Rome MIA Market Recruits ‘Avengers’ Director Joe Russo as Keynote For Upcoming Edition, Packed With New Film, TV and Docs

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Rome’s growing MIA market, dedicated to international TV series, feature films and documentaries, has secured a rich roster of fresh international product in various stages and announced a clutch of prominent U.S. and European execs set to make the trek for the mostly in-person Oct. 13-17 event.

While companies such as ITV Studios, Banijay and Fremantle are either bowing out or reducing their presence at the Oct. 11-14 Mipcom market in Cannes — and the AFM has gone entirely online — MIA (the acronym stands for Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, or International Audiovisual Market) seems to be succeeding in luring a robust group of international industry heavyweights. They are also boasting a 30% increase in completed films screening on its film market side while some 80 new European film, TV and doc projects will be pitched to prospective partners.

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Joe Russo, who with his older brother Anthony became the creative superheroes of the Marvel Universe with a string of four blockbusters climaxing with 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” is set for MIA’s opening keynote for which he will hold an onstage chat with Sean Furst, president of TV and film at Skybound Entertainment, who has produced global hits including “The Walking Dead.”

Another MIA keynote will be held by writer-producer Alon Araya (“Hostages,” “Tehran,” “Your Honor”), whose Paper Plane Productions is currently producing “Bestseller Boy” with CBS Studios. The Araya keynote will be moderated by CAA Global TV Agent Michael Gordon.

Feature film projects being pitched at MIA’s Co-Production Market and Pitching Forum comprise “After The Hurricane” by British director Julian Jarrold (“The Crown”); “Last Chord in Thessaloniki” by Israeli director Eran Riklis; and “Arturo’s Voice” by Italy’s Irene Dionisio (“Pawn Streets”).

Standout TV series projects at the forum see Italy’s Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico, 1988”) make her first venture into television with her own project, a show titled “Fireworks”; while London-based producers Paula A. Vaccaro will be pitching a series titled “Coverdale” produced by her Pinball London shingle; the U.K.’s Three Rivers Fiction and Cyprus-based Caretta Films have “Farpoint,” for which Germanys ZDF Enterprises is on board as distributor; and “D’Artagnan and Co.” created by France’s Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and being lead-produced by Belgium’s AT-Production.

Among high-profile docs being pitched is “Queen of Chess,” the real story of Hungary’s Judit Polgar, considered the greatest female chess player of all time, and her antagonism with Russia’s Garry Kasparov, who before being beat by her was a male chauvinist. The five-episode doc series is being directed by Hungarys Bernadett Tuza-Ritter (“A Woman Captured”).

Further details of the projects are presently being kept under wraps.

MIA panels will zero-in on the rise of ad-supported TV in new forms in a session moderated by Skybound Galactic CEO Rick Jacobs. Skybound Galactic is a joint venture between Skybound Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. Panelists include U.S. branded entertainment vet Stuart McLean, CEO of Fast Studios; Cristina Sala, senior business development for Italy at Samsung’s TV Plus ESBO; and Tobias Queisser, co-founder and CEO of L.A.-based Cinelytic.

On the film side, another MIA session titled “Film Financing Bundles” will look at the new film financing models, moderated by Andrea Scarso, director of investments at the U.K.’s Ingenious Media. Scheduled panelists are Carolyn Steinmetz, executive VP and head of content finance at STX Entertainment; Alexandra Hoesdorff, co-founder and CEO of Luxembourg’s Deal Productions; Maxime Cottray, VP of finance and production of L.A.-based XYZ Films; Matteo Perale, co-founder of WIIP and former head of strategy and corporate development at CAA; and Fremantle COO Andrea Scrosati.

The new concept market, headed by Lucia Milazzotto, is held inside the 17th-century Palazzo Barberini, which is Italy’s National Ancient Art gallery, where company stands are set up amid Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, while screenings are held in nearby movie theaters.

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