Sales unit develops debut prod'n

RAI Trade, the sales arm of the Italo pubcaster, is developing its first project for production based on best-seller “A Fortune Teller Told Me,” by the late Italo journalist Tiziano Terzani.

The move is prompted by the malaise striking most Italo sales companies, which are deprived of local product these days.

Acting independently from production arm RAI Cinema, RAI Trade has acquired an option on the book, which chronicles the Asia-based war correspondent and traveler’s journeys across the Far East.

“This is a whole new strategy for us,” said RAI Trade head of sales Sesto Cifola. “We have never initiated a project from the outset before.”

A treatment is being written by Terzani’s wife, Angela Terzani; an English-language scribe will be found to pen the script.

RAI Trade is shopping the pic in Cannes, hoping to have financing in place for a 2007 shoot.

RAI Cinema is likely to board “Fortune Teller” as a partner, but negotiations are also underway with other Italian outfits, Cifola said.

“We need product, especially films that can travel, which are a rarity in Italy,” said Cifola.

RAI Cinema finances a dozen titles per year but few are sold abroad by RAI Trade, often because they are co-produced with international sales companies.

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