The International Circulation of ‘Fuocoammare’

Fuocoammare/Fire at Sea is a documentary directed by Gianfranco Rosi, which premiered at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival in 2016, where it won the Golden Bear. This is the second important award won at a film festival by Gianfranco Rosi, who previously obtained the Golden Lion at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in 2013 for Sacro GRA. Fuocoammare was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film. Finally, Fuocoammare also won the European Film Awards 2016 for Best European Documentary.

The film was written by Gianfraco Rosi and Carla Cattani, who is responsible for the international promotion of Italian cinema for Istituto Luce Cinecittà, as well as the President of Filmitalia, an organization functioning under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture – Cinema Directorate. The film is also an international co-production between Italy and France: there were four Italian companies involved — Stemal Entertainment, 21 Unofilm, Istituto Luce Cinecittà and Rai Cinema — and two French ones — Les Films d’Ici and Arte France Cinéma — with the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Though the film received global critical acclaim, it found a substantial margin of difference between national (low) and international (high) gross. Fuocoammare was released in Italy on February 13, 2016 by 01 Distribution, the same day of its Berlin international premiere. It grossed $90.523 during the first weekend and reached $772.498 totally, over a maximum of 83 screens in 4 weeks, with 178.231 admissions.


 Release DateScreensWeeksOpening Weekend ($)Box Office ($)Admissions
IT18 February 201683490.523772.498178.231
CH17 March 2016 (IT)
01 Septmeber 2016 (DE)
28 September 2016 (FR)
FR28 September 201655/108.902/63.400
UK10 June 201615118.70518.7058.096
USA18 September 2016
3 March 2017 (re-release)
78 + 620.728120.9335.238
Sources: Lumière, Box Office Mojo, Imdb Pro,, CNC


In Switzerland, Fuocoammare was distributed by the company Xenix Filmdistribution, which specializes mostly in independent films and documentaries. The film was first released in March 2016, just for the Italian linguistic market, just one month later than the International premier in Berlin and the Italian release. Before its official release, the film was screened as a special event at the Visions du Réel Film Festival in Nyon. In September 2016, the film was also released in the German and French linguistic market. From a total of 9.334 admissions, it ultimately grossed just $112.258 in all internal markets. The film is currently available online on the website of the RSI – Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana, the Swiss public broadcasting organization which handles production and broadcasting of radio and television programs for Italian-speaking Switzerland.


In the French market, Fuocoammare had definitely a much greater impact in terms of admissions. In just the first weekend, the film grossed $108.902. In total, the movie reached 63.400 admissions thanks to a quite good distribution over 55 screens. After the official release in September 2016, the film was screened at three of the most important Italian film festivals in France: the Annecy Cinéma Italien (September), the Festival du Film Italien de Villerupt, in the Panorama section (November), and the Journées du Cinéma Italien in Nice (March 2017). Fuocoammare was released across the French market by Météore Films, an independent film distributor dealing mostly with foreign documentaries. Finally, regarding the online distribution, the film is currently available via several providers, such as Canal VOD, Google Play, iTunes, Orange VOD and YouTube Movies.


 Box Office ($)AdmissionsOTT - SVODOTT - Rent/Buy
IT772.498178.231NetflixChili, Google Play, iTunes, Tim Vision
CH112.2589.334RSIVideobuster, Swisscom, iTunes
FR/63.400/Orange, Canal VOD, Google Play, Cinemas a la Demande, YouTube Movies
UK18.7058.096Amazon Prime VideoAmazon, Rakuten TV, Google Play, iTunes, Chili, Curzon Home Cinema, YouTube Movies
USA20.7285.238Netflix, Amazon Prime VideoGoogle Play, Vodoo, iTunes, FandangoNOW
Data at September 2019


United Kingdom

For the British market, the film was purchased by Curzon Artificial Eye, a British historical film distributor founded in 1976, that specializes in independent, foreign-language and art house films. The film had its theatrical release on June 2016, reaching just 8.096 admissions in total (from a 15 screen maximum). Fuocoammare was also presented in several small film festivals, like the East End Film Festival (June), The Galway Film Fleadh (July, in Ireland) and the Italian Film Festival in Cardiff (November, in Wales). On balance, however, we can say that Gianfranco Rosi’s film had a very limited circulation in the United Kingdom in terms of admissions. In the VOD platforms available in Britain, at the moment you can find Fuocoammare both on Amazon Prime an TVOD, and also on Chili, Google Play Movies, iTunes, RakutenTV, and Youtube Movies.

United States

Fuocoammare was distributed in the United States by Kino Lorber, a company, based in New York City, that specializes in arthouse films, low-budget movies, documentaries, classic films, and world cinema. The film was first released in theatres in September 2016, and gained a re-release in March 2017 after the Academy Award where it was nominated for Best Documentary, grossing $120.933. Between these two releases, it was presented at several important American film festivals including Telluride (September), New York (October), Hamptons (October), and also at some Italian film festivals in the U.S. (San Diego, Charleston, etc.). The film is also available online for the American audiences both on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.