Italian cinema pioneer
Already long established as a photographer in Turin, he became the Lumières' Italian representative, and from 1896 made numerous films for the parent company. Late in 1896 Calcina and a partner opened the first public cinema in the former premises of a charity hospital in via Po, Turin. In November of the same year he was permitted to film the King and Queen of Italy at Monza, and subsequently was appointed official cinematographer to King Umberto. In 1899, still with the same partner, Calcina opened a cinema at 25 via Maria Vittoria. In 1901 Calcina filmed the Duke of Abruzzi's ship Stella Polare and in 1905 the Calabria earthquake. Between 1908 and 1911 he worked on the development of the Cine Parvus, which used 17.5 mm film and comprised camera, printer, perforator and projector in one machine. Calcina's efforts to develop the apparatus commercially were frustrated however and finally brought to an end by the First World War and Calcina's own death. The prototype of the Parvus is preserved in the Museo nazionale del cinema, in Calcina's native Turin.