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Minerva celebrates its 70th anniversary!

19 June 2023

The 70th anniversary of Minerva Pictures was celebrated last June 12, with a crowded and tasteful cocktail party. In the splendid setting of Palazzo Brancaccio, the three partners of Minerva, namely, President Santo Versace, CEO Gianluca Curti and Francesca De Stefano Versace, board member, welcomed the over 500 invited, including stars of the small and big screen, producers, distributors, film industry representatives, critics and journalists. A film festival, in short, to celebrate the birthday of a company with the library of over 2500 films, including over 1500 with Worldwide rights.

Minerva Pictures has produced, to date, over 120 films and more than 40 documentaries, many of which have been recognized with the most prestigious national and international awards, while opening a new Drama department in 2020, dedicated to series and documentaries production for TV and platforms.

Among other guests: Pupi and Antonio Avati, Pietro Sermonti, Anna Foglietta, Antonia Liskova, Marco Bocci, Violante Placido, Lodo Guenzi, Federico Zampaglione, Eleonora Daniele, Rossella Brescia and Luciano Cannito, Tiziana Rocca and Giulio Base, directors Toni D’Angelo, Laura Luchetti, Giuseppe Gagliardi, Luca Ribuoli, Giacomo Martelli, Alessandra Gonnella and Alessio Liguori. But also, the Senator and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture Lucia Borgonzoni, the Congressman Nicola Zingaretti, the president of Cinecittà Chiara Sbarigia, the CEO of Cinecittà Nicola Maccanico, the president of the Culture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies On. Federico Mollicone, the President of National CNA Dario Costantini and the President of Rome CNA Luca Barrera, Fabrizio Zappi Director of Rai Doc, the President of CSC Marta Donzelli, The Director of MIA Gaia Tridente, Fabia Bettini and Gianluca Giannelli organizers of the Rome Film Festival section Alice Nella Città, President of the Rome Chamber of Commerce Lorenzo Tagliavanti, Samanta Antonnicola from Rai Cinema, Fabrizio Salini and his wife Agata Spatola Salini, producer Marica Stocchi and producer Adriano De Micheli, General Director of Fondazione Roma Expo Lamberto Mancini, the cinema manager for Banca Intesa Nicola Corigliano.

Gianluca Curti declared: “Love, respect and passion are the three fundamental elements of Minerva’s work that have guaranteed its longevity. This year Minerva Pictures celebrates its first 70 years, 37 of which I’ve the honour and privilege to experience personally. What makes me particularly proud is that I have been able to keep the company on course for a long time in a constantly changing film and audiovisual market. Obviously like any company, we had ups and downs. But here we are, and we can tell our story with great humility and also with pride. We were, are and will remain, producers and distributors of independent and resilient content, a company with a strong family imprint, with a vision constantly turned towards future and innovation. Finally, I would like to thank my partner and President of Minerva, Santo Versace, gentleman and friend with great insight, intelligence, vision, lover and defender of beauty and “Made in Italy”, and his wife Francesca De Stefano Versace, board member, always at our side with determination, passion and sensitivity”.

In addition to his words, those of Santo Versace: “I am really proud to be the President of the wonderful reality that is Minerva Pictures. When I left fashion, together with my wife Francesca, we decided that the most beautiful work for our young couple would be cinema. We had met Gianluca Curti who worked with us in philanthropy, and it seemed natural to invest in his company. Now we work and are committed to high quality productions, worthy of winning all the awards in the world”.

Minerva was born in 1953, when Antonio Curti, a craftsman in Testaccio with the family tannery, acquired the brand and the use of the name Minerva. Ermanno Curti started to be a producer in 1965 and, in the second half of the 1980s, Gianluca joined the company, which started an intense commercial expansion at national and international level. Together with his brother Stefano they founded, in 1999, RaroVideo, a distribution label of absolute excellence of experimental, underground and rare films, first on VHS and then on DVD, and now digitally on the channel of the same name RaroVideo Channel.

In May 2019 Santo Versace became member and president of the company, a man of great passion, sensitivity and culture, lover and defender of beauty and “Made in Italy”, as well as his wife, Avv. Francesca De Stefano Versace, board member. While continuing to grow and consolidate its position on both national and international level, Minerva has had the ability to adapt to the changes of the past decades while remaining, deliberately, an independent company with a strong family imprint.

Minerva is also a story of unconventional and pioneering choices, especially concerning the development of the digital area, in which Minerva is now one of the independent industry leaders at national level. This is demonstrated, for example, by the exponential growth of the YouTube channel Film&Clips, created in 2014 and that has today almost 7 million subscribers. In 2022 Minerva also inaugurated The Film Club, a multichannel subscription platform, with 3 channels (RaroVideo Channel, Minerva Classic and Full Action) and over 900 titles. Inclusion and internationalization are also at the heart of Movieitaly, the first and only SVOD platform for Italian cinema lovers and Italian culture enthusiasts, with the goal of promoting “Made in Italy” through moving images.

In 70 years many have been the traveling companions of Minerva, starting from Rai Cinema and continuing with SKY and Amazon Prime and recently Medusa Film (with whom, in addition to La caccia, Minerva has distributed the award-winning Saint Omer by Alice Diop) and Paramount+, with whom Minerva is co-producing its first Italian original series, Miss Fallaci with Miriam Leone. But also, the company Solaria Film run by Emanuele Nespeca and the Neapolitan Bronx Film. Minerva Pictures is also one of the most renowned independent international Sales agents. In recent years, the company has strengthened the division and started the distribution of remarkable Italian and international titles, further expanding its catalogue.

Among the upcoming production projects, the adaptation of the best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran, an Italian-Israeli co-production that involves Marica Stocchi from Rosamont, and that will be directed by Eran Riklis; Rossosperanza, by Annarita Zambrano, as associate producers alongside MAD Entertainment; We were Children, by Marco Martani, co-produced with Wildside and Vision; Billie’s Magic World, ambitious project of live action and animation with Alec Baldwin. In terms of distribution, several major cinema releases are coming this summer, testifying the constant commitment to the theatre and theatrical exploitation: The Plough, by Philippe Garrel, Silver Bear at the Berlin Festival; Father & Soldier, by Mathieu Vadepied with Omar Sy, opening film of “Un Certain Regard” at the 75th Cannes Film Festival; Natural Born Liar directed by Olivier Baroux; Eismayer, by David Wagner, winner of the 37th Venice International Critics’ Week Grand Prix and two Awards at Les Arcs Film Festival (Prix du Public and Prix des Cinglés du Cinéma); To Leslie, by Michael Morris, Oscar-nominated for Best Actress Andrea Riseborough; and January, by Viesturs Kairiss, best international fiction film at the Tribeca Festival and winner of three awards (Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor) at the 17th edition of the Rome Film Festival; Black Bits, by Alessio Liguori, director in the top ten of the American box office in 2020.