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Luciano Sovena, Italian Producer, Dies at 73

Italian producer Luciano Sovena, who was instrumental to bringing early works by several of Italy’s now-prominent auteurs such as Alice Rohrwacher, Luciano Frammartino, and Saverio Costanzo, to the big screen, has died. He was 73.

News of Sovena’s sudden death was announced on Sunday by the Rome and Lazio Film Commission Foundation, of which he was president. The cause of death was not disclosed.

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The foundation paid tribute to Sovena as “A great and generous professional; a friend of Italian cinema,” in a statement. It went on to note that he was “Ironic, ‘simpatico’ and open to everyone.”

Prior to heading Rome’s film commission – which runs Italy’s top regional film fund – Sovena was for a long stretch managing director of Italy’s state film entity Istituto Luce.

In both of these roles, “He had become a reference point for the world that he loved: the world of cinema that he always had in his heart and to which he devoted his life,” the statement said.

A lawyer specialized in entertainment and media law, Sovena served as a member of the Italian culture ministry’s commission for film credit for several years starting in 2003. In 2008 he was appointed CEO of Istituto Luce and the following year Sovena was named head of the newly formed Cinecittà Luce entity, expanding his purview beyond production and distribution to also comprise oversight of Cinecittà Studios and global promotion of Italian cinema. He remained in that role through 2011 and was subsequently tapped to head the Roma and Lazio Film Commission.

Standout films spawned under Sovena’s leadership of Istituto Luce and Cinecittà Luce include Saverio Costanzo’s “Private,” winner of the Locarno Golden Leopard in 2004; Michelangelo Frammartino’s “The Four Times,” which won the Critics Award at Cannes in 2010; Alice Rohrwacher’s “Heavenly Body,” which launched from the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2011 and won a slew of prizes; and Guido Lombardi’s “Là-Bas,” which scooped the Venice Film Festival’s Lion of the Future also in 2011.

In the international film arena Sovena co-produced Andy Garcia-starrer “Modigliani,” a 2004 biopic of the Italian sculptor and painter Amedeo Modigliani directed by Mick Davis and “The Merchant of Venice” directed by Michael Radford and toplining Al Pacino.

Information about Sovena’s survivors was not immediately available

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