Calcina, Vittorio

(1847-1916)
   Photographer, cameraman. A professional photographer with a successful practice in Turin in the 1890s, Vittorio Calcina was also the Italian concessionary agent of the Societe anonyme des plaques et papiers photographiques A. Lumiere & ses fils. Being thus among the first to have access to the Lumiere cinematographe, he organized some of the very first demonstrations of the invention in Italy, beginning with a screening in Milan on 29 March 1896 and soon spreading to other Italian cities. In addition to actively promoting the new invention for its documentary and educational potential, Calcina began to shoot films himself. He soon succeeded in attracting the interest of members of the royal house, who not only requested numerous private screenings but also conferred on him the status of royal documentarist, a position that allowed him to use the cinematographe to record all major state and royal occasions. One of his most famous newsreels from this period, and thus one of the earliest pieces of film shot in Italy, catches the king and queen as they descend the steps of the royal palace at Monza.
   In 1899, Calcina and a partner opened one of the first permanent movie houses in Turin, but in 1901 Calcina sold his share and returned to his photographic practice. His interest in cinema continued, however, and between 1908 and 1911 he worked on, and eventually patented, a 16 mm camera that he called the Cine Parvus. Unfortunately, circumstances continued to delay commercial production of the apparatus and Calcina died before he could see the project realized.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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