

The ANAC statement followed a week-long occupation of Cinecittà by workers disgruntled over the restructuring plans for the studios of majority private owner Italian Entertainment Group (IEG), whose main shareholders are banker and industrialist Luigi Abete, leather goods tycoons Andrea and Diego Della Valle (owners of the Tod's and Hogan brands), producer Aurelio De Laurentiis and the Haggiag family.

Trouble at the studios has been brewing for months but the decision to occupy the site was sparked by full-page advertisements in the Repubblica, Sole 24 Ore and Messaggero newspapers last week, detailing the reasons for the plan and accusing the unions of "short-sightedness". …

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