Former Italian Pubcaster RAI Chief Fabrizio Salini Joins Expanding Minerva Pictures (EXCLUSIVE)

Former RAI CEO Fabrizio Salini – who prior to running the Italian pubcaster held top posts at Sky, Fox International Channels, and Discovery Italy – has joined Italy’s Minerva Pictures, which is stepping up its expansion from film into the realms of TV and streaming content.

The veteran TV exec will become a board member at Rome-based Minerva, the production, digital publishing and distribution company headed by Gianluca Curti. Minerva has been branching out into TV since 2019 when Santo Versace, who is the older brother of Gianni and Donatella Versace, decided to invest in the company, becoming chairman of its board.

Salini, besides joining the Minerva board, will be in charge of the company’s “business activities with broadcasters and streamers,” said Curti, who added that the exec has a mandate to explore opportunities that go beyond film, TV series and docs.

“Historically we’ve never entered the field of premium TV shows and formats,” Curti told Variety. “With Fabrizio we will now have the opportunity to explore those fields, and will be able to do this across the entire spectrum of broadcasters and streamers.”

“Another aspect of Fabrizio’s vast expertise that could open up new avenues for us is knowledge of the digital field, in which we have always been pioneers,” Curti said. Minerva, which has a vast library of more than 2,500 titles ranging from Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist” to horror master Mario Bava’s movies, has launched a streaming service called MovieItaly in the U.S. and Canada, and an Italian streaming platform called The Film Club.

On the distribution side Minerva will be handling the Italian release of French director Alice Diop’s legal drama “Saint Omer,” which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the award for best debut feature at the recent Venice Film Festival, and is France’s candidate for the international Oscar.

In May 2020, Minerva set up its scripted and documentary productions department, led by Cosetta Lagani, dedicated to content production for broadcasters and OTT platforms. They are now in pre-production on “Miss Fallaci,” their first TV series that will portray iconic Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci’s early years in Hollywood before she became a legendary war correspondent known for her explosive personality. The eight-episode show, first announced at Rome’s MIA market in 2020, will be going on set in January.

At the MIA Drama Pitching Forum this year, Minerva will be unveiling a pulpy TV series project titled “The Ballad of Mila,” based on the eponymous novel by bestselling Italian author Matteo Strukul. This character-driven drama is billed as the first Italian pulp noir series centered around a female leading character, the Italian bounty hunter Mila Zago, a.k.a. Red Dread.