Andrea Occhipinti, President of Italy’s film distribution association ANICA, has resigned following the drama surrounding the recent day-and-date release of police brutality pic On My Skin.
Occhipinti’s distribution and production outfit Lucky Red sold the film to Netflix before it was set for a contentious Venice Film Festival debut. The well-respected industry vet explained his ANICA exit in a statement [translated from Italian], “I decided to resign because our choice of distributing On My Skin by Alessio Cremonini simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix has created many tensions between the theaters who have screened it (few) and those who have chosen not to (many). The success of the film has increased these tensions.
“Although there were precedents in Italy and there is a wider heated debate at an international level, I do not want a purely corporate choice to be considered as the position of ANICA distributors, given my role. In order not to create shadows or embarrassment to my colleagues, I therefore consider it appropriate to leave the office of President.”
Occhipinti continued, “Cinemaundici and Lucky Red decided to produce this film together and took the whole entrepreneurial risk to do so, with the only public contribution being the tax credit provided by the [Government’s] Cinema Law. Everything else came later, when the film was finished.
“We had the opportunity to bring a first Italian film to 190 countries; we are the ones who struggled so that it was possible to bring it to the cinema, for those who created it, for the story it tells, for the importance of the shared vision that only the cinema can offer.”
Occhipinti had previously defended Lucky Red’s decision to go day-and-date with the well-reviewed On My Skin, which took approximately $286,000 from 80 screens last week.
Venice’s decision to debut six Netflix films at the festival has come under fire from a number of Italian film associations. The pushback has also spread to other leading European film bodies.
In his statement today Occhipinti added about his time as ANICA President, “I leave the post after five years of hard work, commitment and passion that have helped achieve many goals: the sharing of the path that led to the approval and creation of the [Government’s] new Cinema Law, a fundamental tool for our sector; the creation of MIA, which brought a modern audiovisual market back to Italy and Rome; the reform of the David di Donatello awards; the concrete dialogue established with the majors in order to normalize distribution in Italy throughout the year; the successes achieved in Europe on the themes of copyright and territoriality.
“There are still many things to be done with all the realities of the supply chain. The road to overcoming seasonality is still long and piracy remains the big unsolved problem. I leave the position of President with serenity, and of course I can and want to continue to give my contribution as an associate of ANICA both as a producer and as a distributor.”