Articles Documentari

2020: The new doc “geography” in Italy

by Marco Spagnoli | 29.07.2020

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For the audiovisual arena, 2020 will be remembered as a watershed: our industry has become dramatically self- aware and conscious of the choices that need to be made for the future.

Beyond having forced all players to dwell on the field and its system, this awareness has unsealed new production and distribution prospects, as well as palpable business opportunities for everyone.

As known, OTT platforms have benefited the most until now from the current situation: in the rest of the world, but also in Italy, Netflix and Amazon in particular have drawn the audience closer to their offer in an important and significant way from all viewpoints.

Among the genres that have been enhanced by the circumstances, in addition to tv series naturally, are documentaries, both as medium-length series but also as single episodes, for the first time coming across a new audience that the industry had failed to meet or build loyalty with, due to the somewhat asphyxiated domestic film lineup and the excessive thrift of free television programming. During the lockdown, the ability to quickly access documentary content on Netflix or Amazon, but also on Raiplay and Chili, made viewers discover the value and importance of the global modern documentary production.

So it is in light of this context that we should read a list of new appointments, aimed at innovating, compared to the past, the documentary production in Italy.

The first of these notable appointments comes from a long “battle” waged by APT – and today by APA – and successfully implemented with the creation of a documentary division for the public network Rai.

Journalist Duilio Giammaria has in fact been nominated director of Rai Doc and will be leading a structure that at the moment is taking its first steps within Rai and the world of documentary production. Mr. Giammaria covers an important signpost, offering the Italian audiovisual production a first-rate partner on the international arena, in order to target those valuable co-productions that until now had been precluded – definitely a step forward, destined to give an important driving force to documentary productions, enhanced by the possibility of realizing high-budget projects.

In this sense, Maria Pia Ammirati’s succession to Roberto Cicutto’s Presidency of Istituto Luce should be seen in an extremely positive light. The former is bringing in dowry to Istituto Luce – one of the main documentary producers and distributors – her position as President of Rai Teche and therefore the Rai archive. Documentary filmmakers know very well, in fact, that for all titles related to past and not only, Luce and Rai archives are not only strategic, but even more, fundamental. The intent avowed by Minister Franceschini to merge the two huge deposits of our country’s historical memory, retaining a technical lapse necessary to merge the different storage systems and software, could actually lead in reasonable time to the creation of one of the largest archives worldwide with millions of images and hours of footage.

Not only the public arena is working towards real-life production: in spring, Netflix has appointed its head of documentary productions for Italy: Giovanni Bossetti, a highly experienced professional, extremely appreciated by those who have worked with him. The choice of having a documentary manager for our country is clearly a proof, if ever it was needed, of how much the production rooting process, after Series and Film, is heading toward completion, finally including Real-life Cinema, which has always played an important role important in the Los Gatos company offer.

Not only distributors are adding documentaries to their lineup: Palomar, the company founded by Carlo Degli Esposti, has launched Palomar Doc, the new documentary division of the company, partner of Mediawan Group. The division, committed to the development and production of films and documentary series for cinema, TV, and OTT was entrusted to Andrea Romeo, founder and director from 2005 to 2019 of the Italian documentary festival Biografilm.

Same situation for Fandango, Domenico Procacci’s company, which has always been particularly careful to the production and distribution of Italian and foreign documentaries. Here, Eleonora Savi was appointed Head of Production, while Cosetta Lagani has wrapped her time at Stand By Me, shifting to Minerva Pictures as Chief of Scripted and Documentary Productions, a role created purposely for her.

Prestigious personalities, therefore, for new roles, while awaiting the effervescence of the market to finally recover and boost with the return to normal after the lockdown.