Italian cinema is going to war. The weapons used, however, have changed. The films on display at MIA, the Audiovisual Market, scheduled in Rome from 19 to 23 October, show different tastes, genres and characteristics.

Comedy, once accused of failing to cross national borders because held back by the limitations inherent to the use of dialects and cultural specific situations, is now back to its past splendors. It also gains strength when, as in the case of Perfetti Sconosciuti (in Spain, Alex de la Iglesia has just finished shooting the remake and an American one is sure to follow) it manages to be in tune with the times. As a result, there is great expectation (in the What’s next Italy section, dedicated to European buyers) for Paolo Genovese’s The place, for Alessandro Gassman’s Il Premio and for Sono tornato by Luca Miniero – remake of the German success I’m back, this time with Mussolini and not Hitler reappearing on the political scene.

But there’s more. Italy also gains significance in new genres: fantasy, represented this year by Il libro delle visioni, debut work of Carlo Shalom Hintermann, and by Gabriele Salvatores’s Il ragazzo invisibile 2, thriller with dark undertones with Jacopo Rondinelli’s Ride, and drama with Laura Bispuri’s Figlia mia.

But at MIA, where the accreditations exceed 1300 and the executives from the world’s most prominent companies – HBO, BBC, Channel 4, CBS, Vice, Fox – are expected to make an appearance, people will also get to experience a taste of what’s to come. Edoardo De Angelis – director of Indivisibili –  will present his new project The vice of hope, the story of an unconventional priest transferred to a desolate spot, and Matteo Garrone and the Brazilian Walter Salles will present their co-production projects.

One of the problems to be faced, explain Francesco Rutelli, President of ANICA, and Giancarlo Leone, President of APT, regards the star-system, which needs to be strengthened and rejuvenated: “We need actors whose names are known abroad. An excellent example is Jasmine Trinca, but we need more.”

TV series, on the other hand, are doing very well. On the heels of Romanzo Criminale and Suburra, comes Gheddafi, produced by Palomar, Nel nome della rosa, created by Matteo Levi, L’amica geniale, directed by Saverio Costanzo, Django and Suspiria, which after Guadagnino’s remake, may turn into a series.

Amidst this frivolous climate, the Franceschini decree, which states the quota of Italian audiovisual contents to be aired, weighs as a positive mirage, but also as a fearsome limitation: “This law – Rutelli states – solves crucial issues such as the divide between authors and industry. From now on, authors will know that it is necessary to make films that also meet industrial needs. Airing in prime time on any of the RAI channels means being pushed out of the margins. And finally, we are talking about investments and not assistance.” According to Leone, however, the measure is “perfectible” i.e. “Investment quotas are important, but producers shouldn’t be trapped by the regulations regarding broadcasting schedules. As far as broadcasting obligations are concerned, one must find less coercive methods, so that they may be seen as an opportunity rather than a constraint.”