With a new commitment to children’s animation, Sacis is heading to MIP’ Asia with three series and a feature film. ‘As an important Italian company, we really must produce animation,’ says Vincenzo Mosca, head of TV and video sales.
Sacis is Italy’s largest distributor of TV programming, film, animation and multimedia activities and is the sales arm of RAI, Italy’s public broadcasting group. The company’s recent release, the 90-minute family film The Blue Arrow, is Italy’s first animated feature in 20 years. Mosca believes this hiatus is far too long, given the country’s filmmaking tradition.
Based on positive feedback from screenings of The Blue Arrow in various markets, Mosca says he’s closing several deals around the world and will be pushing the film at MIP’ Asia. Sacis will also be selling merchandising rights for all its co-productions and new RAI productions, an initiative handled by its new licensing and merchandising department.
The rest of the MIP’ Asia lineup includes Monster Mash, an animated suspense series (formerly called Who’s Afraid?) co-produced with U.S.-based DIC Entertainment; Lupo Alberto, based on a popular Italian comic strip about a friendly wolf; and The New Adventures of Pimpa, an animated program for preschoolers. Sacis is also developing a family drama called We Are Angels.
In Asia, ‘action entertainment always d’es well,’ says Mosca, adding that he’s also been pleasantly surprised by a few niche markets he’s discovered in China and Taiwan. ‘I’ve had some very interesting arty distributors in that area, and this is very good for us.’
So far, Sacis’s biggest hits in Asia are adult dramas and soccer programming. But in April ’95, in response to RAI’s vow to produce more children’s educational programming, it created and sponsored Cartoons on the Bay, a TV animation festival in Amalfi, Italy. ‘We’re very much taking on children’s programming,’ Mosca says, adding that while Sacis has always had some type of programming for kids, ’97 is the year to watch the culmination of several deals.
And how will Mosca go about his deal-making in Asia? ‘The Asians are very dignified and educated people,’ Mosca says, adding in jest, there ‘my Western salesman approach has to be forgotten.’