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Freeze over, it’s pix by commission in Italy

New film law will force producers to assume more risk

ROME — Italy’s Culture Ministry has formed a commission to pick film projects eligible for government coin, ending a crippling two-year funding freeze.

Creation of the cinema commission caps a long legislative overhaul under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government to make the local industry more market-oriented.

The new film law will attempt to do away with waste by forcing producers to assume more financial risk. It also will look at a producer’s and director’s track records, with special provisions for rookies.

The industry, however, is bemoaning draconian cuts expected to halve subsidies to $20 million next year.

Among the 18 commission members are former Eagle Pictures prexy Gianpaolo Sodano, who is also a rep for Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party in Rome; Giffoni Film Festival topper Claudio Gubitosi; former Venice fest chief Gianluigi Rondi; and former RAI Cinema prexy Giuliano Montaldo.

Italy’s motion picture org Anica on Wednesday slammed the government for not including one of its reps on the panel, which it said includes incompetent appointees.

The left-leaning La Repubblica paper criticized the choice of “trash TV” variety show writer and creator Gianni Boncompagni.

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