ITALY: Support from the Regions for Digitalisation
Since the end of 2010 and during 2011, various financial tools have been implemented to support , paying particular attention to small exhibitors and independent theatres, which have difficulty in accessing VPF schemes for financing the transition. According to the findings published by MEDIA Salles and the European Audiovisual Observatory in The European Digital Cinema Report, in 2011 sixty different support projects for digital conversion were operating in Europe in thirteen different European countries and on a pan-European scale.
Most (42) of these are projects operating at a regional level, whilst another 15 are managed on a national scale. A further three schemes work on a supranational scale and are promoted by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
In Italy the Regions continue to play an essential role in the process of digital conversion in movie theatres.
There follows an account of the main updates.
The funds allocated by the Region of Sicily for the of its cinemas will amount to 5,560,000 euros. Of this sum, 3 million will be made available by the Apq Sensi Contemporanei fund (i.e. the Agreement on a Framework Programme for "The promotion and spread of contemporary art and the enhancement of Southern Italy’s architectural and urban contexts" signed by the Region) from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Following the declarations made on 13 and 14 March by the Director of the Service CineSicilia Film Commission, Pietro Di Miceli, at the conference Cinema e Impresa in Sicilia: produzione, festival, sale - Tax Credit: nuove opportunità di investimento nei cinema per banche e imprese (Cinema and business enterprise in Sicily: production, festivals, theatres - Tax Credit: new opportunities of investment in cinemas for banks and business companies), comes the official announcement by the regional Presidencies of the AGIS and ANEC: the call will be published on 30 July 2012.
The maximum expenditure for the overall adaptation of a cinema will be 100,000 euros, of which 50% is guaranteed by a contribution to the capital from the resources referred to in the official call and 30% by a national Tax Credit, also used as a point of reference for the definition of the spending allowed and procedures for the application for financing.
It will also be possible to implement the resources through re-programming or other regional, national and community funds.
The Region of Sicily thus joins the Italian Regions supporting the shift to the new technology.
Apulia (Puglia)
In 2011 the Apulia Region, with the collaboration of AGIS and ANEC and the management of the Apulia Film Commission, foresaw a form of intervention for the of cinemas based on an allocation of 1.3 million euros through the European Regional Development Fund.
The financing addresses small exhibitors - no more than four screens - which can apply for a contribution not exceeding 40,000 euros per screen.
At the end of April the results of the first selection were published: of the 47 applications presented, 32 were financed, for a total of 1,160,621 euros. A further two applications were judged eligible but not possible to finance.
Amongst the applications accepted was that of the Cinema Bellarmino, in Taranto, managed by Daniele Roussier Fusco, who will be one of the participants on the DigiTraining Plus 2012 course (his photo is published above in the section "The course participants").
To view the list of cinemas that obtained financing in Apulia, please click here.

For an overview of the present situation, region by region, please click on the map.



The Region of Lombardy has actively supported the of its theatres since 2008. In that same year 13 of the 22 applications presented were financed, whilst 5 were approved but not financed because funds had been exhausted.
In the following year there were 27 applications, 18 of which obtained financing, whilst 7, though approved, were not financed.
Finally 2 million euros were made available in 2011 for the technological updating of cinemas and the purchase of equipment for digital projection including the necessary accessories and the costs of planning and managing the work (up to a limit of 7% of the total cost). Financing varies between 35,000 and 250,000 euros and may, in no case, amount to over 70% of total costs.
Further intervention was promoted, again in 2011, by Lombardy’s Regional authorities in collaboration with the Provinces of Novara and of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, with an overall investment of 2 million euros made available to private, non-profit organizations, ecclesiastical and religious bodies and public administrations managing multi-purpose theatres. The objective is to reinforce the ties between multi-purpose cultural centres and the territory through the financing of interventions for technological innovation.