After months of promises, producer Angelo Rizzoli announced the opening of a new Italian distribution company – Distribuzione Angelo Rizzoli Cinematografica – in March.

The move reaffirms the expansionist attitude Rizzoli has assumed in the last year. The distrib house will give him the domestic footing he needs as a partner in the five-country European venture, Eurotrustees, that was announced last fall.

First pic out the starting gate will be “The Age Of Lulu” directed by Bigas Luna, followed by “The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe.”

“Our strategy is to program high quality films in a small group of theaters,” Rizzoli told VARIETY. Sales agent Adriana Chiesa has signed an exclusive deal with the new distribbery to be its buyer and will be shopping for pictures at AFM.

Besides releasing films made inhouse Erre Produzioni, like the new Gianni Amelio film “The Child Thief,” DARC is aiming for quality U.S. and international product with B.O. legs. Opening slate will include “Naked Lunch” and James Ivory’s “Howard’s End.”

Rizzoli hinted he has one eye open for exhibition possibilities. Together with staterun Ente Gestione Cinema, he considered taking over management of the 25 Roman hardtops belonging to the Mondialcine chain, Rome’s largest. The partners backed off because of the high price.

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