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ROME — Emboldened by Italy’s new tax credits, Italian film commissions are banding together in a concerted effort to make the country a bigger hot spot for international shoots, while striving to co-produce more local pics.

At a Film Commission Day held in Rome’s Casa del Cinema, Italy’s 20 film commissions agreed in principle to come under the aegis of Italy’s national film production and promotion entity Cinecitta Luce.

“We want to create product with them; and not just act as a cash dispenser,” said Cinecitta Luce managing director Luciano Sovena.

Acting as a unified body should allow the film commissions to use their resources more effectively and make Italy a more competitive production location as a whole, now that the incentives make the country economically viable.

Cinecitta Luce’s mandate is to provide international producers with the tools to tap into the recently introduced tax credits, which provide international productions a deduction of up to 25%, with an E5million ($6.6 million) cap.

Ten years after they started to sprout in Italy, local film commissions are becoming a significant industry driver. Between 2006 and 2008, they supported 447 feature films in various ways, including about $18 million in gap financing.

“We have become an essential element for national and international producers,” boasted Italian Film Commissions Association topper Andrea Rocco.

Recent foreign productions shot in Italy include Sony’s “Angels and Demons” and Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” which is lensing in Tuscany, produced by Gaul’s MK2. Anton Corbijn’s George Clooney thriller “A Very Private Gentleman” is skedded to start principal photography in Southern Italy in the fall, produced by Focus Features.