In the Venice festival’s first announced deal, Lucky Red has snapped up Italian rights to Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete.”

With Sony rolling out the pic in many international territories but not Italy, a deal with one of Italy’s premier distribution companies was perhaps inevitable. “Machete,” one of the fest’s titles with the biggest B.O. potential, hit Venice Wednesday playing out of competition at a midnight screening.

Toplining Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo as a machete-wielding Mexican ex-Federale who slices and dices through much of the Texas population on a rampage of revenge and redemption, “Machete” created a new sub-genre, Rodriguez claimed at his press conference Wednesday.

“There have been blaxploitation films. So I thought, Why not a Mex-ploitation film?”

According to Rodriguez, pic’s principal idea is one of Mexican empowerment: to create a Mexican action hero.

“If you’re going to explode stereotypes about Mexicans, it’s best to do it with a sense of humor,” said Jessica Alba, who plays an immigration officer in the film.