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MIA 2019

Lucia Milazzotto • Director, MIA

“We try to build bridges so that our industry can benefit from them”


- We sat down with Lucia Milazzotto, the head of the MIA, in Rome to find out more about the film market’s winning formula

Lucia Milazzotto  • Director, MIA
(© Giambalvo & Napolitano)

We sat down with Lucia Milazzotto, the head of the MIA, in Rome to find out more about this year’s edition of the film market and its winning formula.

Cineuropa: What is your formula for the MIA market?
Lucia Milazzotto:
We want to have a market that embraces the drama series and documentary industries, which produce, distribute and support the circulation and financing of high-end concept projects. We want to provide a platform for producers, financiers, commissioners and players in several segments simultaneously, in the fields of film, drama and documentary. The MIA welcomes brand-new products as well as works in progress. We don’t work on gap financing, but we provide an eagerly anticipated window to the market, particularly for Italian and European content. We didn’t want to be the last market of the year, but rather the first one of the following year, which welcomes brand-new content and is highly concentrated in terms of time and space. We have four different clusters of activities, which are networking, the co-production market, showcases (such as screenings and the presentation of brand-new content) and, of course, talks, panels and master classes in order to support the circulation of content and ideas.

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Which changes and trends in the industry were reflected at this year’s MIA?
There is a lot of interest in high-quality, global content, with a particular focus on genre. The content is specifically tailored to target markets in terms of genre, storytelling and the language that is used. I see a huge interest in content and the different possibilities that content allows in order to reach different audiences in terms of storytelling, language and format.

On one hand, the MIA offers various pitching forums for films, series and documentaries, and on the other hand, it boasts works in progress as well as market screenings. Do you see a shift whereby market attendees are focusing more on films that are still in production?
We had different strategies for the three sections. We concentrated very much on co-productions, and therefore pitching sessions and works in progress for drama and documentaries, because we are very close to MIP and wanted to organise complementary activities, rather than duplicate what they are doing, which is based on sales and buying. We also offer the opportunity to screen finished films. This year, MIA was really packed out with films, people and projects. The buyers went to the screenings while the commissioning editors attended the pitching sessions for dramas and documentaries.

How many participants attended the MIA, and where did they come from?
Overall, we had 2,500 participants. About 50% of them were Italians, and the other 50% were international participants, mostly from Europe. In terms of attendance, the second-strongest country is France, followed by the UK, the USA and Germany. The participants from these countries are also natural co-producers of Italian content. We have also seen a huge increase in the number of participants from the USA.

If you compare the MIA market to other film markets, does MIA have anything unique that the others don’t offer?
At MIA, we work mainly on two segments. Most of the markets concentrate on one segment, and they may have included other segments because the market was going in that direction. We tend to be a very informal event that strongly supports the forging of relationships between the guests. It encourages them to participate if we get new talents and new participants involved as well as better-established ones.

How important are your partnerships with the various institutions?
We have always been very well connected. We have never been that competitive with other markets. We always try to support the industry so that our partnerships can be helpful for the participants. Of course, we are strategic in terms of timing, the kind of content and the kind of participation, and we try to open up to new partners in order to be supportive of our industry. We have a new partnership with Hot Docs for our documentary section, we partner with Sundance for the film section, and we still partner with Content London and several others, such as MediaXchange, for drama. We try to build bridges so that our industry can benefit from them.

Buyers often see films at one festival and close their deals at another. Is the MIA also a meeting place between Venice and the AFM?
We have several films from Venice because we are actually the only market after Venice in Europe. We really work on the synergies between the industry, institutions and various events. We all do different jobs, but we are pretty complementary. When a system works smoothly, it is beneficial for everyone. We are increasingly positioning ourselves in an international context in terms of the industry, financial opportunities, co-production possibilities and the content generated by them.

For the first time, the MIA implemented sustainability measures this year. What kinds of actions did you take?
As one of the very first markets in Europe, the MIA has been certified by ISO 20121, which is a certification of sustainability from an environmental, economic and social point of view. We have implemented several activities in order not only to go green, but also to be sustainable in terms of economics. We have offset 6,000 kg of CO2 and greenhouse gases, we provided hotels within walking distance, and we donated our left-over food to last-minute markets.

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