Alberini, Filoteo

(1865-1937)
   Widely regarded as the founding father of Italian cinema, Alberini patented an apparatus for shooting, printing, and projecting film in Italy in late 1895, only a month before the Lumiere brothers began screening films in Paris using the cinematographe, which they had patented earlier that year. Although the Kinetografo Alberini was never built, Alberini maintained his interest in the new medium and by 1904 had opened a number of permanent movie houses in Florence and Rome.
   Early in 1905, together with Dante Santoni, he established the first Italian company "for the manufacture of films" and subsequently directed what is generally regarded as the first Italian feature film, La presa di Roma 20 settembre 1870 (The Capture of Rome, 20 September 1870). The film employed experienced stage actors and was made with the collaboration of the army, which supplied the soldiers and the cannons. First screened outdoors at Porta Pia where the crucial breach of the walls had taken place and on the anniversary of the event, it demonstrated Alberini's talents not only as director but also as producer and entrepreneur. A year later the Alberini and Santoni company was transformed into the Cines. The company would continue, even if through a number of crises and interruptions, to be one of the pillars of the Italian film industry from the silent era into the 1950s, although Alberini himself would soon lose effective control of the company to others.
   In the following years Alberini continued to experiment with cinematography, patenting a number of technical innovations, including a panoramic device and a pocket-size movie camera. His last patent, filed in 1935, two years before his death, was for a stereoscopic camera.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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