ROME — Italy’s independent film industry is up in arms over severe state funding cuts looming this year, just as a film law designed to favor more commercial projects is poised to go into effect.

The cuts in domestic production coin allotted by the Culture Ministry are part of the 2005 national budget on which Parliament will vote.

The expected upshot is that this year’s state film moolah will total a E40 million ($53.8 million) — some $67.3 million less than had been promised by Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani.

Many industry trade orgs have formed a protest committee, which recently rallied in front of Parliament in Rome. On Monday, it fired off appeals for help to European Union film entities including Eurimages and the European Film Academy.

Incensed Italo industry groups include producers org API; writers-directors org Anac; and Gruppo 16/12, recently formed by local first-time helmers, who fear they will be the most affected.

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The freshmen helmers’ fears stem from the fact that the new film law, in an attempt to do away with years of subsidized flops, would give coin to directors and producers based on positive track records. While the new law would set aside a portion of the pie for first works, it is likely they would be allotted very little.